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European Social Fund Plus

ESF+ for Recovery (REACT-EU)

The COVID-19 crisis has affected all sectors of Europe’s economy, and has required a tenacious, coordinated response to ensure all in Europe are able to navigate this extraordinary situation.

The EU will channel substantial resources to help Member States and regions deal with the socio- economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for a green, digital and resilient recovery. The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU) initiative will provide needed funding for creating and preserving jobs, advancing education and skills, and promoting the social inclusion of people in vulnerable situations.  


How the fund helps the ESF+

While the fund will allow the ESF+ to continue - and expand - its ability to fund projects across all principles under the European Pillar of Social Rights during this next, critical period, REACT-EU will focus on assisting the ESF+ in meeting its recovery goals through disseminating resources along the following lines: 


REACT-EU for work

The European Social Fund (ESF) is benefitting from the top-up resources provided by REACT-EU. ESF measures are planned to help job seekers and preserve jobs, advance education and skills and promote the social inclusion of people in vulnerable situations.  The top-up to ESF+ funding will be vital in terms of shoring up access to employment for those affected by the crisis - and is reflected by millions invested to ensure our labour market continues to expand in its recovery.  



REACT-EU for inclusion

Spotlighting one of the core ESF+ aims, REACT-EU funding will advance the ESF+ in its goals of ensuring all citizens are able to benefit from a European community.  



REACT-EU for skills

Sustainable recovery wouldn't be possible without training the next generation, as well as helping the most vulnerable to build their knowledge.  REACT-EU funding will be essential to ensuring we have the necessary tools to cope with the problems of the future, and works in tandem with priorities under the European Year for Skills.


Breaking it down

REACT-EU funding will support thousands of projects, offering critical support during the ongoing recovery.  Simply put, without REACT-EU funding, the ESF+ would find its aims far more difficult to reach over the next programming period.   While it would be impossible to list every intervention the fund will undertake, some of the main arms of investment can be found in the table below.


What is REACT-EU?

Launched in 2020 as an extension to cohesion policy’s crisis response and crisis repair measures, the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU) initiative represents a significant addition to the EU funding Member States can access to manage difficulties arising from the pandemic.

REACT-EU funds will be vital to prevent the widening of disparities and to avoid an uneven recovery process. These funds will enable Member States to continue to focus on rebuilding the resilience of healthcare systems, restoring labour markets, supporting workers and enterprises and addressing the social impact of the crisis – while preparing future-proof foundations of recovery. REACT-EU will ensure Europe continues to develop a green, digital, inclusive and resilient economy.

This initiative will work to bridge the gap between the immediate crisis response under the 2014-2020 EU Structural Funds, and long-term recovery programmes under the 2021-2027 cohesion policy. It includes €47.5 billion of additional funds that will be made available to the 2014-2020 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF),the European Social Fund (ESF) as well as the European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). These additional funds will be provided in 2021-2022 via the NextGenerationEU temporary recovery instrument.