Skip to main content
European Social Fund Plus

New ESF+ funding for innovative ideas to reduce long-term unemployment and help people find jobs

A man showing a message calling for zero long-term unemployment
© ATD Quart Monde

The Commission has launched a call for proposals worth €23 million to help EU Member States develop new ways of tackling long-term unemployment and support people to find their way back into the labour market.

Through this call for proposals, funded under the “Social Innovation+” initiative of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the Commission aims to build on previous promising initiatives and strengthen the role of social economy organisations. 

New approaches to help people find jobs

Tackling long-term unemployment – meaning people who have been out of work for more than a year – remains an issue in many Member States. In 2022, 4.5 million people over 25 years old in the EU were registered as long-term unemployed. 

The longer a person stays unemployed, the more difficult it is for them to find a job, increasing their risk of poverty and social exclusion. Traditional measures, like training without individualised support, are often insufficient to address the issue effectively. 

Looking for solutions, a recent EU-funded report has shown the potential of innovative approaches like so-called “job guarantees” to help long-term unemployed people re-enter the labour market.

These include examples such as the Zero Long-Term Unemployment Territories in France, an initiative that has recently been introduced in Belgium.

These schemes can have wide benefits: they can provide useful services at an affordable cost for the local community, offer a new pathway to employment for people who have been out of work for a long time and help fill labour and skills gaps.

Next steps

Building on these promising results, this call aims to transfer or scale up innovative projects aimed at helping long-term unemployed people find jobs and reintegrate society. 

Organisations have until 30 September 2024 to submit their proposals, which must involve organisations from at least two different countries within the EU, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway and Serbia. 

Projects can last up to 36 months and may receive grants ranging from €1-3 million per project.

An online session on 28 May 2024 will offer a chance to ask any questions about the call, while a match-making session will also be organised to facilitate the creating of new partnerships to build projects. 

Information on both sessions will be made available on the webpage for the call.