Gozo conference – European Social Fund: Past, Present and Future

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Gozo conference - European Social Fund: Past, Present and FutureThe Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds Ian Borg, opened a conference in Gozo today – European Social Fund: Past, Present and Future’ – which is taking place at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz.

The conference brings together ESF stakeholders, policy makers, social partners and practitioners to participate in the current debate on the future of the ESF post 2020.

The Parliamentary Secretary addressed the conference, marking the 60th anniversary of the European Social Fund (ESF).

“This was the perfect time to celebrate together the results achieved and to discuss the future of the ESF post 2020,” said Ian Borg. This conference coincides with the first general debates on the future cohesion policy, post-2020; as such, the proceedings of the discussion will also contribute in shaping the future of the ESF.

“One of the Maltese Presidency’s main objectives regarding the cohesion policy is to focus on the political debate on how to make the results of the cohesion policy more visible to citizens. It is for this reason that the Maltese Presidency has worked together with the Commission to organise today’s conference.”

He said that “lessons learnt from past and current experiences – coupled with the added value that the Fund offers – can help make the same Fund more effective and efficient. This will in turn address key issues related to the desirable role of the ESF in the economic governance process, simplification for beneficiaries and ESF authorities/stakeholders, partnership and collaboration, as well as measuring and delivering results.”

Parliamentary Secretary Borg also stated that the European Social Fund has undoubtedly led to an overall increase in the quality of citizens’ lives. In Malta, the ESF has supported over 160,000 persons. “In fact, the ESF is an effective instrument that can support national and EU priorities in the area of human capital and has the flexibility to adjust the initial policy choices to respond to emerging needs.”

He added that, “notwithstanding the undeniable success of the ESF, which has helped almost 10 million Europeans to find a job between 2007 and 2014, measures are needed to further increase and give better visibility to the performance of the policy in order to convince critics that the cohesion policy is now even more relevant and closer to its citizens.”

Ian Borg concluded by saying that increasing the responsiveness of the ESF and of the cohesion policy in general can lead us to achieve the overall dual vision of rEUnion – the theme of the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council – as well as the overall EU level targets and objectives.

The conclusions of the conference will be considered in the reflections, to make investment in European Human Capital relevant, efficient and effective for the future.

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