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European Social Fund

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The European Social Fund (ESF) is the oldest of the structural funds. It was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 with the objective to reduce the differences in wealth and living standards in the EU Member States and regions and to promote economic and social cohesion. The mission of the ESF is to invest into human resources, job creation, promotion of employment and employability and strengthening innovations. More than 10% of the overall EU budget is, through the ESF, meant for investing into the most important EU capital - people. 

The main purpose of the ESF remains the promotion of employment in the EU. At the moment more than 200 million workers in Europe face new challenges – demands for new knowledge and skills, excessive use of information technology in the work processes, globalisation, problems of the youth with finding their first employment, ageing of the European inhabitants, etc. ESF represents the main element in the EU Strategy for growth and jobs the objective of which is improving the quality of life of the EU citizens by offering them better knowledge through education and training and consequently better opportunities for employment. ESF helps the Member States to better prepare the European work force for the new global challenges. In doing so the ESF gives special attention to disabled, migrants, minorities and other marginal groups who find inclusion into the labour market more difficult. In the programming period 2007-2013 approximately 75 billion EUR will be distributed from the ESF among the Member States and regions for fulfilling these objectives.

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