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European Social Fund Plus

Commissioners Schmit and Ferreira launch Cohesion programmes in Romania

Cssr. Schmit meeting reps of the ADV project, Romania
(c) European Union

Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, and Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, were in Romania on 3-4 April 2023 for the official launch of the of the national Cohesion Policy Programmes for 2021-2027. Romania will receive a total of €31.5 billion from Cohesion funds in this period.  

The Commissioners launched the new programmes in Iași, together with the Minister of European Investments and Projects Marcel Boloș and the Minister of Labor and Social Solidarity Marius Budăi. The launch event was followed by a citizens’ dialogue that focused on investment priorities for the future of the North-East region of Romania. The visit also provided an opportunity to meet Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă in Bucharest.  

In the cities of Iași and Vaslui, Commissioner Schmit and Commissioner Ferreira visited several EU-funded projects related to skills, early education and care, health, labour-market integration of disadvantaged persons, social economy, integration of migrants, and the training of essential workers in essential services. 

ADV expands Romania’s social economy 

One of the projects visited by Commissioner Schmit is run by the 'Alaturi de Voi' Romania Foundation (ADV), an organisation with over 20 years’ experience in the field of social economy. With the support of ESF, the foundation has recently supported the establishment of 21 social enterprises as a sustainable solution to lower social disparities, combat poverty and create inclusive workplaces for persons from vulnerable groups. The Commissioner visited UtilDeco, a work-integration social enterprise established by the foundation in 2008. The project has established over 100 workplaces in the past 15 years, including for persons with disabilities and other disadvantages groups. 

Commissioner Schmit said, 'I am happy to discover social economy here in Iași, Romania. Social economy is a dynamic sector that brings innovative new ideas. It is part of the response to the many challenges we face in this period of transformations.

The ESF+ in Romania 

The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) will help the country continue to recover from the pandemic and be ready for the green and digital transitions. The EU will invest €7.3 billion from the ESF+ to promote job creation, reduce poverty and implement inclusive policies. €3.5 billion of this funding will be used to help modernise the Romanian Public Employment Service, develop social entrepreneurship and support capacity building for social partners and civil society organisations.  

Activities under the ESF+ will improve access to early childhood education and care, ensure labour-market relevance of vocational education and training (VET) and tertiary education and focus on the prevention of early school leaving.  €3.3 billion will be employed to combat child poverty and address material deprivation, as well as develop integrated social, educational and health services across 2 000 rural communities. Integrated services are also foreseen for other disadvantaged groups, including migrants.  Funds will also be made available to improve access to and quality of health services.