In view of the preparation of the legislative proposal on the future cohesion policy, this study aims to investigates the state of play, results and challenging of the European Social Fund (ESF) in promoting social cohesion in Europe’s cities and regions.
The study is looking 1) at the role of ESF in the previous and current programming periods of whole EU territory in order to understand the impact of ESF on strengthening social cohesion of the EU at local and regional levels; 2) the European Added Value (EAV) of ESF and how the fund it supports cities and regions in addressing the upcoming challenges in the next programming period (with regards to migration and integration, demographic change and requirements for new skills in rapidly changing market). The EAV is measured according different criteria: treaty objectives and obligations, economy of scale, spill over effects, subsidiarity, benefits of EU integration and European values (peace, democracy and rules of law); 3) complementarities and synergies with other EU programmes; 4) the role of TO 11 of ESF in enhancing capacity building at local and regional level; and 5) the effectiveness of ESF in implementing the objectives established in the country specific recommendations 2013-2016. The study is based on a procedure divided in three phases. First, the team of the study establishes a list of key issues and challenges from literature review. Then, Managing Authorities of ESF programmes are interviewed to get information on the lesson learned. Finally, the findings are analysed and included in the report delivered to the Committee of the Regions.