Employment, Social Inclusion & Enterprise
 

Please note that programme details for the 2021-2027 framework are forthcoming and the information below relates to programmes from the 2014-2020 framework; however, there may currently be open funding calls for this programme.
 

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Employment and Social Inclusion 
 

The European Social Fund (ESF) is Europe’s main instrument for supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer job opportunities for all EU citizens. It works by investing in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people and all those seeking a job. ESF financing of €10 billion a year is improving job prospects for millions of Europeans, in particular those who find it difficult to get work. 

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science manages the ESF in Ireland through their ESF Policy and Operations unit. It supports a variety of government schemes dedicated to sustainable and quality employment, women in the workforce, social inclusion and equal opportunities, education, training and life-long learning, and the Youth Employment Initiative. 

Funding from the ESF may mean new courses provided, additional places on courses, no fees, or assistance provided for students or trainees. More info on this is available from the EU Funds Ireland website

 

Enterprise 
 

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of €2.3billion. 

 

COSME aims to facilitate SME access to finance, create supportive environment for business creation, help small businesses operate outside their home countries and improve their access to markets. COSME is a programme implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) which reflects the Commission’s political will to recognise the central role of SMEs in the EU economy. 

 

For more information visit the COSME website

 

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Click on the links above to visit the relevant websites and find out more about employment, social inclusion and enterprise funding opportunities for your organisation. 

Current Funding


 

Current Funding

COSME: Affordable Housing Initiative


COSME aims to facilitate SME access to finance, create supportive environment for business creation, help small businesses operate outside their home countries and improve their access to markets. The call aims to set up one European Affordable Housing Consortium to support SMEs, including social enterprises, to collaborate with public authorities and (social) housing providers. Deadline: 20 October 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

This is a call for proposals for EU action grants in the field of social and affordable housing in the context of the European Green Deal under the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs part of the Single Market Programme (SMP - COSME).

If you are thinking to apply, please reach out to the Access Europe Team via europe@wheel.ie

Scope:

  • To set up one European Affordable Housing Consortium to support SMEs, including social enterprises, to collaborate with public authorities and (social) housing providers, in order to implement renovation projects targeting social and affordable housing, to upskill and reskill and integrate the latest digital, environmental and social innovative solutions targeting social and affordable housing and district renovation
  • To provide support to local industrial partnerships for implementing the lighthouse districts
  • To organise knowledge transfer, capacity building and networking activities for local industrial partnerships
  • To facilitate access to funding, financial and technical assistance to local industrial partnerships for implementing the 100 lighthouse districts
  • To develop blueprints for replication to deliver successful lighthouse districts
  • To create a hub of expertise, networking and knowledge transfer for affordable and social housing districts renovation
  • To provide advice towards sustainable financing, better regulation and standards for renovation targeting social and affordable housing districts.

Background

In 2019, the European Commission presented its new growth strategy, the European Green Deal, set out to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, boosting the economy, improving people's health and quality of life, caring for nature, and leaving no one behind. In September 2020, the action plan to deliver the Green Deal has been communicated, with the aim to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Actions are on their way in all sectors of the industry, including buildings, and the updated 2020 European industrial strategy has laid out a plan for how the EU’s world-leading industry could lead the twin green and digital transitions, drawing on the strength of its traditions, its businesses and its people to enhance its competitiveness.

A refurbished and improved building stock in the EU will help pave the way for a decarbonised and clean energy system, as buildings consume around 40% of energy and are responsible for 36% of energy related EU greenhouse gas emissions4. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, so effective action is crucial to meeting the energy and environmental targets and making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. Currently, roughly 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient, yet almost 85-95% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050.

Affordable and social housing5 are confronted with two main challenges: a decline in stocks and quality of dwellings (supply); and the need for accommodation (demand) due to demographic changes and urban/rural imbalances. This situation leads to market failures, increasing social welfare problems and inequalities (spatial segregation leading to democratic crisis, poor access to job markets, to education, services), carbon footprint of buildings, bearing heavy costs for the society due to homelessness and housing exclusion (public health, social protection, emergency housing solutions, violence, poverty etc.) as 34 million people across the European Union live in energy poverty.

An addition challenge is decreasing investment levels in housing sector. In the European Union, 800 000 social housing homes require renovation per year, which represent about 5%6 of the total of social housing stock, and 450 000 new social homes are needed per year, calling for an additional EUR 57 billion per year7, while the share of expenditure on housing and community amenities of EU Member States kept decreasing from 0.9% to 0.6%, i.e. from EUR 109.6 billion to EUR 91 billion in the 2001-2018 period. Overall, 0.6% of GDP is the average amount European governments spend on housing and social exclusion subsidies.

Investment in social and affordable housing, through renovations, including deep renovation, and construction of new buildings, can address these issues by reducing energy poverty and housing costs, bringing long-lasting societal benefits, such as reduced energy bills, leading to reduced energy poverty, improved health and comfort, quality living areas and districts and bring resilience in the face of climate events and price shocks. Furthermore, investing in social and affordable housing is a beneficial countercyclical economic measure that generates economic return in terms of employment during low economic conjuncture, is less expensive than during economic upturn and boosts productivity of companies operating in the construction ecosystem, which represents an added value of EUR 904 billion, employs around 22 million people and is composed mainly (over 95%) of SMEs.

Modernising the housing stock will also support skills development and transfer in the construction sector, as 4 million qualified jobs together with upskilling of existing staff is required for achieving not only the green, but also the digital transformation of our society, starting from the places we live, using smart home equipment and digital tools, integration of smart systems and appliances and supporting a better integration of buildings in the energy system, in smart districts and cities. It will lead to cost and resource savings; full-scale digitalization of the AEC9 sector in ten years will lead to 13-21% of savings during engineering and construction, and 10-17% during operation.10

The Blueprint initiative in the construction sector, planned for 2021, is expected to develop skills responses to technology deployment and innovation, to prepare a new generation of digitally aware multi-skilled workers, and help the sector to attract its fair share of young talents, to contribute to improving the image of the sector and to become a sector rewarding professional and vocational careers, with much safer and healthier conditions.

In the updated 2020 New Industrial Strategy released on 5th of May 2021, fourteen industrial ecosystems11 have been identified and their different needs and challenges analysed, such as the proximity and social economy ecosystem. This ecosystem encompasses social infrastructure - mainly social housing – providers, along with local SMEs operating personal and contact services, small shops, bars and restaurants, repair, cleaning and maintenance services, as well as civil security services (fire fighters, police forces, emergency teams, etc.). The Covid-19 crisis highlighted the value of social economy actors to support vulnerable groups facing (potential) job-loss, difficulties to access affordable housing, as well as their value to build more inclusive, quality and liveability interventions in communities, districts and neighbourhoods in urban, suburban, as well as rural and remote areas, and increasing growth and job opportunities by fostering local value loops that encourage more local production, sharing and other circular business models.

Strengthening the competitiveness of these industrial ecosystems combined with investment in a modern social and affordable housing sector is key to achieve the climate-neutrality objective by 2050 and boost digital and technological transformation of SME’s in several industrial ecosystems beyond the Proximity/Social economy ecosystem, such as Construction, Renewable Energy and Electronics with spill-overs to Health, Retail and Creative industries.

The EU mobilized an ambitious recovery plan – Next Generation EU – of EUR 750 billion, backed with a reinforced EU budget for the period 2021-2027.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility, with EUR 672.5 billion, will spearhead investments and reforms in Member States to boost recovery and the green and digital transitions. A minimum of 37% of expenditure would be targeted to climate-related expenditure and can support renovation investment and energy efficiency-related reforms across Member States. “Renovate” has been identified as one of the seven flagship areas for which the Commission strongly encourages Member States to put forward investment and reform plans projects included in their national Recovery and Resilience Plans12, by providing incentives to renovate the existing stock of buildings, in particular public buildings as well as social infrastructure and housing, in order to alleviate energy poverty through reduced energy and water bills and improve affordability of housing and living conditions.

Moreover, on 14 October 2020, the Commission published a strategy to trigger a Renovation Wave for Europe13, aiming to at least double the current low renovation rates in the EU by breaking down long-standing barriers to energy and resource-efficient renovation, supporting fresh investment over a sustained period starting from public and less efficient buildings, spurring digitalisation and creating employment and growth opportunities across the renovation supply chain.

The Affordable Housing Initiative is part of this strategy: “In order to guarantee that local social housing projects have access to all necessary technical capacity, the Commission will launch the Affordable Housing Initiative in 2021. It will pilot 100 lighthouse renovation districts in a smart neighbourhood approach and provide blueprints for replication, setting liveability and latest innovations at the forefront. It will mobilise cross-sectoral project partnerships linking them to local actors, including from the social economy, to promote efficient, circular and modular processes, social engagement models to empower residents, inclusive and accesible developments and cultural innovation.”

The Affordable Housing Initiative is also embedded as key action to serve the principle 19 ”Housing and assistance for the homeless” of the European Pillar of Social Rights14.

Furthermore, the Affordable Housing Initiative is fully aligned with the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 objectives, in particular:

  • objective 1, Smarter Europe, through innovation, digitisation, economic transformation and support to small and medium-sized businesses
  • objective 2, Greener, carbon free Europe, implementing the Paris Agreement and investing in energy transition, renewables and the fight against climate change
  • objective 4, a more Social Europe, delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights and supporting quality employment, education, skills, social inclusion and equal access to healthcare
  • objective 5, Europe closer to citizens, by supporting locally-led development strategies and sustainable urban development across the EU.

Cohesion Policy further supports locally-led development strategies and empowers local authorities in the management of the funds. The urban dimension of Cohesion Policy is strengthened with 8% of the ERDF dedicated to sustainable urban development, a new European Urban Initiative will be set up that supports innovative actions, capacity and knowledge building, policy development and communication on sustainable urban development.

The proposed Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) also aims to alleviate the social and economic costs of the transition to climate neutrality, focusing on the territories, industries and workers who will shoulder the biggest transition challenges. Its first pillar, the Just Transition Fund, with a proposed allocation of EUR 17.5 billion, has energy efficiency and circular economy investments as its eligibility areas.

The Affordable Housing Initiative is also closely linked to the recommendations of the citizens’ initiative ”Housing for all”15, the opinions on housing by the Committee of Regions16, the European Economic and Social Committee17 , and the two resolutions of the European Parliament on “Maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock”18 and on “Decent and Affordable Housing for All”19 respectively adopted on 17 September 2020 and on 21 January 2021.

Finally, the Affordable Housing Initiative is built in synergy with other European programmes, initiatives and partnerships, notably:

  • the New European Bauhaus aiming to combine design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability and investment in order to help deliver the European Green Deal. The core values of the New European Bauhaus are thus sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness.
  • the Housing Partnership of the Urban Agenda for the EU, which has, from 2015 to 2018, analysed the challenges faced by Member States, regions, cities, and social and affordable housing providers throughout Europe, whether public, cooperative or private. The conclusions are included in a set of 12 substantial actions and recommendations by the “Housing Partnership Action Plan”20, which was presented during the 'Housing for All' international conference in Vienna on 4 December 2020.

2. Objectives — Themes and priorities — Activities that can be funded — Expected impact

SMP-COSME-2021-HOUS-01 — Affordable Housing Initiative

Objectives

This call for proposals seeks to provide support, capacity building and networking for local industrial partnerships, with the ambition to pilot 100 lighthouse renovation districts under the Affordable Housing Initiative.

In order to achieve this, the call will set up one European Affordable Housing Consortium (hereafter ”the consortium”) to support SMEs, including social enterprises, to collaborate with public authorities and (social) housing providers, in order to implement renovation projects targeting social and affordable housing, to upskill and reskill and integrate the latest digital, environmental and social innovative solutions targeting social and affordable housing and district renovation, and identify technology needs and developments. The consortium will facilitate the collaboration, networking, knowledge transfer and exchanges of best practices.

The consortium shall gather representatives of SMEs active in the sectors of social housing and construction, such as construction, electronics, renewables, housing associations and cooperatives, social rental agencies and companies, social services and healthcare, culture & creative industries together with representatives of public authorities, financial institutions and/or representatives of financial institutions. Public private partnerships should be the core of the consortium. Other organizations, such as scaling-up support organizations, such as technology centers, science parks, research institutes, fab labs, (digital) innovation hubs, creative hubs, social service providers and recognized architects, SME intermediaries, and social economy stakeholders, associations of tenants and residents, can also be part of the consortium.

The consortium shall also disseminate successful projects and help identify opportunities and overcome challenges to renovation of social and affordable housing districts; it shall provide recommendations for sustainable financing, better regulation and standards to facilitate provision and renovation of social and affordable housing, which could build on previous recommendations and conclusions that were drawn by related European initiatives on housing and sustainable urban development, such as the Housing Partnership Action Plan under the Urban Agenda for the European Union.

Themes and priorities (scope)

For the purpose of this call, the following terminology applies:

Local industrial partnerships gather SMEs, housing providers and local public authorities. Target SMEs could be active in (1) the construction ecosystem, (2) renewables ecosystem, (3) digital industries ecosystem and (4) electronics ecosystem producing (advanced) Green, Digital and other technologies for the housing sector. Similarly, it shall provide opportunities for SMEs that operate (5) proximity, social economy and civil security ecosystem: social housing services and other social services that are active in housing districts, for example, incubation, and entrepreneurship support, but also (6) retail ecosystem last group of relevant SMEs are those belonging to the (7) Health and (8) culture & creative culture industries ecosystem as these might be crucial for co-creative and aesthetic aspects of renovation.

Lighthouse Districts are defined as renovation projects at district scale targeting social and affordable housing. Renovation projects shall follow an integrated approach meaning that they include one of the three following features:

  • use technologies, such as digital, smart energy efficient solutions, circular and modular renovation tool-kits and eco-design, use of renewables as energy sources to improve energy efficiency, sustainability of the district;
  • use people-centered business models (energy communities, common spaces, co-investment in renovation, frameworks to empower residents, such as co-investing and resident owned services, integration of circular economy approaches22), innovative financial models, promote social innovation, access to health and social services, opportunities for social economy enterprises, improving social inclusion and fighting energy poverty;
  • experiment co-creation and engagement practices for renovation at district level, engaging several disciplines (creative, green, digital, mobility) as a link to the New European Bauhaus;

The renovated housing units of the lighthouse districts shall remain affordable and the lighthouse districts shall serve as best examples to be replicated towards other districts in Europe and to deliver blueprints for local industrial cooperation.

The European cross-sectoral consortium set up under this call for proposals shall deliver on three main priorities:

  • Priority 1: Support to local industrial partnerships for implementing the lighthouse districts;
  • Priority 2: Create a hub of expertise, networking and knowledge transfer for affordable and social housing districts renovation;
  • Priority 3: Provide advice towards sustainable financing, better regulation and standards for renovation targeting social and affordable housing districts.

Activities that can be funded (scope):

1. Awareness raising and promotion

The implementation strategy shall propose a communication and promotion plan and provide concrete examples of how to effectively raise awareness, disseminate information on the opportunities and reach a maximum number of potential local industrial partnerships. Communication activities should in particular target relevant business organisations and other bodies supporting businesses and start-ups, as well as housing providers, cooperatives and associations, and local authorities as appropriate.

The consortium must demonstrate that they have appropriate access to the stakeholders of the local industrial partnerships. These activities should be focused so as to ensure that the local industrial partnerships who will receive support from the initiative will implement lighthouse districts.

To ensure that support is channelled accross all Member states, and different communities, including urban, suburban and rural areas, communication channels and materials must be designed for different target groups, in terms of governance of the housing sector, the quality of the housing stock, the existing initiatives and governance models in the field of urban development at national and local level.

Other means of awareness-raising are also encouraged.

2. Organising knowledge transfer, capacity building and networking activities for local industrial partnerships.

This must be done in particular through the below list of compulsory activities to be undertaken by the consortium (the list is not exhaustive; the Consortium is invited to propose additional activities on top of the compulsory ones in the list):

  • Putting in place a strategy to identify SMEs, housing providers and local authorities willing to engage in renovation projects at district scale targeting affordable and social housing and facilitate the cooperation between them for the creation of the local industrial partnerships and implementation of lighthouse districts;
  • Identifying, documenting and promoting best practices as well as policies and initiatives at EU, national and local level aiming at addressing shortages of skills, knowledge and models to renovate affordable and social housing at district-level, as well as fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships (between industry, social partners, financial intermediaries, public authorities) in the area of the construction/social housing sector.
  • Organising collaborative workshops, individual and group coaching, peer to peer learning, meeting with experts, boot camps, physical and online training courses, webinars, focus groups, seminars and other forms of support to SMEs, housing providers and local authorities in various areas (e.g. ready to market sustainable solutions/materials, certifications, standards, state aid, procurement, financing, facilitating contacts with investors and business partners, match making…);
  • Providing technical support necessary for the above mentioned activities.

3. Facilitating access to funding, financial and technical assistance to local industrial partnerships for implementing the 100 lighthouse districts

3.1 Information on Access to Funding

The consortium shall identify the potential sources of funding the lighthouse districts and facilitate the access to these opportunities for SMEs, housing providers and local public authorities. It shall provide support to help create investment and project pipelines in affordable housing renovation and explore financing options, putting cost neutrality, affordability of renovated units, social inclusion and empowerment of residents at the forefront.

This must be done in particular through the below list of compulsory activities to be undertaken by the consortium (the list is not exhaustive; the Consortium is invited to propose additional activities on top of the compulsory ones in the list):

  • Develop tools, such as handbooks, training tools, workshops, webinars, etc., to guide the members of the local industrial partnerships towards access to European funds and programmes. Several European funds can be mobilized for renovation projects targeting social and affordable housing at district-level, such as the REACT-EU, the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Modernisation Fund, InvestEU, the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The Recovery and Resilience Facility Scheme also offers opportunities for district renovation targeting social and affordable housing, which could facilitate implementation of lighthouse districts aligned with national strategies;
  • Establishing close contacts with financial and banking institutions, such as the European Investment Bank and the Council of Development Bank as well as other financial institutions, which invest in renovation of social and affordable housing and liaise with them in particular to support local industrial partnerships to access to funding opportunities they offer;
  • Exploring the potential of mobilising private capital investments, such as the potential of social and green bonds, and facilitating their access for members of local industrial partnerships. Several reports and initiatives, notably at European level can constitute the basis for such approach, in particular, the recommendations and work of the Smart Finance for Smart Building Initiative23 and the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE)24. The Mortgage Credit Directive25 and the Consumer Credit Directive26, and the regulation 2019/2033 also provide opportunities to adequately reflect a possible lower credit risk of sustainable financial products27, which could be looked into;
  • Facilitating the creation of project pipelines to tap into the potential of instruments, funds and programmes for district renovation targeting social and affordable housing, put in place e.g. by the European Investment Bank (i.e. ELENA), the European Energy Efficiency Fund, the Council of Development Bank. The partnership could facilitate access to these instruments, notably through facilitating aggregation of lighthouse district projects for larger scale intervention;
  • Financial advisory to members of local industrial partnerships to make complex financing arrangements for renovation at district level going beyond energy efficiency, including social innovation, access to social and local services, empowerment of residents;
  • National or local funding opportunities targeting urban regeneration projects at district level could also be investigated on case by case basis, according to the needs of the local industrial partnerships;
  • As lighthouse districts can have a strong research and experimentation aspect for building renovation, the consortium can also investigate and facilitate access to funding opportunities at European level under Horizon Europe and Smart Cities call.

3.2 Technical assistance and capacity building

The consortium shall provide technical assistance to implement the lighthouse districts or to provide local industrial partnerships with such support. This must be done in particular through the below list of compulsory activities to be undertaken by the consortium (the list is not exhaustive; the Consortium is invited to propose additional activities on top of the compulsory ones in the list):

  • Mapping of relevant initiatives, actors, opportunities and barriers for technical assistance open to members of the local industrial partnerships for renovation of social and affordable housing districts;
  • Identifying specific needs of SMEs, housing providers and local public authorities to implement renovation of social and affordable housing at district level;
  • Technical assistance to members of local industrial partnerships for use of advanced technologies, practices, innovations and smart solutions28 related to the wide construction aspects in the lighthouse districts, also industrialised solutions/packages, green materials, sustainable products, etc. based on the taxonomy requirements29 as well as addressing various social aspects at district level to ensure that the renovated units remain affordable (e.g. social innovation and frameworks to empower residents, e.g. co-investing, resident owned service).
  • Support and advice to local industrial partnerships to push renovation projects to go the extra mile by efficient use of state of the art technologies, models to empower residents and improve participation/ownership as well as liveability, access to local and social services, active aging and living, social inclusion, cultural innovation, smart cities and mobility, local artists and designers, energy communities, etc.
  • Training for upskilling and reskilling the workforce of SMEs in the broad field of construction, including on deep renovation.
  • Support for project implementation of the lighthouse districts.

A wide range of financial and technical assistance tools are also available at EU level under some of the programmes and instruments mentioned above (InvestEU, ELENA, LIFE, Technical Support Instrument30). The consortium can also provide tailor-made expertise directly or through meetings with experts, workshops, seminars, online and physical (when and if possible), training courses, bootcamps, and other means, based on the needs of the local industrial partnerships.

The consortium is responsible for putting in place a support scheme for local industrial partnerships to help them to access technical assistance support and identify the most appropriate delivery methodologies, using innovative approaches to teaching and learning, as well as an integrated use of ICTs (e.g. blended learning, simulators, etc.), and open resources (online toolkits, handbooks). The consortium must also identify ways to implement innovative support and assistance methods to respond to the needs of specific target groups, including local industrial partnerships operating in urban as well as suburban and rural areas across all the European Union.

4. Develop blueprints for replication to deliver successful lighthouse districts

The consortium shall develop blueprints including options and/or methods to deliver the lighthouse districts tackling different aspects, called below modules, from financial set-up and project implementation to technical advice to go the extra mile in sustainability, technology and digital applications, livability and social inclusiveness.

The consortium may propose other blueprints, both in the proposal as well as in the implementation of the project in order to meet the needs of the local industrial partnerships.

Blueprints for replication must also find ways on how to tackle the following issues of the below list (the list is not exhaustive; the Consortium is invited to propose additional blueprints to be developed on top of the compulsory ones in the list):

Project implementation modules (targeting partnership between SMEs, local/regional authorities and other partners such as financial institutions, civil society organizations:

  • Tackle temporary accommodation during renovation period
  • Deliver SME-friendly, innovation and partnership procurement targeting social housing
  • Attract and include private capital (e.g. use social and green bonds) as a source for funding lighthouse districts
  • Ensure cost-neutrality for residents after the renovation operation
  • Team up with local authorities for the uptake of new technologies targeting social and affordable housing
  • Tackle renovation of multi-apartment blocks, including multi-ownership challenges
  • Architectural and design approaches that allow in individual housing buildings to address a combination of purposes: housing, economic, leisure, nature, etc.

Social innovation related modules:

  • Target audience composition: how to combine different target groups such as intergenerational, single parents, people in need, people with disabilities, but also income-related combinations or other aspects that counteract segregated housing.
  • Ensure co-creation (priority for residents’ engagement models) in the process of renovating social and affordable homes
  • Develop different models of co-ownership or shared ownership of accommodation or certain utilities such as energy, shared mobility services, equipment, etc.
  • Set links with the New European Bauhaus and other urban development strategies that promote co-creation and co-design of “housing neighborhood of tomorrow”, combing social, ecological and economic purpose.
  • Consider the role of mediators and mediation techniques to align different interests that might promote or hamper district renovations.

Technical modules:

  • Put in place modular building systems
  • Maximize circularity in renovation and construction of the districts
  • Ensure energy efficiency at district-level by combining different sources of energy and respecting regulatory requirements
  • Tackle split incentives
  • Digitize social housing service provision (for example, customer relations, energy monitoring, waste collection) in an affordable, adaptable and purpose driven manner
  • Approaches for spatial planning and urban planning of districts to make a combination of purposes possible (housing, economic, leisure, nature, etc.)
  • Exploration of projects’ aggregation
  • Promote industrialized packages (standardised renovation solutions)

Each blueprint will need to cover the following horizontal aspects:

  • financial model and financial feasibility
  • the regulatory framework (multi-level governance of EU/national/regional/local regulations or any necessary policy action)

Blueprints must include different options for achieving goals that respond to local/regional needs and must be adapted to different contexts across countries and regions in the European Union and participating countries.

The consortium may link with public authorities to overcome barriers for renovation of social and affordable housing and propose topics for blueprints. The consortium may also use different tools (e.g. webinars, focus groups) to ensure the quality of the blueprints and that they are adapted to the different local and regional needs.

5. Disseminate results: blueprints and advice for sustainable financing, better regulation and standards

The consortium shall act as a knowledge hub for sharing:

  • Blueprints for replication that could facilitate the delivery of the lighthouse projects as described in the previous section;
  • Recommendations for sustainable financing tools or changes to policies impacting funding opportunities for social housing or facilitating private investment into social and affordable housing (Basel agreement, mortgage credit directive31, Regulation (EU) 2015/760 on European long-term investment funds32, prudential requirements of investment firms regulation 2019/203333, etc.);
  • Socially responsible regulation, policies, standards and practices, in regards to state aid, services of general economic interest, performance-based public procurement, socially-responsible governance model, etc.

The consortium shall provide in the proposal a clear plan for dissemination of the above-mentioned results, including the activities and their timing, tools and channels to ensure that the results and benefits will be spread effectively to the stakeholders, enterprises, housing associations, cooperatives and policy makers. This initial dissemination plan will be fine-tuned and further elaborated as the implementation of the project goes along.

The dissemination strategy shall aim at reaching a wide, varied and specifically identified target audience. In this regard, the contractor shall establish and keep relations with stakeholders, including multipliers. Innovative communication and dissemination actions in order to reach a broad group of stakeholders should be proposed.

The consortium may consider using various stakeholders and their umbrella organizations as multipliers, such as social providers, for this purpose and/or identify stakeholders able to disseminate the results in cascade to individual users of the materials produced.

For that purpose, the initiative may liaise with relevant EU policy actions, instruments, initiatives and projects relevant for funding and implementing the lighthouse districts such as:Energy poverty observatory, Sustainable Energy Investment Forums, Cities Action for Sustainable Housing, EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture (in particular awarded housing renovation projects), URBACT, URBIS, Urban Innovative Actions, Intelligent Cities Challenge, Sustainable Energy Investment Forums, High level forum on construction, ERHIN, European Covenant for Mayors, European Cluster Collaboration Platform, European Enterprise Network, Digital Innovation Hubs, KETs, LIFE; with other programmes that are supportive for the delivery of district renovations (i.e. Horizon Europe, Regional Development and New Cohesion); and with national, regional, local public and private initiatives in the field. This list is not exhaustive and the consortium is encouraged to liaise with other relevant organisations.

The consortium shall also build interlinkages with the New European Bauhaus (NEB) and ensure proper synergies between the Affordable Housing Initiative and the NEB Community.

The consortium can organize meetings with stakeholders to get their expert opinion at various stages of the development of the Initiative. Meetings should also be a chance to communicate about the Initiative, the opportunities it offers for SMEs, for housing associations and cooperatives, and local public authorities.

The above mentioned eligible activities can be implemented in the following ways:

  • webinars, workshops, seminars to exchange good practices, round tables;
  • studies, surveys, publications, in particular focusing on legal and regulatory aspects, as well as best practices that can support provision and renovation of affordable and social housing (state aid, public procurement) and providing recommendations for sustainable financing for affordable and social housing;
  • training activities, training tools, bootcamps;
  • developing support services for SMEs, social housing providers, local authorities to apply for EU funding for renovation at district-level, including toolkits, templates, manuals and other support material;
  • actions aiming at creating and improving connections to stakeholders in inclusive and social, setting up of networks;
  • meeting with experts;
  • awareness and dissemination actions amongst the local industrial partnerships, SMEs, local authorities, social housing providers, energy communities, cooperatives, about opportunities on funding (EU, national or other funds) but also financial advisory or technical assistance;
  • gathering, production and diffusion of relevant information materials;

This list is not exhaustive and applicants are encouraged to use new, innovative and experimental ways of achieving the objectives set under this call for proposals.

Expected impact

The expected impact is to contribute to strengthening expertise, knowledge and networking for urban regeneration projects targeting affordable and social housing following a district-level and integrated approach embedded in locally-led development strategies. Results expected are to reinforce transformation towards a sustainable building stock and smart development of housing (in case of affordable district areas) by supporting renovation projects to ‘go the extra mile’ in terms of technologic, green, social and digital innovative methods, tools and processes.

Expected results consist in:

  • Improved access to innovations and services by focusing on re-skilling, tools, pooling of resources and joint investments for SMEs operating in several industrial ecosystems (construction, proximity and social economy, digital, renewable, electronics, retail, creative and cultural industries, to get access and apply cutting-edge technologies, in renovation projects.
  • Improved presence of SMEs in the significant opportunities offered by MS recovery strategies focussing on social and affordable housing and in the renovation market in general.

It is also expected to better identify and overcome issues to increase SME presence in the renovation of affordable and social housing market, facilitate the creation of local long term partnerships involving SMEs for urban regeneration at district-level, as well as better sharing of ideas/experiences/best practices and improved capacity building in the field of construction and renovation of affordable and social housing districts.

It is expected to raise awareness of good examples of local industrial cooperation, human-centered business models and successful projects targeting renovation of affordable and social housing at district-level.

Finally, it is expected to contribute to the implementation of urban development following the 2021-2027 cohesion policy objectives.

A robust set of key performance indicators should be used for reporting and monitoring, with a duly justified methodology. Proposals should put forward and explain a monitoring and reporting strategy, with appropriate indicators to measure outputs, outcomes and longer term impacts that match the proposed set of actions.

Key performance indicators to be used for reporting and monitoring (the list is not exhaustive and indicates the minimum of indicators to be used. Additional key performance indicators can be put forward):

  • Number of blueprints for replication produced;
  • Number and geographic spread of supported local industrial partnerships;
  • Number and geographic spead of supported lighthouse districts in the planning phase or already in the development phase
  • Number and geographic spread of SMES benefitting from the services provided by the Partnerships
  • Number of good practices identified and recommendations formulated for better standards;
  • Number of identified possible additional funding opportunities for innovative products or services targeting social and affordable housing;
  • Number of established contacts/relationships between social housing providers/local authorities and SMEs/start-ups;
  • Number of seminars, workshops, focus groups and other events organized and number of attendants from public and private entities;

Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 1 200 000.

The Agency expects to fund one proposal.

We reserve the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
  • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
  • non-EU countries:
    • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the COSME part of the Single Market Programme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
  • be legal entities forming a consortium, including (the list of type of entities is exhaustive):
    • non-profit organisations (private or public);
    • public authorities (national, regional, local);
    • universities or educational institutions;
    • international organisations;
    • non-governmental organisations;
    • European umbrella organisations;
    • business support organisations;
    • research centres;
    • profit making entities.

In addition, each beneficiary must have members established in and/or represent at least 18 different eligible countries - with the exception of financial institutions, representatives of financial institutions, investors and investment funds. The latter must have members established in and/or represent and/or operate in at least five different eligible countries. If more than one of such financial entities participates in the consortium, this requirement applies to all of them together.

Additional information regarding the type of eligible entities is provided under the section “Consortium composition”.

Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: EURES EEA non EU countries cooperation


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy. The aim of this call is to promote workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation. Deadline: 30 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

The aim of this axis is to strengthen EURES, a European job mobility network that provides information, guidance and recruitment/placement services to employers, jobseekers and any citizen wishing to take advantage of freedom of movement for workers.

The call consists of four strands:

  1. Cross-border partnerships
  2. Support to the development of new cross-border partnerships
  3. Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries
  4. Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners
Measures to be financed under this call should be concrete, action oriented and carry a clear added value in terms of making a difference where rolled out.

Background This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ which is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission. It provides financial support to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty. Intra-EU labour mobility as facilitated by this call for proposals can help to address labour market imbalances and improve labour market's efficiency. It can contribute to improving the allocation of resources and serve as an adjustment mechanism for unbalanced labour markets whilst enabling economies to cope better with economic shocks. Building on the work done in the past by the previous Commissions, President Ursula von der Leyen stressed in the Communication on “a Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions”, COM(2020) 14 final, of 14.01.2020, that the European Pillar of Social Rights is the European answer to improve equal opportunities and jobs for all, fair working condition, social protection and inclusion. The action, as direct expression of the principle “Active support to employment” under the chapter I, “equal opportunities and access to the labour market” of the European Pillar of Social Rights, is aimed to fulfil people’s needs, supporting and promoting the implementation of tailor-made employment services and innovative forms of work, that ensure quality working conditions, to foster the placement and integration of mobile workers in the host country(ies), combined with financial incentives. EURES (European Employment Services) is a network formed by public and private employment services and other partner organisations. The objective of the EURES network is to facilitate the free movement of workers within the European Economic Area (EEA) (the 27 members of the European Union, plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and Switzerland, i.e. giving information and assistance to job seekers and employers on respectively the available job vacancies, job research and living and working conditions in Member States.

The legal base for EURES consist of:

  • EU rules on the freedom to work and look for a job in another EU Member State: Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union (codification OJ L 141 of 27.05.2011, p. 1);

  • An EU framework for cooperation in this area: Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets (hereafter the EURES Regulation) and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

The EURES Regulation lays down provisions aiming to improve information, guidance and assistance to employers and job seekers including for frontier workers in cross-border regions, to increase transparency of labour market information at EU level and to expand the exchange of information between Member States (resulting in better programming of EURES activities).

The Regulation defines that EURES services are delivered through two complementary channels: the EURES advisors’ network, consisting of EURES staff across the network, and the EURES portal with a number of online service tools available.

The backbone of EURES are the Members and Partners, which include Public Employment Services on national and regional level, but also social partners, universities, private employment services or other organizations that have undergone an admission procedure. They are tasked with the operational activities and they provide the network of more than 1000 EURES advisers.

  • The EURES members are service providers in the field of employment admitted by the Member States which provide the three categories of tasks, namely contribution to the pool of job vacancies, contribution to the pool of job applications and CV's and support services to workers and employers involving information, guidance and assistance. The public employment services are appointed by Member States without admission procedure;

  • The EURES partners are admitted by the Member States, and provide only some of the three tasks mentioned, for instance support services to workers and employers.

At the national level, EURES is organised by the National Coordination Offices (NCOs). At European level, the European Coordination Office (ECO), hosted by the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, and being transferred to the European Labour Authority (ELA), provides horizontal support to the NCOs.

Objectives

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The call for projects of two-year duration consists of three topics:

  • The first topic supports fair mobility for workers in cross-border regions, in particular cross-border partnerships offering comprehensive EURES services;
  • The second topic targets both EEA countries, that are part of EURES, to offer comprehensive EURES services in EEA countries or specific EURES services for workers or employers. Following the key principle "Equal opportunities and access to the labour market" of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the action aims at reaching jobseekers in EEA countries.
  • The third topic targets EU-level social partner organisations. It will support the coordination of activities of the European social partners in the EURES network.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-ECP — EURES Cross-border partnerships

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value.

Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support cross-border partnerships in implementing the objectives of the EURES Regulation, improving the functioning, cohesion and integration of the cross-border labour markets and promoting voluntary and fair geographical and occupational mobility in such regions.

The cross-border partnership must be established based on actual needs in terms of mobility flows and economic activity. In particular, it should address skills mismatches in the border region.

While cross-border partnerships are free under the EURES Regulation to define a number of specific tasks (as indicated in Article 27(2)), cross border partnerships co-financed by this call have to provide a minimum number of services.

Cross-border partnerships under this topic must support all these activities:

(1) To provide recruitment assistance through the staff of the organisations participating in the partnership to frontier jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers, for instance organizing recruitment events.
  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.
  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.
  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(2) To provide guidance and information, relevant for the area covered by the partnership, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.
  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(3) To advertise the information and services provided in line with the EURES communications strategy.

(4) To monitor placement outcomes and customer satisfaction.

(5) To contribute to the pool of job vacancies and CVs in the EURES portal, in cooperation with the NCO.

In addition, cross-border partnerships under this topic must support at least one of the following activities:

(6) To provide post-recruitment information and assistance.

(7) To gather and analyse evidence on cross-border mobility covering the current state of play and potential future developments.

(8) To develop and implement a catalogue of specific actions for raising the offer of cross-border apprenticeships and traineeships in the participating regions and to provide information, guidance and assistance to candidates interested in applying for such offers across the border.

(9) To contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights with specific actions addressing at least one of the principles under the chapter “fair working conditions”.

(10) On voluntary basis cross-border partnerships can develop activities drawing the lessons from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their cross-border regions. In particular, in the area of becoming an adviser and recognised interlocutor for public administrations and political bodies on cross-border labour market issues, the regional/national response to the pandemic, and their capacity to link between administration/politics on the one side and employers and workers on the other side.

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Monitoring

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system. The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Applicants under this specific call for proposals - ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation – are informed that the award of grants to applicants from countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) is only possible if the EEA countries have complied with Art 29 of the ESF+ Regulation that stipulates that the EaSI strand shall be open to the EEA participation by means of an agreement with the Union, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the Agreement on the European Economic Area;

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value. Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office (NCO) for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the complementary Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support the implementation of Union law on facilitating intra-EU labour mobility and the work of the EURES network in the EEA countries.

Proposals under this topic must support all these activities:

(1) To provide recruitment assistance through the EURES advisers and other staff of the EEA employment services to jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers.
  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.
  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.
  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(2) To provide guidance and information, to potential mobile jobseekers and their employers, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.
  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(3) To improve the visibility and awareness of EURES in the EEA countries and to advertise the information and services provided, in line with the EURES communications strategy.

(4) To monitor placement outcomes and customer satisfaction.

(5) To contribute to the pool of job vacancies and CVs in the EURES portal, in cooperation with the NCO.

(6) To cooperate with other EURES countries in joint projects such as recruitment events.

In addition, proposals under this topic must support at least one of the following activities:

(7) To provide new and specialised services that are not or only partially available so far, thus contributing to filling the possible gaps of services provided in the region (e.g. post-recruitment support, cross-border projects, combination of training and placement, specific services for the placement of long-term unemployed, etc.);

(8) To support the implementation of the EURES regulation and, in particular, to contribute to the EURES programming cycle and the exchange of information between Member States; to coordinate EURES activities at national level and participate in the coordination meetings of the EURES network;

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Monitoring

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system. The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-SOCP — EURES Social partners cooperation

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value.

Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support European social partner organisations observers in the Advisory Committee on Free Movement of Workers to inform about, coordinate and to facilitate intra-EU labour mobility among their member organisations and to ensure that those member organisations, which are also part of the EURES network, are well aligned to the objectives of EURES.

Proposals under this topic must support at least one of these activities:

(1) To improve the visibility and awareness of EURES targeted at their members, in line with the EURES communications strategy. The campaign should have the clear goal to increase the use of the services offered by the EURES portal and network

(2) To cooperate with other organisations in EURES-related activities such as recruitment events.

(3) To improve client services provided by social partner organisations to mobile and cross-border workers, bearing in mind good practices and the developments relating to admission systems for EURES Members and Partners

In addition, proposals under this topic can support any of the following activities:

(4) To organise stakeholder events relating to intra-EU labour mobility, EURES, cross-border partnerships and cooperation in this area, bringing together representatives of employers' organisations, trade unions, public and private employment services and public authorities, with a view to reporting to the Commission on data, findings and recommendations.

(5) To support exchange of best practices and mutual learning on the development of new or better services for jobseekers and employers, to be provided by social partners or other organisations in the context of chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

(6) To provide recruitment assistance through their staff to jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers.
  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.
  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.
  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(7) To provide guidance and information, to potential mobile jobseekers and their employers, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.
  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(8) Participate in the coordination meetings of the EURES network.

Not eligible under this topic are training activities for EURES advisers and other staff of social partners, which can be covered by the EURES training programme.

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Specific Provisions for Monitoring for EURES

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system to which the beneficiaries under ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-ECP — EURES Cross-border partnerships and ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation, need to make available the following data:

Jobseekers information: total number of jobseekers, gender, age of jobseekers, educational attainment, status of jobseekers (PES registered or not);

Employers information: total number, size of the employers (in terms of number of employees), three most frequent NACE Sectors.

The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 10 600 000.

This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.

The Commission expects to fund around 10-15 proposals.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
  • EU Member States
  • non-EU countries:
    • EEA countries in accordance with Article 29 of the ESF+ Regulation

For topics 1 and 3, organisations of social partners without legal personality under the applicable national law of above-mentioned countries are also eligible, provided that the conditions of the Financial Regulation related thereto are met (Article 197(2)(c) of the Financial Regulation).

In addition, in order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must fulfil the conditions of the relevant topic:

Eligible participants – Topic 1: Cross-border partnerships

To be eligible, the coordinator must be:

  • the relevant National EURES Coordination Office(s) as designated in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/589 or
  • the EURES member(s) or partner(s) of the regions involved with the endorsement of its National Coordination Office

To be eligible, other applicants must fall into one of the categories listed below:

  • EURES members or partners
  • Social partner organisations at European, national or regional level
  • Public or private employment services
  • Third sector organisations
  • other relevant actors active on the EU/EEA labour market, including European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation

When necessary for the achievement of the action’s objectives, legal entities established in non-associated countries may exceptionally participate, in principle without being financed by the Union. Therefore legal entities established in Switzerland can take part on a no cost basis in accordance with Article 27(1)(a)(iii) of the ESF+ Regulation.

Eligible participants – Topic 2: Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries

To be eligible, single applicants must be the National EURES Coordination Offices of EEA-non EU countries, in accordance with Article 29 of ESF+ Regulation.

Eligible participants – Topic 3: Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners

Applicants (single applicant or coordinator and other applicants) must be social partners, established at European level and represented in the Advisory Committee on Free Movement of Workers, i.e.:

  • The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
  • The Confederation of European Business (BUSINESSEUROPE)
  • European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEunited)
  • European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of general interest (CEEP)

In topic 1 and 3, affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

For all topics

Applicants and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners5, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc (see section 13).

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are not eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons6.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’7. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for entities without legal personality (see above) are met.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Applicants from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)8 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/059). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Consortium composition

Topic 1 (Cross-border partnerships):

Proposals must be submitted by a consortium.

Topic 2 (Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries):

Only applications by single applicants are allowed (single beneficiaries).

Topic 3 (Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners):

Actions may involve consortia.

Proposals by single applicants are allowed.

In Topic 1 and 3, affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities are the ones set out in section 2 above.

Projects must comply with EU policy interests and priorities (such as environment, social, security, industrial and trade policy, etc.)

Financial support to third parties is not allowed.

Geographic location (target countries)

Proposals must relate to the activities taking place in the eligible countries (see above).

Duration

Projects shall normally be 24 months (extensions are exceptionally possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).

Project budget

The EU grants requested under topic 1 are expected to range between EUR 300 000 and EUR 750 000 per project.

The EU grants requested under topic 2 and 3 are expected to range between EUR 50 000 and EUR 150 000 per project.

This does not preclude the submission/selection of proposal requesting other amounts

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: EURES Social Partner Cooperation


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy. The aim of this call is to promote workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation. Deadline: 30 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

The aim of this axis is to strengthen EURES, a European job mobility network that provides information, guidance and recruitment/placement services to employers, jobseekers and any citizen wishing to take advantage of freedom of movement for workers.

The call consists of four strands:

  1. Cross-border partnerships

  2. Support to the development of new cross-border partnerships

  3. Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries

  4. Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners

Measures to be financed under this call should be concrete, action oriented and carry a clear added value in terms of making a difference where rolled out.

Background

This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ which is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission. It provides financial support to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty.

Intra-EU labour mobility as facilitated by this call for proposals can help to address labour market imbalances and improve labour market's efficiency. It can contribute to improving the allocation of resources and serve as an adjustment mechanism for unbalanced labour markets whilst enabling economies to cope better with economic shocks.

Building on the work done in the past by the previous Commissions, President Ursula von der Leyen stressed in the Communication on “a Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions”, COM(2020) 14 final, of 14.01.2020, that the European Pillar of Social Rights is the European answer to improve equal opportunities and jobs for all, fair working condition, social protection and inclusion. The action, as direct expression of the principle “Active support to employment” under the chapter I, “equal opportunities and access to the labour market” of the European Pillar of Social Rights, is aimed to fulfil people’s needs, supporting and promoting the implementation of tailor-made employment services and innovative forms of work, that ensure quality working conditions, to foster the placement and integration of mobile workers in the host country(ies), combined with financial incentives.

EURES (European Employment Services) is a network formed by public and private employment services and other partner organisations. The objective of the EURES network is to facilitate the free movement of workers within the European Economic Area (EEA) (the 27 members of the European Union, plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and Switzerland, i.e. giving information and assistance to job seekers and employers on respectively the available job vacancies, job research and living and working conditions in Member States.

The legal base for EURES consist of:

  • EU rules on the freedom to work and look for a job in another EU Member State: Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union (codification OJ L 141 of 27.05.2011, p. 1);

  • An EU framework for cooperation in this area: Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets (hereafter the EURES Regulation) and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

The EURES Regulation lays down provisions aiming to improve information, guidance and assistance to employers and job seekers including for frontier workers in cross-border regions, to increase transparency of labour market information at EU level and to expand the exchange of information between Member States (resulting in better programming of EURES activities).

The Regulation defines that EURES services are delivered through two complementary channels: the EURES advisors’ network, consisting of EURES staff across the network, and the EURES portal with a number of online service tools available.

The backbone of EURES are the Members and Partners, which include Public Employment Services on national and regional level, but also social partners, universities, private employment services or other organizations that have undergone an admission procedure. They are tasked with the operational activities and they provide the network of more than 1000 EURES advisers.

  • The EURES members are service providers in the field of employment admitted by the Member States which provide the three categories of tasks, namely contribution to the pool of job vacancies, contribution to the pool of job applications and CV's and support services to workers and employers involving information, guidance and assistance. The public employment services are appointed by Member States without admission procedure;

  • The EURES partners are admitted by the Member States, and provide only some of the three tasks mentioned, for instance support services to workers and employers.

At the national level, EURES is organised by the National Coordination Offices (NCOs). At European level, the European Coordination Office (ECO), hosted by the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, and being transferred to the European Labour Authority (ELA), provides horizontal support to the NCOs.

Objectives

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The call for projects of two-year duration consists of three topics:

  • The first topic supports fair mobility for workers in cross-border regions, in particular cross-border partnerships offering comprehensive EURES services;

  • The second topic targets both EEA countries, that are part of EURES, to offer comprehensive EURES services in EEA countries or specific EURES services for workers or employers. Following the key principle "Equal opportunities and access to the labour market" of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the action aims at reaching jobseekers in EEA countries.

  • The third topic targets EU-level social partner organisations. It will support the coordination of activities of the European social partners in the EURES network.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-ECP — EURES Cross-border partnerships

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value.

Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support cross-border partnerships in implementing the objectives of the EURES Regulation, improving the functioning, cohesion and integration of the cross-border labour markets and promoting voluntary and fair geographical and occupational mobility in such regions.

The cross-border partnership must be established based on actual needs in terms of mobility flows and economic activity. In particular, it should address skills mismatches in the border region.

While cross-border partnerships are free under the EURES Regulation to define a number of specific tasks (as indicated in Article 27(2)), cross border partnerships co-financed by this call have to provide a minimum number of services.

Cross-border partnerships under this topic must support all these activities:

(1) To provide recruitment assistance through the staff of the organisations participating in the partnership to frontier jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers, for instance organizing recruitment events.

  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.

  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.

  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(2) To provide guidance and information, relevant for the area covered by the partnership, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.

  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(3) To advertise the information and services provided in line with the EURES communications strategy.

(4) To monitor placement outcomes and customer satisfaction.

(5) To contribute to the pool of job vacancies and CVs in the EURES portal, in cooperation with the NCO.

In addition, cross-border partnerships under this topic must support at least one of the following activities:

(6) To provide post-recruitment information and assistance.

(7) To gather and analyse evidence on cross-border mobility covering the current state of play and potential future developments.

(8) To develop and implement a catalogue of specific actions for raising the offer of cross-border apprenticeships and traineeships in the participating regions and to provide information, guidance and assistance to candidates interested in applying for such offers across the border.

(9) To contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights with specific actions addressing at least one of the principles under the chapter “fair working conditions”.

(10) On voluntary basis cross-border partnerships can develop activities drawing the lessons from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their cross-border regions. In particular, in the area of becoming an adviser and recognised interlocutor for public administrations and political bodies on cross-border labour market issues, the regional/national response to the pandemic, and their capacity to link between administration/politics on the one side and employers and workers on the other side.

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Monitoring

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system. The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Applicants under this specific call for proposals - ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation – are informed that the award of grants to applicants from countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) is only possible if the EEA countries have complied with Art 29 of the ESF+ Regulation that stipulates that the EaSI strand shall be open to the EEA participation by means of an agreement with the Union, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the Agreement on the European Economic Area;

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value. Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office (NCO) for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the complementary Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support the implementation of Union law on facilitating intra-EU labour mobility and the work of the EURES network in the EEA countries.

Proposals under this topic must support all these activities:

(1) To provide recruitment assistance through the EURES advisers and other staff of the EEA employment services to jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers.

  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.

  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.

  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(2) To provide guidance and information, to potential mobile jobseekers and their employers, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.

  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(3) To improve the visibility and awareness of EURES in the EEA countries and to advertise the information and services provided, in line with the EURES communications strategy.

(4) To monitor placement outcomes and customer satisfaction.

(5) To contribute to the pool of job vacancies and CVs in the EURES portal, in cooperation with the NCO.

(6) To cooperate with other EURES countries in joint projects such as recruitment events.

In addition, proposals under this topic must support at least one of the following activities:

(7) To provide new and specialised services that are not or only partially available so far, thus contributing to filling the possible gaps of services provided in the region (e.g. post-recruitment support, cross-border projects, combination of training and placement, specific services for the placement of long-term unemployed, etc.);

(8) To support the implementation of the EURES regulation and, in particular, to contribute to the EURES programming cycle and the exchange of information between Member States; to coordinate EURES activities at national level and participate in the coordination meetings of the EURES network;

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Monitoring

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system. The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-SOCP — EURES Social partners cooperation

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value.

Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support European social partner organisations observers in the Advisory Committee on Free Movement of Workers to inform about, coordinate and to facilitate intra-EU labour mobility among their member organisations and to ensure that those member organisations, which are also part of the EURES network, are well aligned to the objectives of EURES.

Proposals under this topic must support at least one of these activities:

(1) To improve the visibility and awareness of EURES targeted at their members, in line with the EURES communications strategy. The campaign should have the clear goal to increase the use of the services offered by the EURES portal and network

(2) To cooperate with other organisations in EURES-related activities such as recruitment events.

(3) To improve client services provided by social partner organisations to mobile and cross-border workers, bearing in mind good practices and the developments relating to admission systems for EURES Members and Partners

In addition, proposals under this topic can support any of the following activities:

(4) To organise stakeholder events relating to intra-EU labour mobility, EURES, cross-border partnerships and cooperation in this area, bringing together representatives of employers' organisations, trade unions, public and private employment services and public authorities, with a view to reporting to the Commission on data, findings and recommendations.

(5) To support exchange of best practices and mutual learning on the development of new or better services for jobseekers and employers, to be provided by social partners or other organisations in the context of chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

(6) To provide recruitment assistance through their staff to jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers.

  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.

  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.

  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(7) To provide guidance and information, to potential mobile jobseekers and their employers, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.

  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(8) Participate in the coordination meetings of the EURES network.

Not eligible under this topic are training activities for EURES advisers and other staff of social partners, which can be covered by the EURES training programme.

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Specific Provisions for Monitoring for EURES

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system to which the beneficiaries under ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-ECP — EURES Cross-border partnerships and ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation, need to make available the following data:

Jobseekers information: total number of jobseekers, gender, age of jobseekers, educational attainment, status of jobseekers (PES registered or not);

Employers information: total number, size of the employers (in terms of number of employees), three most frequent NACE Sectors.

The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 10 600 000.

This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.

The Commission expects to fund around 10-15 proposals.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)

  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:

  • EU Member States

  • non-EU countries:

    • EEA countries in accordance with Article 29 of the ESF+ Regulation

For topics 1 and 3, organisations of social partners without legal personality under the applicable national law of above-mentioned countries are also eligible, provided that the conditions of the Financial Regulation related thereto are met (Article 197(2)(c) of the Financial Regulation).

In addition, in order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must fulfil the conditions of the relevant topic:

Eligible participants – Topic 1: Cross-border partnerships

To be eligible, the coordinator must be:

  • the relevant National EURES Coordination Office(s) as designated in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/589 or

  • the EURES member(s) or partner(s) of the regions involved with the endorsement of its National Coordination Office

To be eligible, other applicants must fall into one of the categories listed below:

  • EURES members or partners

  • Social partner organisations at European, national or regional level

  • Public or private employment services

  • Third sector organisations

  • other relevant actors active on the EU/EEA labour market, including European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation

When necessary for the achievement of the action’s objectives, legal entities established in non-associated countries may exceptionally participate, in principle without being financed by the Union. Therefore legal entities established in Switzerland can take part on a no cost basis in accordance with Article 27(1)(a)(iii) of the ESF+ Regulation.

Eligible participants – Topic 2: Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries

To be eligible, single applicants must be the National EURES Coordination Offices of EEA-non EU countries, in accordance with Article 29 of ESF+ Regulation.

Eligible participants – Topic 3: Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners

Applicants (single applicant or coordinator and other applicants) must be social partners, established at European level and represented in the Advisory Committee on Free Movement of Workers, i.e.:

  • The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

  • The Confederation of European Business (BUSINESSEUROPE)

  • European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEunited)

  • European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of general interest (CEEP)

In topic 1 and 3, affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

For all topics

Applicants and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners5, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc (see section 13).

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are not eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons6.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’7. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for entities without legal personality (see above) are met.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Applicants from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)8 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/059). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Consortium composition

Topic 1 (Cross-border partnerships):

Proposals must be submitted by a consortium.

Topic 2 (Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries):

Only applications by single applicants are allowed (single beneficiaries).

Topic 3 (Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners):

Actions may involve consortia.

Proposals by single applicants are allowed.

In Topic 1 and 3, affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities are the ones set out in section 2 above.

Projects must comply with EU policy interests and priorities (such as environment, social, security, industrial and trade policy, etc.)

Financial support to third parties is not allowed.

Geographic location (target countries)

Proposals must relate to the activities taking place in the eligible countries (see above).

Duration

Projects shall normally be 24 months (extensions are exceptionally possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).

Project budget

The EU grants requested under topic 1 are expected to range between EUR 300 000 and EUR 750 000 per project.

The EU grants requested under topic 2 and 3 are expected to range between EUR 50 000 and EUR 150 000 per project.

This does not preclude the submission/selection of proposal requesting other amounts.

Application Details


See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: EURES Cross Border Partnerships


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy. The aim of this call is to promote workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation. Deadline: 30 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

The aim of this axis is to strengthen EURES, a European job mobility network that provides information, guidance and recruitment/placement services to employers, jobseekers and any citizen wishing to take advantage of freedom of movement for workers.

The call consists of four strands:

  1. Cross-border partnerships

  2. Support to the development of new cross-border partnerships

  3. Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries

  4. Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners

Measures to be financed under this call should be concrete, action oriented and carry a clear added value in terms of making a difference where rolled out.

Background

This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ which is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission. It provides financial support to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty.

Intra-EU labour mobility as facilitated by this call for proposals can help to address labour market imbalances and improve labour market's efficiency. It can contribute to improving the allocation of resources and serve as an adjustment mechanism for unbalanced labour markets whilst enabling economies to cope better with economic shocks.

Building on the work done in the past by the previous Commissions, President Ursula von der Leyen stressed in the Communication on “a Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions”, COM(2020) 14 final, of 14.01.2020, that the European Pillar of Social Rights is the European answer to improve equal opportunities and jobs for all, fair working condition, social protection and inclusion. The action, as direct expression of the principle “Active support to employment” under the chapter I, “equal opportunities and access to the labour market” of the European Pillar of Social Rights, is aimed to fulfil people’s needs, supporting and promoting the implementation of tailor-made employment services and innovative forms of work, that ensure quality working conditions, to foster the placement and integration of mobile workers in the host country(ies), combined with financial incentives.

EURES (European Employment Services) is a network formed by public and private employment services and other partner organisations. The objective of the EURES network is to facilitate the free movement of workers within the European Economic Area (EEA) (the 27 members of the European Union, plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and Switzerland, i.e. giving information and assistance to job seekers and employers on respectively the available job vacancies, job research and living and working conditions in Member States.

The legal base for EURES consist of:

  • EU rules on the freedom to work and look for a job in another EU Member State: Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union (codification OJ L 141 of 27.05.2011, p. 1);

  • An EU framework for cooperation in this area: Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets (hereafter the EURES Regulation) and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

The EURES Regulation lays down provisions aiming to improve information, guidance and assistance to employers and job seekers including for frontier workers in cross-border regions, to increase transparency of labour market information at EU level and to expand the exchange of information between Member States (resulting in better programming of EURES activities).

The Regulation defines that EURES services are delivered through two complementary channels: the EURES advisors’ network, consisting of EURES staff across the network, and the EURES portal with a number of online service tools available.

The backbone of EURES are the Members and Partners, which include Public Employment Services on national and regional level, but also social partners, universities, private employment services or other organizations that have undergone an admission procedure. They are tasked with the operational activities and they provide the network of more than 1000 EURES advisers.

  • The EURES members are service providers in the field of employment admitted by the Member States which provide the three categories of tasks, namely contribution to the pool of job vacancies, contribution to the pool of job applications and CV's and support services to workers and employers involving information, guidance and assistance. The public employment services are appointed by Member States without admission procedure;

  • The EURES partners are admitted by the Member States, and provide only some of the three tasks mentioned, for instance support services to workers and employers.

At the national level, EURES is organised by the National Coordination Offices (NCOs). At European level, the European Coordination Office (ECO), hosted by the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, and being transferred to the European Labour Authority (ELA), provides horizontal support to the NCOs.

Objectives

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The call for projects of two-year duration consists of three topics:

  • The first topic supports fair mobility for workers in cross-border regions, in particular cross-border partnerships offering comprehensive EURES services;

  • The second topic targets both EEA countries, that are part of EURES, to offer comprehensive EURES services in EEA countries or specific EURES services for workers or employers. Following the key principle "Equal opportunities and access to the labour market" of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the action aims at reaching jobseekers in EEA countries.

  • The third topic targets EU-level social partner organisations. It will support the coordination of activities of the European social partners in the EURES network.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-ECP — EURES Cross-border partnerships

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value.

Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support cross-border partnerships in implementing the objectives of the EURES Regulation, improving the functioning, cohesion and integration of the cross-border labour markets and promoting voluntary and fair geographical and occupational mobility in such regions.

The cross-border partnership must be established based on actual needs in terms of mobility flows and economic activity. In particular, it should address skills mismatches in the border region.

While cross-border partnerships are free under the EURES Regulation to define a number of specific tasks (as indicated in Article 27(2)), cross border partnerships co-financed by this call have to provide a minimum number of services.

Cross-border partnerships under this topic must support all these activities:

(1) To provide recruitment assistance through the staff of the organisations participating in the partnership to frontier jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers, for instance organizing recruitment events.

  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.

  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.

  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(2) To provide guidance and information, relevant for the area covered by the partnership, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.

  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(3) To advertise the information and services provided in line with the EURES communications strategy.

(4) To monitor placement outcomes and customer satisfaction.

(5) To contribute to the pool of job vacancies and CVs in the EURES portal, in cooperation with the NCO.

In addition, cross-border partnerships under this topic must support at least one of the following activities:

(6) To provide post-recruitment information and assistance.

(7) To gather and analyse evidence on cross-border mobility covering the current state of play and potential future developments.

(8) To develop and implement a catalogue of specific actions for raising the offer of cross-border apprenticeships and traineeships in the participating regions and to provide information, guidance and assistance to candidates interested in applying for such offers across the border.

(9) To contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights with specific actions addressing at least one of the principles under the chapter “fair working conditions”.

(10) On voluntary basis cross-border partnerships can develop activities drawing the lessons from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their cross-border regions. In particular, in the area of becoming an adviser and recognised interlocutor for public administrations and political bodies on cross-border labour market issues, the regional/national response to the pandemic, and their capacity to link between administration/politics on the one side and employers and workers on the other side.

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Monitoring

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system. The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Applicants under this specific call for proposals - ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation – are informed that the award of grants to applicants from countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) is only possible if the EEA countries have complied with Art 29 of the ESF+ Regulation that stipulates that the EaSI strand shall be open to the EEA participation by means of an agreement with the Union, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the Agreement on the European Economic Area;

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value. Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office (NCO) for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the complementary Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support the implementation of Union law on facilitating intra-EU labour mobility and the work of the EURES network in the EEA countries.

Proposals under this topic must support all these activities:

(1) To provide recruitment assistance through the EURES advisers and other staff of the EEA employment services to jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers.

  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.

  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.

  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(2) To provide guidance and information, to potential mobile jobseekers and their employers, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.

  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(3) To improve the visibility and awareness of EURES in the EEA countries and to advertise the information and services provided, in line with the EURES communications strategy.

(4) To monitor placement outcomes and customer satisfaction.

(5) To contribute to the pool of job vacancies and CVs in the EURES portal, in cooperation with the NCO.

(6) To cooperate with other EURES countries in joint projects such as recruitment events.

In addition, proposals under this topic must support at least one of the following activities:

(7) To provide new and specialised services that are not or only partially available so far, thus contributing to filling the possible gaps of services provided in the region (e.g. post-recruitment support, cross-border projects, combination of training and placement, specific services for the placement of long-term unemployed, etc.);

(8) To support the implementation of the EURES regulation and, in particular, to contribute to the EURES programming cycle and the exchange of information between Member States; to coordinate EURES activities at national level and participate in the coordination meetings of the EURES network;

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Monitoring

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system. The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-SOCP — EURES Social partners cooperation

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objectives of the call are to facilitate workers' intra-EU labour mobility, to boost employment opportunities as well as to support the implementation of the EURES Regulation.

The ultimate goal of the call is to facilitate the job matching, placement and recruitment process on a fair basis.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Measures supported under this call need to be concrete, action-oriented and with clear added value.

Applicants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth in Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the EP and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union and of Regulation (EU) No 2016/589 of the European Parliament and the Council on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013.

Applicants must comply with the rules, standards and procedures established in these documents, such as the principle to provide free services to job seekers, to provide job vacancies and CV's in accordance with the uniform system for the EURES portal and to provide information to the National Coordination Office for the programming and reporting cycle and to report on their activities through the Performance Measurement System for cross-border partnerships.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This topic shall support European social partner organisations observers in the Advisory Committee on Free Movement of Workers to inform about, coordinate and to facilitate intra-EU labour mobility among their member organisations and to ensure that those member organisations, which are also part of the EURES network, are well aligned to the objectives of EURES.

Proposals under this topic must support at least one of these activities:

(1) To improve the visibility and awareness of EURES targeted at their members, in line with the EURES communications strategy. The campaign should have the clear goal to increase the use of the services offered by the EURES portal and network

(2) To cooperate with other organisations in EURES-related activities such as recruitment events.

(3) To improve client services provided by social partner organisations to mobile and cross-border workers, bearing in mind good practices and the developments relating to admission systems for EURES Members and Partners

In addition, proposals under this topic can support any of the following activities:

(4) To organise stakeholder events relating to intra-EU labour mobility, EURES, cross-border partnerships and cooperation in this area, bringing together representatives of employers' organisations, trade unions, public and private employment services and public authorities, with a view to reporting to the Commission on data, findings and recommendations.

(5) To support exchange of best practices and mutual learning on the development of new or better services for jobseekers and employers, to be provided by social partners or other organisations in the context of chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

(6) To provide recruitment assistance through their staff to jobseekers and employers, such as:

  • Recruiting workers and attracting employers.

  • Identifying suitable job vacancies or CVs.

  • Helping to draft CV's, job applications, and job vacancies.

  • Matching CVs and vacancies.

(7) To provide guidance and information, to potential mobile jobseekers and their employers, on:

  • living and working conditions, including general information on social security, taxation, labour law and administrative procedures regarding employment.

  • apprenticeships, traineeships and access to vocational education and training.

(8) Participate in the coordination meetings of the EURES network.

Not eligible under this topic are training activities for EURES advisers and other staff of social partners, which can be covered by the EURES training programme.

Expected impact

The application must specify which category is covered by each activity proposed.

The actions should tackle the most relevant issues, as identified in the latest available data analysis.

Each activity must be linked with a results indicator and a specific target to be achieved during the action. Indicators have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

All actions need to be implemented during the duration of the grant agreement.

Specific Provisions for Monitoring for EURES

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance measurement system to which the beneficiaries under ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-ECP — EURES Cross-border partnerships and ESF-2021-EURES-CBC-EEA — EURES EEA non-EU countries cooperation, need to make available the following data:

Jobseekers information: total number of jobseekers, gender, age of jobseekers, educational attainment, status of jobseekers (PES registered or not);

Employers information: total number, size of the employers (in terms of number of employees), three most frequent NACE Sectors.

The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 10 600 000.

This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.

The Commission expects to fund around 10-15 proposals.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)

  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:

  • EU Member States

  • non-EU countries:

    • EEA countries in accordance with Article 29 of the ESF+ Regulation

For topics 1 and 3, organisations of social partners without legal personality under the applicable national law of above-mentioned countries are also eligible, provided that the conditions of the Financial Regulation related thereto are met (Article 197(2)(c) of the Financial Regulation).

In addition, in order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must fulfil the conditions of the relevant topic:

Eligible participants – Topic 1: Cross-border partnerships

To be eligible, the coordinator must be:

  • the relevant National EURES Coordination Office(s) as designated in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/589 or

  • the EURES member(s) or partner(s) of the regions involved with the endorsement of its National Coordination Office

To be eligible, other applicants must fall into one of the categories listed below:

  • EURES members or partners

  • Social partner organisations at European, national or regional level

  • Public or private employment services

  • Third sector organisations

  • other relevant actors active on the EU/EEA labour market, including European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation

When necessary for the achievement of the action’s objectives, legal entities established in non-associated countries may exceptionally participate, in principle without being financed by the Union. Therefore legal entities established in Switzerland can take part on a no cost basis in accordance with Article 27(1)(a)(iii) of the ESF+ Regulation.

Eligible participants – Topic 2: Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries

To be eligible, single applicants must be the National EURES Coordination Offices of EEA-non EU countries, in accordance with Article 29 of ESF+ Regulation.

Eligible participants – Topic 3: Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners

Applicants (single applicant or coordinator and other applicants) must be social partners, established at European level and represented in the Advisory Committee on Free Movement of Workers, i.e.:

  • The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

  • The Confederation of European Business (BUSINESSEUROPE)

  • European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEunited)

  • European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of general interest (CEEP)

In topic 1 and 3, affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

For all topics

Applicants and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners5, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc (see section 13).

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are not eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons6.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’7. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for entities without legal personality (see above) are met.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Applicants from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)8 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/059). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Consortium composition

Topic 1 (Cross-border partnerships):

Proposals must be submitted by a consortium.

Topic 2 (Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility in the EEA countries):

Only applications by single applicants are allowed (single beneficiaries).

Topic 3 (Support to cooperation on intra-EU mobility for social partners):

Actions may involve consortia.

Proposals by single applicants are allowed.

In Topic 1 and 3, affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities are the ones set out in section 2 above.

Projects must comply with EU policy interests and priorities (such as environment, social, security, industrial and trade policy, etc.)

Financial support to third parties is not allowed.

Geographic location (target countries)

Proposals must relate to the activities taking place in the eligible countries (see above).

Duration

Projects shall normally be 24 months (extensions are exceptionally possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).

Project budget

The EU grants requested under topic 1 are expected to range between EUR 300 000 and EUR 750 000 per project.

The EU grants requested under topic 2 and 3 are expected to range between EUR 50 000 and EUR 150 000 per project.

This does not preclude the submission/selection of proposal requesting other amounts.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: EURES TARGETED MOBILITY SCHEME (TMS)


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy. The aim of this axis is to strengthen EURES, a European job mobility network that provides information, guidance and recruitment/placement services to employers, jobseekers and any citizen wishing to take advantage of freedom of movement for workers. Deadline: 28 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

The Targeted Mobility Scheme shall provide support measures for young candidates aged 18-35 to find a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in a place other than his/her country of residence, enshrined in a legally binding work relationship with the employer, i.e. there must be a labour contract between the parties. Activities can include:

  • creation of partnership

  • provision of services

  • direct financial support to young jobseekers and SMEs

  • post-placement support measures

Background

This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ which is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission. It provides financial support to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty.

Building on the work done in the past by the previous Commissions, President Ursula

von der Leyen stressed in the Communication on “a Strong Social Europe for Just

Transitions”, “COM(2020) 14 final 14.01.20203, that the European Pillar of Social

Rights is the European answer to improve equal opportunities and jobs for all, fair

working condition, social protection and inclusion. In this light, this Commission

promotes professional mobility, sustaining young and old people to have access to

timely and tailor-made support, including training, to improve chances of getting a

quality job or stating a business.

In accordance with the European Pillar of Social Rights, that sets out key principles

and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets, as well as the ESF+

programme as the main EU tool for promoting employment and social inclusion, this

call for proposals is part of the purpose to build a more inclusive and sustainable

growth model, with a view to stimulating investments, creating jobs, fostering social

cohesion and fairer labour mobility; in which everyone has the right to timely and

tailor-made assistance to improve employment or self-employment prospects. This

includes the right to receive support for job search, training and re-qualification.

The action, as direct expression of the principle “Active support to employment” under

the chapter I, “equal opportunities and access to the labour market” of the European

Pillar of Social Rights, is aimed to fulfil people’s needs, supporting and promoting the

implementation of tailor-made employment services and innovative forms of work,

that ensure quality working conditions, to foster the placement and integration of

mobile workers in the host country(ies), combined with financial incentives.

Intra-EU labour mobility as promoted by this call for proposals can help to address

labour market imbalances and improve labour market's efficiency. It can contribute to

improving the allocation of resources and serve as an adjustment mechanism for

unbalanced labour markets whilst enabling economies to cope better with economic

shocks.

EURES (European Employment Services https://ec.europa.eu/eures) is a network

formed by public and private employment services and other partner organisations.

The objective of the EURES network is to facilitate the free movement of workers

within the European Economic Area (EEA) (the 27 members of the European Union,

plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and Switzerland, i.e. giving information and assistance to job seekers and employers on respectively the available job vacancies, job research and living and working conditions in Member States.

The Commission tested the ‘Your First EURES Job’ (YFEJ)5 mobility scheme during

three consecutive budget years (2011-2013) as a preparatory action. The scheme

aimed to help young EU citizens aged 18-30 to find a job, traineeship or

apprenticeship in another Member State (remunerated, minimum 6 months contract).

It also supported employers (SMEs with up to 250 employees) to find workers in

another EU country for their hard-to-fill vacancies. The scheme combined the

provision of information, recruitment, matching and placement services with EU

financial support, based on a mix of simplified cost options and reimbursement of

actual declared costs. The ex-post evaluation of the YFEJ preparatory action

pinpointed the need to upscale the scheme and improve its operational capacity for

gaining effectiveness and efficiency. As of 2014, YFEJ is continued as a Targeted

Mobility Scheme covering the EU/EFTA countries (EU 28, Norway and Iceland) and the

age group 18-35.

The examples and lessons learnt from YFEJ demonstrated the relevance of the

scheme, notably its EU added value and complementarity with EURES. Therefore,

built on the features of the YFEJ, a targeted mobility scheme “Reactivate”6 to help EU

citizens aged at least 35 to find a job, traineeship or apprenticeship opportunity in

another EU country, and to help employers find qualified workforce, was

implemented.

Both YFEJ and Reactivate were created as inclusive schemes, playing the role of

active labour measures aiming at improving access to intra-EU labour markets. The

workers and employers have an opportunity to benefit from tailor-made employment

support, acquire diversified knowledge and skills, learn new languages and strengthen

their EU citizenship values.

In 2019 and 2020 the integrated action EURES Targeted Mobility Scheme (TMS) was

implemented to ensure the continuity and further development of two intra-EU job

mobility schemes, "Your first EURES job" (YFEJ) and “Reactivate”, providing support

measures to jobseekers and enhancing EURES potential as a job-matching and job

placement tool.

Objectives (expected outcome)

The overall objective of this call for proposals is to ensure around 4 000 placements

over the duration of the action in economic sectors with hard-to-fill vacancies.

The action being strongly result-oriented, it should contribute to:

a) enhance the service catalogue of the EURES organisations;

b) foster public-private partnerships within EURES and,

c) address labour market needs;

d) improve the conditions for jobseekers and workers to exercise their right of

freedom of movement across the EU and to address labour markets' imbalances and

skills shortages.

Themes and priorities (scope)

EURES Targeted Mobility Scheme (TMS), constitutes a European labour market

activation measure, combining tailor-made recruitment, matching, training and

placement services with financial incentives. The support measures may vary

according to labour market needs but must at least include provisions for interviews

in another Member State, relocation, linguistic training as well as work and country

integration support. The end beneficiaries will be jobseekers and job changers,

trainees and apprentices as well recruiting enterprises, including SMEs. Both

individuals and enterprises may receive direct financial support in the form of

targeted allowances. Placements may, inter alia, take place in the context of regional

cross-border initiatives and/or projects dedicated to particular sector(s).

Applicant organisations are free to choose the activities, methods and tools etc. to

implement their action, on condition that they indicate separate targets for measures

offered for the young (aged from 18 to 35) and for 35+ job seekers as well as comply

with the mandatory framework for the provision of assistance and financial support to

target groups laid down in Annex “Implementing Guide”. Both age groups (group

from 18 to 35 years and group 35+ years) have to be covered in proposals submitted

under this call; placement targets need to be indicated.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

The action aims at reaching two different target groups:

  1. young people aged 18-35, and

  2. the age group above of 35+ years

in order to find a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in another EU/EEA country.

The action targets the relieving of labour market imbalances and the filling of hard-tofill

vacancies as identified in national/EU labour market studies or data sources.

The activities will cover the provision of direct services to jobseekers or job changers

and employers notably:

  • information, recruitment, matching and placement;

  • pre- and post-placement support to customers (e. g. profiling and pre-selection of candidates, language training or other training needs, mentoring support for trainees and apprentices).

  • direct financial support to jobseekers (job interview, relocation trip costs, language trainings, recognition of qualifications and diplomas) to contribute to the costs borne by them and financial support to SMEs to implement an integration programme for the newly recruited candidate(s).

The actions which may be funded under this call shall support the implementation of

the EURES TMS scheme, i.e. they will ensure the provision of customised employment

services and include innovative working methods to foster the placement and

integration of mobile workers in the host country(ies), combined with financial

incentives.

The EURES TMS scheme shall not support the return mobility of workers returning to

their country of origin.

To this end, the action supported by the projects shall have at least the six following

components:

1) Creation of a partnership, involving as much as possible different labour

market organisations dealing with specific work-integration fields and support to

jobseekers (with a special focus on the most vulnerable: unemployed, long-term

unemployed and people left behind in the labour market).

2) Testing of cooperation arrangements in the partnership between EURES

member/partner organisations and other labour market organisations, in particular

private employment services, as regards for instance the exchange of labour market

information support services to workers or employers, to promote and raise

awareness about the opportunities to gradually broaden the network in accordance

with Article 11 and 12 of the EURES Regulation 7.

3) Provision of services comprising at least labour market information and

assistance with offers and vacancies, matching these with candidates and the

preparation of the placement /recruitment in the Member States covered by the

action.

4) In the context of the services indicated under 3) above, provision of support

measures and direct financial support to both job seekers and employers (in particular

SMEs) as laid down in Annex I.

5) Development of post-placement support measures (welcome and integration

services) and other tailor-made support like coaching packs;

6) Development of services and support

Applicants shall submit proposals including quantitative targets focusing on:

  • Job placements

  • can define quantitative targets focusing on:

    • Traineeships

    • Apprenticeships

The EURES TMS basic requirements applicable to job or work-based placements are set out in relevant section of Annex I. Applicants involved in the European Alliance for

Apprenticeships10 could also explore the potential of the alliance signatory employer

organisations to offer work-based opportunities for mobile candidates.

Considering that the EURES TMS action shall support mitigation strategies in order to

address labour market imbalance (vacancy bottlenecks and shortage of labour supply)

the choice of the countries involved in the action as well as the economic sectors and

occupations in which will be given priority by the action must be based on the analysis

of the labour market situation and on the identification of labour shortages and

surpluses in the Member States. The sources of evidence and the basis for this choice

must be explained in the proposal (‘Description of the action’ document).

Role of applicants and other organisations

The coordinator should ensure that the action covers the overall objectives and

activities set out in this call of proposal, in compliance with Annex “Implementing

guide. Other applicants may be responsible for similar or complementary services

only.

Applicant organisations should also be ready to provide information and support to

nationals from other EU EFTA/EEA countries with no services or other facilities

involved in this action.

Expected impact

The actions will be quality-oriented and outcome-driven, i.e. they must offer quality

work opportunities and employment services with a view to enhance the skills and

employability of job/traineeship/apprenticeship seekers.

Applicants are free to choose the methods, tools, etc. to implement the action,

provided they comply with the EURES TMS Implementing Guide (Annex I). The overall

objective of the 2021 call is to grant 3 to 4 projects to ensure around 4000

(indicative)12 placements13 for mobile candidates in the EU EFTA/EEA countries,

other than their country of residence, as laid down under chapter 2 Objectives.

Proposals submitted under this call shall clearly indicate the expected outcome in the

area of placement (jobs, traineeships and/or apprenticeships), labour market

integration services and individual support and/or training measures, with a separate

target for the 18-35 and 35+ age groups. This information will be included in the

"Description of the action" document. The expected outcome must be quantified

according to the relevant economic sectors and type of placement.

Specific Provisions for Monitoring for EURES

The European Commission will monitor the action through the EURES performance

measurement system to which the beneficiaries need to make available the following

data:

Jobseekers information: total number of jobseekers, gender, age of jobseekers,

educational attainment, status of jobseekers (PES registered or not);

Employers information: total number, size of the employers (in terms of number of

employees), three most frequent NACE Sectors.

The reporting of the co-financed activities must contribute, wherever appropriate, to

the exchange of information between Member States and to the EURES programming

cycle in accordance with chapter V of the EURES Regulation.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries must foresee the necessary funding for

monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 13.871.656,84.

This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.

The Commission expects to fund 3 - 4 proposals.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute

them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results

of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the coordinators (lead applicants) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)

  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:

    • EU Member States

  • be EURES National Coordination Offices, EURES members or EURES partners which are placed in organisations whose main mission is to ensure the provision of employment and placement services to jobseekers, job changers, trainee/apprentice candidates and employers covering jobs and/or work-based trainings. Those services must include information, recruitment, matching and pre- and post-placement support.

In order to be eligible, other applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)

  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:

    • EU Member States

    • non-EU countries:

      • EEA countries in accordance with Article 29 of the ESF+ Regulation.

  • be EURES member organisations (i.e. National Coordination Offices, EURES Members and Partners),

  • be public or private labour market actors (including the third sector) providing the same services as lead applicants and/or complementary customer-oriented services in other expertise fields, such as information, training, education, career guidance, mentoring, legal advice, integration support or other equivalent. Affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

When necessary for the achievement of the action’s objectives, legal entities

established in non-associated countries may exceptionally participate, in principle

without being financed by the Union. Therefore legal entities established in

Switzerland can take part on a no cost basis in accordance with Article 27(1)(a)(iii) of

the ESF+ Regulation

Only consortia are eligible. They must be composed of a minimum of two EURES

Member/Partner organisations established in at least two different EU Member States.

The consortium must demonstrate that the proposed activities are fully carried out in

at least five EU Member States or EEA countries, in accordance with art 29 of the

ESF+ Regulation.

Applicants and affiliated entities15 must register in the Participant Register — before

submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation

Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload

documents showing legal status and origin.

Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated

partners16, (see section 13).

Specific cases

Exceptional funding — Entities from ESF+ countries mentioned in the work

programme (if any) are only exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers

their participation essential for the implementation of the action. Natural persons are

NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the

company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are not eligible. The rules on

eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under

their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives

have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees

for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal

persons.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint

Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Eligible countries as defined above in the present section currently negotiating

association agreements — Applicants from the aforementioned countries with ongoing

negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the

negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided

in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject

to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union

(TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)18 and entities

covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0519). Such entities are not eligible

to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated

partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Consortium composition

Only consortia are eligible. They must be composed of a minimum of two EURES

Member/Partner organisations established in at least two different EU Member States.

The consortium must demonstrate that the proposed activities are fully carried out in at least five EU Member States or EEA countries, in accordance with art 29 of the

ESF+ Regulation.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities are the ones set out in section 2 above “Activities that can be funded

(scope)”.

Projects must comply with EU policy interests and priorities (such as environment,

social, security, industrial and trade policy, etc.)

Financial support to third parties is allowed for grants under the following conditions:

  • the calls must be open, published widely and conform to EU standards concerning transparency, equal treatment, conflict of interest and confidentiality

  • the outcome of the call must be published on the participants’ websites, including a description of the selected projects, award dates, project durations, and final recipient legal names and countries

  • Financial support to third parties as defined in art. 204 of the EU Financial Regulationis eligible under this call provided that the overall amount allocated to this type of support does not exceed EUR 30 000 per third party.

  • In such cases, the applications must include an exhaustive list of the types of activities for which a third party may receive financial support

For further details on the rules and ceilings governing financial support to third parties

(i.e. job/traineeship/apprenticeship seekers and employers), please refer to Annex I

“Implementing Guide”.

Geographic location (target countries)

The Consortia shall demonstrate that the proposed activities are fully carried out in at

least five EU Member States or EEA participating countries and ensure the

implementation of the action in at least five different eligible countries (see section

above “6. Eligibility”).

Duration

The duration of the project shall normally be 24 months (extensions will be possible

only exceptionally, for duly justified reasons and through an amendment).

The EU grant requested should indicatively be between EUR 2,000,000 and

4,000,000.This does not preclude the submission/selection of proposal requesting

other amounts.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: Framework Partnership agreements to support networks active in the areas of social enterprise finance and microfinance


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy. The call aims at setting up 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements with networks active in the areas of microfinance and social enterprise finance, for the period 2022-2025. The activities to be funded include, among others, outreach activities, mutual learning among members, research activities and input for policy design. Deadline: 28 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

This is a call for proposals for an EU framework partnership agreement for grants in the field of microfinance and social enterprise finance under the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).

Operating grants provide general financial support to organisations whose statutory activities serve the strategic objectives of EU policies (mainly non-profit organisations, voluntary associations, foundations, NGOs or similar). They do not support a specific project (like action grants), but the annual operating budget of the organisation (or part of it). Operating grants are always mono-beneficiary grants supporting the work programme of activities of only one organisation. They follow the same rules for the grant agreements as action grants, but do not differentiate between direct and indirect costs. Receiving an operating grant may however have an impact on the possibility to receive the indirect costs flat-rate in EU action grants (see AGA — Annotated Grant Agreement, art 6.2.E).

Framework partnerships (FPAs) are long-term cooperation instruments that serve as an umbrella for regular or recurrent grants in the same field or area and under a common action plan (or work programme of activities). They are a prerequisite for being able to apply for these grants, but don’t create any legitimate expectations or entitlement to get them. FPA beneficiaries are normally identified on the basis of a standard evaluation and award procedure and then invited to submit their proposals for grants (closed calls; addressed directly to the framework partners). Please note that for the first year, the FPA and SGA applications are submitted in parallel due to time constraints. You must first complete the FPA application, and then use the FPA application number in the SGA application. Grant agreements (SGAs) can only be signed if the FPA has been signed, and before the end date of the FPA.

Background

This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+, which provides financial support to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty. The overall political priority underpinning the activities under the EaSI strand of the ESF+ Programme is the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Entrepreneurship and self-employment help to create jobs, develop skills and give unemployed and vulnerable people an opportunity to fully participate in society and the economy. In addition, social enterprises and social economy organisations - thanks to their governance or social mission - are instrumental in the implementation of many of the rights and principles expressed in the European Pillar for Social Rights. Microenterprises, social economy organisations and social enterprises can contribute towards achieving the specific objectives of the ESF+3 and they make an important contribution to “an economy that works for people” indicated in the Political Guidelines of the current Commission.

In line with the objectives of the EaSI strand, this call will support networking at Union level with and among relevant stakeholders and contribute to building up the institutional capacity of microfinance and social enterprise finance institutions. The call will also support the development of a market ecosystem for microfinance and the emergence of social investment markets.

For this purpose, this call aims to set up 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements with EU-level networks active in the areas of microfinance and social enterprise finance. Networks active in these areas are key in supporting financial intermediaries and/or organisations providing non-financial support (e.g. investment readiness, incubation or acceleration services) to microenterprises and/or social enterprises. They are well placed to act as multipliers and disseminate information about EU initiatives and funding at national and local levels, as well as to inform EU policy making about the challenges and expectations of their members.

2. Objectives — Themes and priorities — Activities that can be funded — Expected impact

Objectives (expected outcome)

The activities of the applicant should contribute to the following main objectives:

  • Support the Commission in its outreach activities and its mission at EU, national and local levels, in order to increase awareness about, and enable the implementation of, EU policies and funding in the area covered by the call.

  • Reinforce the capacity of the network's members, including through offering a platform for the exchange of good practices, and raising their awareness about relevant EU policies.

  • Provide input for policy design and implementation in the area of the call, by voicing the concerns and expectations of social enterprises, microenterprises and their support organisations/ financial intermediaries in the various European countries.

  • Provide data / research on developments in the field of microfinance or social enterprise finance, which can serve as input for evidence-based policy making at EU, national and local levels. The focus can be put on broad overviews as well as on specific niche topics related to the field.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Themes: Framework partners should be active in enabling access to finance and the provision of business development support for enterprises and microenterprises. This includes raising awareness about all funding opportunities relevant for these entitites at EU level. Together with this, they can also work on complementary activities aimed at building an enabling environment in which social economy organisastions, social enterprises, microenterprises and their intermediaries can operate (e.g. improving understanding of these business models and their needs among private and public finance providers at all levels, including in the context of the COVID crisis, improving the policy environment, access to procurement and grants, education and skills) and niche topics with close links to social enterprise finance and microfinance (e.g. improving research on social taxonomy). Such complementary activities should remain closely connected to the objective to facilitate access to finance.

Priorities: In the period covered by the framework agreements the priority of the Commission will be on implementing the actions announced in the upcoming European action plan for the social economy. In the area of access to finance, the focus will be on designing and launching financial instruments and measures for microfinance, social economy and social enterprise finance under the Social Investment and Skills window of the InvestEU Programme and on ESF+ actions implemented at EU level). Another important aspect will be that of raising awarenss about EU funding at national/regional (in particular ESF+) among social economy stakeholders and microentrepreneurs, and improving their access to this funding. Social and inclusive entrepreneruship may have openings in other EU level initiatives (e.g. the Youth Employment Support Initiative, the Circular Economy Action plan, the Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion, the Recovery Plan, the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans) and funding programmes (e.g. other InvestEU products, Erasmus+, Horizon Europe, European Regional Development Fund).

Applicants are expected to support the Commission with the implementation of actions and further policy design in these areas.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This call will support networks at EU level whose activities contribute to the implementation of the above-mentioned objectives, priorities and initiatives.

The types of activities which may be funded under this call for proposals include:

  • Analytical activities, such as (i) the collection of data and statistics, the development of common methodologies and, where appropriate, policy analyses and recommendations; (ii) the monitoring and assessment of relevant legislation, policies and practices; (iii) studies, researches, analyses and surveys;

  • Capacity building activities, such as trainings, workshops, seminars, train-the-trainer events and the development of training modules and online training tools;

  • Actions aiming at the creation and improving of networks, mutual learning, cooperation, awareness-raising and dissemination activities, such as (i) the identification of, and exchanges on, good practices, innovative approaches and experiences; (ii) the organisation of peer reviews and mutual learning; (iii) the organisation of conferences, seminars, media campaigns, information campaigns; (iv) the compilation and publication of materials to disseminate information about the EU initiatives and their results; (v) regular information on EU initiatives and funding (e.g. newsletters and mailings); (vi) the development, operation and maintenance of systems and tools using information and communication technologies, development of web pages or a helpdesk for members and stakeholders.

Activities should be geared towards:

  • Contributing to evidence-based regulation, policies and reforms at EU/national/local level and provide the Commission with input for policy design, e.g. by gathering relevant evidence (especially from local levels) and by contributing to ad-hoc public or targeted consultations, to thematic strategic dialogue meetings and exchanges with Commission services;

  • Raising awareness and disseminating information on social enterprise finance and microfinance at EU and national levels including good practices and mapping out existing gaps;

  • Building capacity of national members to actively engage them in developing national and local microfinance and social enterprise finance markets;

  • Reinforcing cooperation with other EU level networks, with and between national stakeholders, as well as national, regional and local authorities.

Activities should also enable the networks to integrate cross-cutting issues (e.g. gender, disability, non-discrimination) in their day-to-day work.

Applicants are encouraged to optimise the use of online/offline activities taking into account the objectives of each activity, as well as environmental and health considerations. Possibilities offered by online activities to maximise impact should be utilised whenever possible (e.g. publically available recorded webinars).

The annual operating grants that could be granted based on these FPAs would finance the expenditure linked to the activities of these networks, insofar as they are in line with the objectives of the Programme in the area concerned and with the annual priorities that may be established by the Commission. The costs of general administrative expenditure necessary for the running of these organisations may also be covered.

Expected impact

The Commission expects networks to design and implement relevant, quality and impactful work programmes that fit the objectives and priorities defined in the call. The work plan should clearly demonstrate the organisation's capacity to generate concrete impacts.

Applicants are invited to:

  • Provide clear descriptions of the main activities and implementation methodology;

  • Describe the contribution and added value of the programme to the EU policy in the area of this call;

  • Describe their monitoring system and the way in which they use monitoring and external evaluations in order to assess their overall performance and the relevance and impact of their outputs.

In particular, the expected impact is:

  • Improved awareness about EU policies and funding for social economy, social enterprises and microenterprises among the network’s members and other relevant stakeholders;

  • Increased awareness of EU and national authorities about the needs and potential of organisations represented by the networks;

  • Increased capacity of the networks and their members to support policy making in their respective areas;

  • Enhanced research and availability of data about the fields in which the networks operate.

Available budget

The total budget earmarked for grants calls under this framework partnership call for the four year period is indicatively EUR 6 400 000.

Depending on the number and quality of proposals, the Commission expects to sign between four and five framework partnerships.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies),

  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:

  • EU Member State (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))

  • non-EU countries:

    • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the ESF+ or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature,

  • be non-governmental, non-profit-making, and independent of industry, commercial and business or other conflicting interests,

  • have their mission falling under the objectives and scope of the priorities established under each relevant section of the call for proposals,

  • have national member organisations in at least fourteen (14) Member States of the European Union,

  • be mandated by their members, through a Management Board or other administrative forum, to represent these members at the EU level and to be responsible for the activities of the network.

Beneficiaries must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are NOT eligible.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’5. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for entities without legal personality (see above) are met.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)6 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/057). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: Specific Grant Agreement under FPA: Operating grants to support networks active in the areas of social enterprise finance and microfinance


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy. The call aims to provide specific operating grants for 2022 to the organisations that will sign a 4-year Framework Partnership Agreement, i.e. networks active in the areas of microfinance and social enterprise finance. Deadline: 30 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview Operating grants provide general financial support to organisations whose statutory activities serve the strategic objectives of EU policies (mainly non-profit organisations, voluntary associations, foundations, NGOs or similar). They do not support a specific project (like action grants), but the annual operating budget of the organisation (or part of it). Operating grants are always mono-beneficiary grants supporting the work programme of activities of only one organisation. They follow the same rules for the grant agreements as action grants, but do not differentiate between direct and indirect costs. Receiving an operating grant may however have an impact on the possibility to receive the indirect costs flat-rate in EU action grants (see AGA — Annotated Grant Agreement, art 6.2.E). This call is open only to organisations having submitted a proposal under the call for proposals ESF-2021-OG-NETW-MF-SE-FPA (Framework partnership agreements to support networks active in the areas of social enterprise finance and microfinance). Please note that for the first year, the FPA and SGA applications are submitted in parallel due to time constraints. You must first complete the FPA application, and then use the FPA application number in the SGA application. Grant agreements (SGAs) can only be signed if the FPA has been signed, and before the end date of the FPA. Background

This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+, which provides financial support to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty. The overall political priority underpinning the activities under the EaSI strand of the ESF+ Programme is the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Entrepreneurship and self-employment help to create jobs, develop skills and give unemployed and vulnerable people an opportunity to fully participate in society and the economy. In addition, social enterprises and social economy organisations - thanks to their governance or social mission - are instrumental in the implementation of many of the rights and principles expressed in the European Pillar for Social Rights. Microenterprises, social economy organisations and social enterprises can contribute towards achieving the specific objectives of the ESF+3 and they make an important contribution to “an economy that works for people” indicated in the Political Guidelines of the current Commission.

In line with the objectives of the EaSI strand, this call will support networking at Union level with and among relevant stakeholders and contribute to building up the institutional capacity of microfinance and social enterprise finance institutions. The call will also support the development of a market ecosystem for microfinance and the emergence of social investment markets.

For this purpose, this call aims to set up 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements with EU-level networks active in the areas of microfinance and social enterprise finance. Networks active in these areas are key in supporting financial intermediaries and/or organisations providing non-financial support (e.g. investment readiness, incubation or acceleration services) to microenterprises and/or social enterprises. They are well placed to act as multipliers and disseminate information about EU initiatives and funding at national and local levels, as well as to inform EU policy making about the challenges and expectations of their members.

2. Objectives — Themes and priorities — Activities that can be funded

Objectives (expected outcome)

The activities of the applicant should contribute to the following main objectives:

  • Support the Commission in its outreach activities and its mission at EU, national and local levels, in order to increase awareness about, and enable the implementation of, EU policies and funding in the area covered by the call.
  • Reinforce the capacity of the network's members, including through offering a platform for the exchange of good practices, and raising their awareness about relevant EU policies.
  • Provide input for policy design and implementation in the area of the call, by voicing the concerns and expectations of social enterprises, microenterprises and their support organisations/ financial intermediaries in the various European countries.
  • Provide data / research on developments in the field of microfinance or social enterprise finance, which can serve as input for evidence-based policy making at EU, national and local levels. The focus can be put on broad overviews as well as on specific niche topics related to the field.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Themes: Framework partners should be active in enabling access to finance and the provision of business development support for enterprises and microenterprises. This includes raising awareness about all funding opportunities relevant for these entitites at EU level. Together with this, they can also work on complementary activities aimed at building an enabling environment in which social economy organisastions, social enterprises, microenterprises and their intermediaries can operate (e.g. improving understanding of these business models and their needs among private and public finance providers at all levels, including in the context of the COVID crisis, improving the policy environment, access to procurement and grants, education and skills) and niche topics with close links to social enterprise finance and microfinance (e.g. improving research on social taxonomy). Such complementary activities should remain closely connected to the objective to facilitate access to finance.

Priorities: In the period covered by the framework agreements the priority of the Commission will be on implementing the actions announced in the upcoming European action plan for the social economy. In the area of access to finance, the focus will be on designing and launching financial instruments and measures for microfinance, social economy and social enterprise finance under the Social Investment and Skills window of the InvestEU Programme and on ESF+ actions implemented at EU level). Another important aspect will be that of raising awarenss about EU funding at national/regional (in particular ESF+) among social economy stakeholders and microentrepreneurs, and improving their access to this funding. Social and inclusive entrepreneruship may have openings in other EU level initiatives (e.g. the Youth Employment Support Initiative, the Circular Economy Action plan, the Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion, the Recovery Plan, the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans) and funding programmes (e.g. other InvestEU products, Erasmus+, Horizon Europe, European Regional Development Fund).

Applicants are expected to support the Commission with the implementation of actions and further policy design in these areas.

The 2022 work programmes should directly and concretely support the implementation and awareness-raising of the upcoming European social economy action plan) and of other EU policy initiatives that are relevant to the core mission of the applicant.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This call will support networks at EU level whose activities contribute to the implementation of the above-mentioned objectives, priorities and initiatives.

The types of activities which may be funded under this call for proposals include:

  • Analytical activities, such as (i) the collection of data and statistics, the development of common methodologies and, where appropriate, policy analyses and recommendations; (ii) the monitoring and assessment of relevant legislation, policies and practices; (iii) studies, researches, analyses and surveys;
  • Capacity building activities, such as trainings, workshops, seminars, train-the-trainer events and the development of training modules and online training tools;
  • Actions aiming at the creation and improving of networks, mutual learning, cooperation, awareness-raising and dissemination activities, such as (i) the identification of, and exchanges on, good practices, innovative approaches and experiences; (ii) the organisation of peer reviews and mutual learning; (iii) the organisation of conferences, seminars, media campaigns, information campaigns; (iv) the compilation and publication of materials to disseminate information about the EU initiatives and their results; (v) regular information on EU initiatives and funding (e.g. newsletters and mailings); (vi) the development, operation and maintenance of systems and tools using information and communication technologies, development of web pages or a helpdesk for members and stakeholders.

Activities should be geared towards:

  • Contributing to evidence-based regulation, policies and reforms at EU/national/local level and provide the Commission with input for policy design, e.g. by gathering relevant evidence (especially from local levels) and by contributing to ad-hoc public or targeted consultations, to thematic strategic dialogue meetings and exchanges with Commission services;
  • Raising awareness and disseminating information on social enterprise finance and microfinance at EU and national levels including good practices and mapping out existing gaps;
  • Building capacity of national members to actively engage them in developing national and local microfinance and social enterprise finance markets;
  • Reinforcing cooperation with other EU level networks, with and between national stakeholders, as well as national, regional and local authorities.

Activities should also enable the networks to integrate cross-cutting issues (e.g. gender, disability, non-discrimination) in their day-to-day work.

Applicants are encouraged to optimise the use of online/offline activities taking into account the objectives of each activity, as well as environmental and health considerations. Possibilities offered by online activities to maximise impact should be utilised whenever possible (e.g. publically available recorded webinars).

The annual operating grants that could be granted based on these FPAs would finance the expenditure linked to the activities of these networks, insofar as they are in line with the objectives of the Programme in the area concerned and with the annual priorities that may be established by the Commission. The costs of general administrative expenditure necessary for the running of these organisations may also be covered.

Expected impact

The Commission expects networks to design and implement relevant, quality and impactful work programmes that fit the objectives and priorities defined in the call. The work plan should clearly demonstrate the organisation's capacity to generate concrete impacts.

Applicants are invited to:

  • Provide clear descriptions of the main activities and implementation methodology;
  • Describe the contribution and added value of the programme to the EU policy in the area of this call;
  • Describe their monitoring system and the way in which they use monitoring and external evaluations in order to assess their overall performance and the relevance and impact of their outputs.

In particular, the expected impact is:

  • Improved awareness about EU policies and funding for social economy, social enterprises and microenterprises among the network’s members and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Increased awareness of EU and national authorities about the needs and potential of organisations represented by the networks;
  • Increased capacity of the networks and their members to support policy making in their respective areas;
  • Enhanced research and availability of data about the fields in which the networks operate.

3. Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 1 600 000.

This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.

The Commission expects to fund between four and five proposals.

We reserve the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies),
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member State (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs)),
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the ESF+ or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature,
  • be non-governmental, non-profit-making, and independent of industry, commercial and business or other conflicting interests,
  • have their mission falling under the objectives and scope of the priorities established under each relevant section of the call for proposals,
  • have national member organisations in at least fourteen (14) Member States of the European Union,
  • be mandated by their members, through a Management Board or other administrative forum, to represent these members at the EU level and to be responsible for the activities of the network.

Beneficiaries must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are NOT eligible.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’5. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for entities without legal personality (see above) are met.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/057). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment.

Consortium composition

Only applications by single applicants are allowed.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: Posting of workers - Enhancing administrative cooperation and access to information


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy.

This call intends to support the Commission and the Member States to understand existing and new challenges and develop initiatives in the field of posting of workers and a decent work agenda.

Deadline: 30 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

The specific objectives of this call are the following:

a) To promote transnational cooperation among public authorities and stakeholders, including the promotion of the use of IMI and sharing experiences and good practices in this respect;

b) To increase the accessibility, transparency and quality of the information concerning the terms and conditions of employment to be respected and the existing practices in the Member States to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Posting of Workers Directive;

c) To promote the evidence basis through the collection and evaluation of original data, and the analysis specific to the posting process and posted workers' working conditions, including through the collaboration between universities across various disciplines, research centres and institutes and stakeholders, in particular social partners.

Background

This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation

("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ which is a European-level financing instrument

managed directly by the European Commission. It provides financial support to

achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient

workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive

societies aiming to eradicate poverty.

The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is the main financial instrument strengthening

Europe’s social dimension, by putting the principles of the European Pillar of Social

Rights into practice. It targets employment, labour mobility, social inclusion and skills.

ESF+ supports EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social

protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for

the transition to a green and digital economy. The ESF+ budget is €87.9 billion for

the period 2021 – 2027 out of €676 million for the Employment and Social Innovation

(EaSI) strand.

EaSI supports analytical activities (surveys, studies, statistical data, methodologies,

classifications, micro-simulations, indicators, support to European-level observatories

and benchmarks) to promote evidence-based policy making in the areas of

employment and social policy.

EaSI also supports the testing of social experimentations and innovative solutions

with the aim to transfer and upscale these good practices. Under EaSI, stakeholders

can benefit from networking and capacity-building activities in transnational

cooperation. The strand supports civil society, administrations, social security

institutions and employment services, as well as microfinance institutions and

institutions providing finance to social enterprises or other social investment actors.

To counter labour market shortcomings and develop an integrated EU labour market,

it finances as well communication and dissemination activities, notably mutual

learning through exchange of practices, innovative approaches, peer reviews, and

benchmarking, but also events guides, reports, informative material and media

coverage.

2. Objectives — Themes and priorities — Activities that can be funded —

Expected impact

Objectives (expected outcome)

The European Pillar of Social Rights has set out key principles and rights for a

renewed process of upward convergence towards i.e. fair working conditions in

particular in the areas of secure and adaptable employment, wages, information

about employment conditions and protection in case of dismissals, social dialogue and

involvement of workers, etc. The general objective of this call for proposals is

therefore contributing to the implementation of the key principles of the pillar in the

area of posting of workers, i.e to fund initiatives in order to enhance the

implementation and correct application of the Directive 96/71/EC and the Amending

Directive (EU) 2018/957, (Directive (EU) 2018/957 of the European Parliament and of

the Council of 28 June 2018 amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of

workers in the framework of the provision of services https://eurlex.

europa.eu/eli/dir/2018/957/oj) as well as the implementation of the Enforcement

Directive 2014/67/EU, (Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the

Council of 15 May 2014 on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the

posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending

Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal

Market Information System (‘the IMI Regulation’) https://eurlex.

europa.eu/eli/dir/2014/67/oj).

The specific objectives of this call are the following:

a) To promote transnational cooperation among public authorities and stakeholders,

including the promotion of the use of IMI (https://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/iminet/

index_en.htm ) and sharing experiences and good practices in this respect;

b) To increase the accessibility, transparency and quality of the information

concerning the terms and conditions of employment to be respected and the existing

practices in the Member States to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Posting of

Workers Directive;

c) To promote the evidence basis through the collection and evaluation of original

data, and the analysis specific to the posting process and posted workers' working

conditions, including through the collaboration between universities across various

disciplines, research centres and institutes and stakeholders, in particular social

partners.

Themes and priorities (scope)

The call intends to support the Commission and the Member States to understand

existing and new challenges and develop initiatives in the field of posting of workers

and a decent work agenda. The proper functioning of administrative cooperation

between Member States and improved access to information on applicable terms and

conditions of employment and administrative requirements for companies in a

transparent and accessible manner, are essential for the correct application,

implementation and enforcement of the Directives.

In order to achieve the objective, it is intended with this call for proposals to fund

transnational cooperation initiatives aiming at developing autonomous and concrete

initiatives by the relevant stakeholders involved in the context of posting with a

significant and lasting impact on workers, companies and administrations.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

The following activities may be co-financed:

a) Cooperation: developing new or improving existing exchanges, peer reviews and/or

training programmes (for example joint visits, joint inspections, short training

actions) between officials of competent public authorities and/or between relevant

social partners and stakeholders in the contexts of monitoring the compliance with

and enforcement of the applicable rules in relation to posted workers, and/or of

administrative cooperation and mutual assistance, including the use of the Internal

Market Information System (IMI).

b) Information: developing and improving different information and/or advisory forms

and formats for the collection and dissemination of quality, user-friendly, and specific

information targeted at workers and/or undertakings with respect to the working

conditions applicable to posted workers, the procedures and conditions to be

respected by undertakings in different Member States, and other relevant information

for the posting of workers in the context of the provision of cross-border services.

c) Evidence: development of joint research projects on different dimensions of the

posting of workers in the context of the transnational provision of services and

dissemination of results through targeted publication strategies, both in the scientific

domain as well as in the specialised and general press.

The three type of actions are mutually exclusive.

Applications should focus on one of the above-mentioned three strands in their

proposal.

Expected impact

The scope of this Call is to support actions that bear a lasting impact on national

administrations, companies and/or workers, beyond the duration of the action. In

order to cater for a more significant impact of the actions, the composition of the

network will be carefully evaluated. In particular, priority will be given to projects

based on consortia with one or more of the following characteristics: (a) involving a

balanced and justified distribution of partners established in sending and receiving

countries in the context of a specific flow of posted workers; (b) enabling a sectorspecific

focus of the action.

For the different types of activities as outlined above, the following minimum

requirements in terms of composition of the consortia and representation of different

types of organisations shall apply:

a) Participation of both social partners (worker and employers’ organisations) and

competent public authorities with focus on enforcement authorities regarding

the specific objective of promoting “cooperation”;

b) Participation of both social partners (worker and employers’ organisations) and

competent public authorities, or research institutes and social partners and/or

other stakeholders and/or public authorities regarding the specific objective of

increasing the accessibility, transparency and quality of the information

concerning the terms and conditions of employment;

c) Participation of research institutes in the consortium regarding the specific

objective of promoting the evidence basis through the collection and evaluation of original data, and the analysis specific to the posting process and

posted workers' working conditions

Moreover, in light of the newly established European Labour Authority, and in order to

cater for a lasting impact of the action, the projects are expected to deliver outputs

that ensure either the sustainability of the same action by the partners in the project

or its potential transferability to other Member States or organisations, including the

European Labour Authority in the future.

The proposals must therefore include: a) a (set of) tangible deliverables to be

produced as the final output of the action (e.g. information fiches, reports, a website)

that are suitable for sustained use, transferability or as a continued learning resource;

and b) a plan for communication and dissemination of the projects' results specifying

the targeted audience that will follow up and / or use these deliverables beyond the

duration of the action.

At final report stage, the awarded applicants will be required to provide details about

the deliverables produced, including links to the website (if any), copies of the

information, research, report material, topics discussed during meetings, about how

and to whom the results, best practices and findings have been disseminated, about

and how interested parties have been involved in the project.

3. Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 2.400.000.

This budget might be increased by a maximum of 20%

The Commission expects to fund between 5 and 8 proposals.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute

them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results

of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • for coordinators
    • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
    • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
      • EU Member States
      • non-EU countries:
        • EEA countries, according to Article 29 of the ESF+ Regulation.
  • for other applicants:
    • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
    • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
      • EU Member States
      • non-EU countries:
        • EEA countries, candidate countries and potential candidates ((P)CC) in accordance with the Article 29 of the ESF+ Regulation.
  • Coordinators, other applicants and affiliated entities must fall in one of the following categories:
    • public authorities;
    • international organisations (with registred headquarters both inside and outside of eligible countries of the call);
    • non-profit organisations (private or public);
    • research centres/institutes;
    • higher education establishments;
    • civil society organisations; or
    • social partner organisations at European, national or regional level (in application of Article 197(2)(c) of the Financial Regulation, social partner organisations without legal personality are also eligible provided that the conditions of the Financial Regulation related thereto are met)
  • When necessary for the achievement of the action’s objectives, legal entities established in non-associated countries may exceptionally participate, in principle without being financed by the Union. Therefore legal entities established in Switzerland can take part on a no cost basis in accordance with Article 27(1)(a)(iii) of the ESF+ Regulation

Applicants and affiliated5 entities must register in the Participant Register — before

submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation

Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload

documents showing legal status and origin.

Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated6 partners,

subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc (see section 13).

Specific cases

Exceptional funding — Entities from countries mentioned in the work programme (if

any) are only exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their

participation essential for the implementation of the action.

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of selfemployed

persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal

personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on

eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under

their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives

have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees

for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal

persons7.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint

Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate

as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’8. Please note that

if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either

as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner

organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see

List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner

organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in

the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner

organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for

entities without legal personality (see above) are met.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Applicants from countries

with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign

grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive

effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject

to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union

(TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)9 and entities

covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0510). Such entities are not eligible

to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated

partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment

and Financial Capacity Assessment.

Consortium composition

Only consortia are eligible. They must be composed of a minimum of three entities

established and registred in at least three different EU Member States.

Affiliated entities can take part in the consortium. They must satisfy the eligibility

criteria as all applicants.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: Framework partnership agreements to support EU level Social NGO Networks


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy.

The call aims at setting up 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements (FPA) with networks active in the area of social inclusion for the period 2022-2025.

Deadline: 28 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

This is a call for proposals for EU framework partnership agreement (FPA) for grants in the field of social inclusion under the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) for the period 2022-2025.

This FPA will accommodate annual operating grants for the mentioned period; applicants must provide a high-level 4-year outline plan and budget for the period of 2022-2025. Please note that the FPA may also be used for other specific (e.g. action) grants should the needs arise during the period.

Framework partnerships (FPAs) are long-term cooperation instruments that serve as umbrella for regular or recurrent grants in the same field or area and under a common action plan (or work programme of activities). They are a prerequisite for being able to apply for these grants, but don’t create any legitimate expectations or entitlement to get them. FPA beneficiaries are normally identified on the basis of a standard evaluation and award procedure and then invited to submit their proposals for grants (closed calls; addressed directly to the framework partners). Please note that for the first year, the FPA and grant agreement (SGA) applications (call ESF-2021-OG-NETW-NGO-SGA) are to be submitted in parallel due to time constraints. You must first complete the FPA application, and then use the FPA application number in the SGA application. SGAs can only be signed if the FPA has been signed, and before the end date of the FPA.

1. Background

The Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ provides funding to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty.

In line with the operational objectives of the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) strand, this call will support networking at Union level and dialogue with and among relevant stakeholders in the policy areas of employment and social inclusion3 and build up the institutional capacity of these stakeholders to contribute actively to the development and implementation of all relevant policies.

This call aims to set up 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements with EU-level networks and organisations whose activities contribute to the implementation of the programme's objectives and which will implement among others: analytical activities, training and capacity building activities, mutual learning and exchange of good practices, awareness raising, information and dissemination activities with EU added value.

The parallel call, “ESF-2021-OG-NETW-NGO-SGA”, aims to award Specific Grant Agreement (SGA) for the year 2022 under this FPA.

2. Objectives — Themes and priorities — Activities that can be funded — Expected impact

Objectives

- Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty by providing financial support to EU-level networks of civil society organisations active in this area at local, regional, national and transnational level. It will thereby contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its Action Plan, ensuring just transitions, protecting livelihoods, boosting employment, reducing poverty and inequalities and creating opportunities for all;

- Supporting the EU policy initiatives proposed by the Commission to put the pillar's principles into practice. The Action Plan contains proposals for initiatives in the respective fields of the 20 principles (e.g. support to children, minimum income, access to essential services, combatting homelessness, quality and affordable long-term care, access to healthcare, social economy). Progress in turning the principles of the pillar into action will be monitored through the European Semester;

- Delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights is a shared responsibility of the EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society. Civil society organisations are expected to:

(i) support the implementation of the Pillar at EU, national and local level notably by collecting and exchanging data and good practices and cooperating with public authorities in the design and implementation of relevant policies;

(ii) organise communication and engagement activities to raise awareness of the Pillar and promote social rights in Europe;

- The ultimate goal is to build a stronger social Europe: modernise and strengthen the welfare states to protect people, combat poverty and inequalities, and to face the green, digital and demographic transitions.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Framework partners should be active in fostering social inclusion and combating poverty.

Networks are expected to implement work programmes that:

  • contribute concretely and directly to the implementation of the EPSR principles and related initiatives that are relevant to their statutory aim, with a particular focus on national and local level;
  • organise communication and engagement activities to raise awareness of the EPSR and promote social rights in Europe;
  • strengthen the capacity of national member organisations to enable them to actively contribute to the EPSR implementation;
  • provide concrete support to the European Semester process (at EU and national levels, including through the recovery and resilience plans).

The annual operating grants that will be signed based on these framework partnership agreements will increase the capacities of these networks of civil society organisations active at EU level to contribute actively to the development and implementation of EU policies in these areas.

Important to note:

  • the inclusion of persons with disabilities (principle 17) should be mainstreamed across all activities. However, networks that are mainly active in the area of disability should apply to the parallel calls for proposals funded by the programme Citizens, Equality, Rights and Value (CERV-2021-DISA-OG-FPA; CERV-2021-DISA-OG-SGA).
  • in order to ensure a high level of coherence between the co-funded activities and the objectives of the ESF+ programme, the actions proposed must directly support social inclusion objectives. Costs related to complementary actions supporting objectives covered by other programmes (i.e. non-discrimination) must represent less than 10% of the operational budget.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This call will support networks at EU-level whose activities contribute to the implementation of the above-mentioned objectives, priorities and initiatives. Networks will implement among others analytical activities, training and capacity building activities, mutual learning and exchange of good practices, awareness raising, information and dissemination activities with EU added value.

Activities may include:

  • contributing to evidence-based regulation, policies and reforms at EU/national/local level and provide the Commission with input for policy design. E.g. by gathering relevant evidence (especially from local levels) and by contributing to ad-hoc public or targeted consultations and to thematic strategic dialogue meetings on policy or programme management related issues;
  • promoting concrete pledges for actions supporting the implementation of relevant key EU initiatives such as the EPSR;
  • raising public awareness and disseminating information on social protection and social inclusion policies and legislation at EU and national levels including good practices in ensuring access to social protection for all and map out existing gaps;
  • building capacity of national members to actively engage them in implementing the EPSR locally;
  • promoting EMPL programmes, projects and results – assist in the transfer and exchange of good practices (e.g. EaSI projects);
  • reinforcing cooperation with other EU level networks (e.g. through joint actions), including across different policy areas; with and between the national social stakeholders; with national, regional and local authorities.

Activities should also enable the networks to integrate cross-cutting issues (e.g. gender, disability, non-discrimination) in their day-to-day work.

Applicants should optimise the use of online/offline activities depending on the objectives of each activity, and taking into account environmental and health considerations. Possibilities offered by online activities to maximise impact should be utilised (e.g. publically available recorded webinars). The cost-effectiveness, size and frequency of physical events should be carefully considered and be reasonable.

Expected impact

The Commission expects networks to design and implement relevant, quality and impactful work programmes that fit the objectives and priorities defined in the call. The work plan should clearly demonstrate the organisation's capacity to generate concrete impacts.

Applicants are invited to:

  • provide clear descriptions of the main activities and implementation methodology;
  • describe the contribution and added value of the programme to the EU policy in the area of this call;
  • describe the way in which they use monitoring and external evaluations in order to assess their overall performance and the relevance and impact of their outputs.
  • In terms of results, the Commission expects:
  • Improved awareness about EU policies and funding among the network’s members;
  • Increased awareness of EU and national authorities about the needs and potential of organisations represented by the networks;
  • Increased capacity of the networks and their members to support policy making in their respective areas;
  • Enhanced research and availability of data about the fields in which the networks operate.

3. Available budget

The indicative budget earmarked for grants calls under this framework partnership is EUR 56.900.000 for the period of 2022-2025.

Depending on the number and quality of proposals, the Commission expects to sign between 18 to 24 framework partnerships.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants, established as formal networks, must be European-level organisations that comply with the following criteria:

  • be legal entities properly established and registered in one of the eligible countries participating in the programme, i.e.:
    • EU Member State;
    • non-EU countries: listed EEA countries and countries associated to the ESF+ (associated countries4) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature.
  • be non-governmental, non-profit-making, and independent of industry, commercial and business or other conflicting interests;
  • have statutory aims falling under the objectives and scope of the priorities of this call for proposals;
  • have national member organisations in at least fourteen (14) Member States of the European Union;
  • have members that are mainly non-profit organisations;
  • be mandated by their members, through a Management Board or other administrative forum, to represent these members at the EU level and to be responsible for the activities of the network;
  • be a single applicant: only the network or the organisation appointed as the joint secretariat/officially appointed coordinator may submit an application; the member organisations are not eligible to apply;
  • provide a strategic work programme for a period of 4 years starting in 2022.

Applicants must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are NOT eligible.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’6.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Applicants from countries with ongoing negotiations (see above “Eligible participants (eligible countries)“) may participate in the call and can sign grant agreements if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)7 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/058). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, , subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment.

Consortium composition

Not applicable, only applications by single applicants are allowed.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: Specific Grant Agreements - Annual operating grants 2022 to support EU level Social NGO Networks


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy.

The call aims at awarding the first annual operating grants for 2022 to networks active in the area of social inclusion that will sign a 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements (FPA) for the period 2022-2025.

Deadline: 30 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

This is a call for proposals for EU operating grants in the field of social inclusion under the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) for 2022.

Operating grants provide general financial support to organisations whose statutory activities serve the strategic objectives of EU policies (mainly non-profit organisations, voluntary associations, foundations, NGOs or similar). They do not support a specific project (like action grants), but the annual operating budget of the organisation (or part of it). Operating grants are always mono-beneficiary grants supporting the work programme of activities of only one organisation. They follow the same rules for the grant agreements as action grants, but do not differentiate between direct and indirect costs. Receiving an operating grant may however have an impact on the possibility to receive the indirect costs flat-rate in EU action grants (see AGA — Annotated Grant Agreement, art 6.2.E).

This call is open only to organisations having submitted a proposal to the call “Framework partnership agreements to support EU level Social NGO Networks” (see call ESF-OG-NETW-NGO-2021-FPA). Please note that for the first year, the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) and Specific Grant Agreement (SGA) applications are submitted in parallel due to time constraints. You must first complete the FPA application, and then use the FPA application number in the SGA application. SGAs can only be signed if the FPA has been signed, and before the end date of the FPA.

1. Background

The Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ provides funding to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty.

In line with the operational objectives of the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) strand, this call will support networking at Union level and dialogue with and among relevant stakeholders in the policy areas of employment and social inclusion3 and build up the institutional capacity of these stakeholders to contribute actively to the development and implementation of all relevant policies.

This call is linked to the parallel call ESF-2021-OG-NETW-NGO-FPA that aims to set-up 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements with EU-level networks and organisations whose activities contribute to the implementation of the programme's objectives and which will implement among others: analytical activities, training and capacity building activities, mutual learning and exchange of good practices, awareness raising, information and dissemination activities with EU added value.

Every year, an operating grant may be awarded to framework partners to finance their activities, insofar as these are in line with the programme's objectives in the area concerned and the policy priorities that may be established by the Commission. The costs of general administrative expenditure necessary for the running of these organisations may also be covered.

This call aims at awarding operating grants for 2022 to partners that have first been awarded a framework partnership agreement.

Objectives

- Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty by providing financial support to EU-level networks of civil society organisations active in this area at local, regional, national and transnational level. It will thereby contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its Action Plan, ensuring just transitions, protecting livelihoods, boosting employment, reducing poverty and inequalities and creating opportunities for all;

- Supporting the EU policy initiatives proposed by the Commission to put the pillar's principles into practice. The Action Plan contains proposals for initiatives in the respective fields of the 20 principles (e.g. support to children, minimum income, access to essential services, combatting homelessness, quality and affordable long-term care, access to healthcare, social economy). Progress in turning the principles of the pillar into action will be monitored through the European Semester;

- Delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights is a shared responsibility of the EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society. Civil society organisations are expected to:

(i) support the implementation of the Pillar at EU, national and local level notably by collecting and exchanging data and good practices and cooperating with public authorities in the design and implementation of relevant policies;

(ii) organise communication and engagement activities to raise awareness of the Pillar and promote social rights in Europe;

- The ultimate goal is to build a stronger social Europe: modernise and strengthen the welfare states to protect people, combat poverty and inequalities, and to face the green, digital and demographic transitions.

Themes and priorities (scope)

Framework partners should be active in fostering social inclusion and combating poverty.

Networks are expected to implement work programmes that:

  • contribute concretely and directly to the implementation of the EPSR principles and related initiatives that are relevant to their statutory aim, with a particular focus on national and local level;
  • organise communication and engagement activities to raise awareness of the EPSR and promote social rights in Europe;
  • strengthen the capacity of national member organisations to enable them to actively contribute to the EPSR implementation;
  • provide concrete support to the European Semester process (at EU and national levels, including through the recovery and resilience plans).

The annual operating grants that will be signed based on these framework partnership agreements will increase the capacities of these networks of civil society organisations active at EU level to contribute actively to the development and implementation of EU policies in these areas.

Important to note:

  • the inclusion of persons with disabilities (principle 17) should be mainstreamed across all activities. However, networks that are mainly active in the area of disability should apply to the parallel calls for proposals funded by the programme Citizens, Equality, Rights and Value (CERV-2021-DISA-OG-FPA; CERV-2021-DISA-OG-SGA).
  • in order to ensure a high level of coherence between the co-funded activities and the objectives of the ESF+ programme, the actions proposed must directly support social inclusion objectives. Costs related to complementary actions supporting objectives covered by other programmes (i.e. non-discrimination) must represent less than 10% of the operational budget.

The 2022 work programmes must directly and concretely support the implementation and awareness raising of the recent (already adopted) or up-coming (notably those announced in the EPSR action plan for 2021/2022) EU policy initiatives and guidances that are relevant to the core mission of the applicant.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

This call will support networks at EU-level whose activities contribute to the implementation of the above-mentioned objectives, priorities and initiatives. Networks will implement among others analytical activities, training and capacity building activities, mutual learning and exchange of good practices, awareness raising, information and dissemination activities with EU added value.

Activities may include:

  • contributing to evidence-based regulation, policies and reforms at EU/national/local level and provide the Commission with input for policy design. E.g. by gathering relevant evidence (especially from local levels) and by contributing to ad-hoc public or targeted consultations and to thematic strategic dialogue meetings on policy or programme management related issues;
  • promoting concrete pledges for actions supporting the implementation of relevant key EU initiatives such as the EPSR;
  • raising public awareness and disseminating information on social protection and social inclusion policies and legislation at EU and national levels including good practices in ensuring access to social protection for all and map out existing gaps;
  • building capacity of national members to actively engage them in implementing the EPSR locally;
  • promoting EMPL programmes, projects and results – assist in the transfer and exchange of good practices (e.g. EaSI projects);
  • reinforcing cooperation with other EU level networks (e.g. through joint actions), including across different policy areas; with and between the national social stakeholders; with national, regional and local authorities.

Activities should also enable the networks to integrate cross-cutting issues (e.g. gender, disability, non-discrimination) in their day-to-day work.

Applicants should optimise the use of online/offline activities depending on the objectives of each activity, and taking into account environmental and health considerations. Possibilities offered by online activities to maximise impact should be utilised (e.g. publically available recorded webinars). The cost-effectiveness, size and frequency of physical events should be carefully considered and be reasonable.

Expected impact

The Commission expects networks to design and implement relevant, quality and impactful work programmes that fit the objectives and priorities defined in the call. The work plan should clearly demonstrate the organisation's capacity to generate concrete impacts.

Applicants are invited to:

  • provide clear descriptions of the main activities and implementation methodology;
  • describe the contribution and added value of the programme to the EU policy in the area of this call;
  • describe the way in which they use monitoring and external evaluations in order to assess their overall performance and the relevance and impact of their outputs.
  • In terms of results, the Commission expects:
  • Improved awareness about EU policies and funding among the network’s members;
  • Increased awareness of EU and national authorities about the needs and potential of organisations represented by the networks;
  • Increased capacity of the networks and their members to support policy making in their respective areas;
  • Enhanced research and availability of data about the fields in which the networks operate.

3. Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 13 800 000.

This budget might be increased by a maximum 20% in case of available funds each year.

Depending on the number and quality of proposals, the Commission expects to fund 18 to 24 proposals.

We reserve the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligibility

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the applicants, established as formal networks, must be European-level organisations that comply with the following criteria:

  • be legal entities properly established and registered in one of the eligible countries participating in the programme, i.e.:
    • EU Member State;
    • non-EU countries: listed EEA countries and countries associated to the ESF+ (associated countries4) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature
  • be non-governmental, non-profit-making, and independent of industry, commercial and business or other conflicting interests;
  • have statutory aims falling under the objectives and scope of the priorities of this call for proposals;
  • have national member organisations in at least fourteen (14) Member States of the European Union;
  • have members that are mainly non-profit organisations;
  • be mandated by their members, through a Management Board or other administrative forum, to represent these members at the EU level and to be responsible for the activities of the network;
  • be a single applicant: only the network or the organisation appointed as the joint secretariat/officially appointed coordinator may submit an application; the member organisations are not eligible to apply.
  • provide a detailed work programme for 2022.

Applicants must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Only the organisations that have first been awarded a framework partnership (see call ESF-OG-NETW-NGO-2021-FPA) will be considered eligible under this call.

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are NOT eligible.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons5.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’6.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Applicants from countries with ongoing negotiations (see above “Eligible participants (eligible countries)“) may participate in the call and can sign grant agreements if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)7 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/058). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, , subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment.

Consortium composition

Not applicable, only applications by single applicants are allowed.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.




ESF+: Activities to tackle undeclared work


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is supporting EU Member States to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, the eradication of poverty and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy.

The main objective of this call for proposals is to complement and add value to the activities indicated in the work programme of the European Platform tackling undeclared work.

Deadline: 28 September 2021, 17:00 Brussels time Application Link Overview

The Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme is a financing instrument at EU level to promote a high level of quality and sustainable employment, guaranteeing adequate and decent social protection, combating social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions.

Objectives:

  • Strengthen ownership of EU objectives and coordination of action at EU and national level in the areas of employment, social affairs and inclusion
  • Support the development of adequate social protection systems and labour market policies
  • Modernise EU legislation and ensure its effective application
  • Promote geographical mobility and boost employment opportunities by developing an open labour market
  • Increase the availability and accessibility of microfinance for vulnerable groups and micro-enterprises, and increase access to finance for social enterprises

The PROGRESS axis of EaSI helps the EU and its countries to improve policies in three thematic sections:

  • employment, in particular to fight youth unemployment
  • social protection, social inclusion and the reduction and prevention of poverty
  • working conditions

Background

This call for proposals is financed under the Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") strand of the ESF+ which is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission. It provides financial support to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection, a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicate poverty.

Tackling undeclared work in particular the necessity to move from informal or undeclared work to regular employment is a central element in the European Pillar of Social Rights to deliver new and more effective rights for citizens. It builds upon 20 key principles, structured around three categories: Equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and social protection and inclusion.

Within the context of this call for proposals and building up on the 1998 Communication from the Commission on Undeclared Work (COM(1998)219 - http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?uri=LEGISSUM:c11710) undeclared work is understood as "any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature, but are not declared to the public authorities, taking into account the differences in the regulatory systems of the Member States".

The need for structural reforms in the areas of undeclared work, shadow economy, tax evasion has been addressed in several country-specific recommendations by the Council (https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/european-semester_en).

Undeclared work takes a variety of forms ranging from undeclared work in a formal enterprise to clandestine work done by own account workers, but excludes those involving illegal goods or services. In fact, if the goods and services provided are unlawful (e.g., the production or trafficking of drugs, firearms, persons, etc.), it is part of the wider criminal economy (i.e., the ‘shadow economy’ is often defined as including both the undeclared economy and criminal economy), and if there is no monetary payment, it is part of the unpaid sphere.

Undeclared work constitutes a political challenge for various reasons:

  • from a macroeconomic perspective, it is a form of tax evasion undermining public finances; it also has an impact on working conditions and the quality of jobs with notably no access to lifelong learning, with consequences on potential growth in the long-run;
  • from a microeconomic perspective, it distorts competition among firms, paving the way for social dumping and causes productive inefficiencies by keeping companies in business that would otherwise probably be absent from the market. Informal businesses typically avoid access to formal services and have no adequate access to credit and therefore their growth is limited;
  • from a social perspective, it is characterised by poor working conditions, deficits in terms of health and safety requirements, lower income and the absence of social security.

Undeclared work is consequently a multifaceted phenomenon, it is not just the scale but also the structure of undeclared work that varies from one Member State to another; this is owing to differences in the productive structure, in the institutional strength of public bodies and regulatory systems, or in the extent of welfare state systems. The nature and incidence of undeclared work in a country can be seen as reflecting the imperfections of its formal labour market economy.

Undeclared work has been the object of attention by policy makers for a long time. The 2007 Commission communication on "Stepping up the fight against undeclared work” COM (2007) 628, proposes the following measures:

  • Reducing the financial attractiveness of undeclared work stemming from the design of tax and benefit systems, and the permissiveness of the social protection system with regard to the performing of undeclared work
  • Administrative reform and simplification, with a view to reducing the cost of compliance with regulations
  • Strengthening the surveillance and sanction mechanisms, with the involvement of labour inspectorates, tax offices and social partners
  • Cross-border cooperation within the EU and awareness raising

Tackling undeclared work is primarily a task of the Member States. Decision (EU) 2016/344 of 9 March 2016 established a European Platform to enhance cooperation in tackling undeclared work by bringing together Member States' authorities involved in the prevention and/or deterrence of undeclared work.

The Platform has been launched in May 2016 and aims to improve cooperation between Member States through sharing information and best practices, developing expertise and promoting and facilitating cross-border cooperation. The main objective of the Platform is to improve the Member States' capacities to tackle undeclared work in its various forms, including bogus self-employment, and drive change at national level in order to promote better working conditions and the emergence of formal employment.

The Platform is a tool to support Member States in their reform agendas, to better enforce laws and rules and a forum at EU level where the different actors involved can exchange information and good practices, develop knowledge and evidence, learn from each other and together and engage in closer cross-border cooperation and joint activities.

Objectives — Themes and priorities — Activities that can be funded — Expected impact

Objectives (expected outcome)

The main objective of this call for proposals is to complement and add value to the activities indicated in the work programme 2021-2022 of the European Platform tackling undeclared work: https://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=23101&langId=en), which reflects the realities of tackling undeclared work in a difficult economic context. The 2021-2022 work programme aims to deepen understanding of (new) types of undeclared work and sectors particularly exposed (e.g. in relation to the collaborative economy, seasonal work, personal and household services as well as HORECA) whilst supporting partnerships, innovation and capacity building, as well as increasing public awareness of undeclared work. The re-establishment of the Platform under the auspices of the European Labour Authority (ELA) on 26 May 2021 as a permanent working group will provide new opportunities to address these challenges in a more integrated and comprehensive way.

The call for proposals will support relevant actors in the field of tackling undeclared work such as ministries, enforcement authorities, social partners, etc. to develop innovative initiatives which shall contribute to enhancing the implementation, application, knowledge and better enforcement of EU and national law in the area of undeclared work, including through cross-border cooperation, thus supporting the transformation of undeclared work into declared work. The knowledge gained from these projects should also help building up evidence-based knowledge for better policy design.

The expected results are the improved transnational cooperation between Member States' different authorities to prevent and deter undeclared work, increased mutual trust among the stakeholders and the increased public awareness on the urgency of action and encouraging Member States to step up their efforts in dealing with undeclared work.

Themes and priorities (scope)

The priority for this call is to co-finance actions fostering joint activities and cross-border projects of enforcement authorities and other relevant players improving their technical capacity in the field of preventing and deterrence of undeclared work in line with the Platform’s vision of transforming undeclared into declared work by using a holistic approach, where national governments join up strategy and operations and cooperate with social partners and other stakeholders to employ the full range of direct and indirect policy measures. This will further enhance on-going cooperation between Member States enforcement authorities.

Cooperation may cover the following areas:

  1. Common training courses for staff involved in enforcement activities;
  2. Joint actions and exchange of staff of enforcement authorities;
  3. Provision of technical assistance and/or support to implementation of measures/practice as identified by the European Platform tackling UDW.
  4. Setting up information exchange systems;
  5. Collaborative work in form of sharing of information and mutual learning between enforcement authorities.
  6. Developing information products and services for employers and workers and raising awareness about the benefits of transforming undeclared into declared work.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

The types of activities which can be funded under this call for proposals must address at least one of the areas of action identified below:

  1. Common training courses for staff involved in enforcement activities: developing new or improving existing training programmes between officials of competent public authorities and/or between relevant social partners and stakeholders in the context of contributing to enhancing the implementation, application, knowledge and better enforcement of EU and national law in the area of undeclared work. Activities can include trainings focusing on common themes and challenges (e.g. how to address bogus self-employment) and how they are tackled by different national authorities, exchanges in the field (e.g. agriculture and construction sectors) or trainings focusing on how to foster cooperation/improve working relations between different national and other EU/EEA enforcement agencies. Activities supported should produce an output; a potential output of this type of activities could be a handbook of best enforcement practices used my member states to tackle undeclared work.
  2. Joint inspections and exchange of staff of enforcement authorities: developing new or improving existing exchanges and peer learning between officials of competent public authorities in order to better cooperate across borders, and to develop tools that facilitate the work and to support capacity building. Activities can include: study visits to the authorities of the Member States, including a presentation of their coordinating work between agencies in addressing undeclared work at national level, field exchanges – exchange of staff for a limited period of time to enable exchange of information/best practices etc.
  3. Provision of technical assistance to other EU/EEA enforcement bodies to contribute to capacity building, implementation of good practices, etc.
  4. Information exchange systems: developing cross-border information exchange systems with the aim to facilitate administrative cooperation between enforcement bodies. Cross-border information exchange systems supported under this priority must add value to existing practices such as EESSI, IMI module on posting of workers, etc.).
  5. Collaborative work in form of sharing of information and mutual learning between enforcement authorities: developing or upgrading online platforms for the collection and dissemination of quality, user-friendly, and specific information targeted at tackling undeclared work and facilitating the transition from undeclared work to formal work.
  6. Joint awareness raising campaigns/sector specific campaigns/regional cross-border campaigns: awareness raising campaigns targeted at workers and/or employers should aim at changing norms, values and beliefs regarding the acceptability of participating in undeclared work, so that these are in conformity with laws and regulations, at informing on risks and costs of undeclared work, at promoting the benefits of formalising work, at encouraging a culture of commitment to declaration, informing about the prevention services available to employers/workers, etc. Messages can be conveyed through many different channels, such as mass media (television, radio), social media (using new media channels to spread messages – for e.g. social networks, videos, blogs, twitter, vlogs etc.), public relations, events, talks, demonstrations, tours, posters and leaflets.

Apart from the pure technical implementation of the proposals another deliverable of projects under this call for proposals is the capacity to spell out success and failure factors and parameters in an analytical evidence-based way.

a) Technical implementation

This includes facilitating and promoting training, good practice initiatives and innovative approaches, such as exchanges of staff and joint activities; exchange of information, mutual learning and awareness raising campaigns. Information exchange systems could be addressed through the joint establishment of protocols, agreements and the development of IT-based systems.

b) Analytical elements

In addition to implementing the activities described above, another deliverable of projects under this call for proposals is the capacity to spell out success and failure factors and parameters. These should be documented in the form of findings and conclusions deriving from a thorough evaluation of the actions undertaken. The evaluation shall help the beneficiaries to draw lessons learned and to establish, deriving from this experience, building blocks for a successful and sustainable cooperation between enforcement authorities and to contribute to the work of the European Platform. The proposal should detail how this output will be achieved.

Expected impact

The expected results are:

  • enhanced implementation, application and better enforcement of EU and national law in the area of undeclared work;
  • improved technical capacity of enforcement authorities in the field of preventing and deterrence of undeclared work;
  • improved transnational cooperation on a wide range of critical issues, as well as coordination between Member States' different authorities to prevent and deter undeclared work, particularly in relation to strategic reform and cross-border inspections;
  • increased knowledge on tackling undeclared work that would encourage informed policy-making and structural reform (exchange of information, mutual leraning, development of IT-based systems for exchange of information);
  • increased mutual trust among the different stakeholders tackling undeclared work at national and European level;
  • increased public awareness of issues related to undeclared work, as well as rights and obligations of workers and employers;
  • promote better working conditions (e.g. the enforcement of labour rights, social security coverage, the application of health and safety guidelines in the workplace) and the transition from undeclared work to declared work;
  • promote the implementation of a holistic approach to tackle undeclared work, where national governments join up strategy and operations and cooperate with social partners and other stakeholders to employ the full range of direct and indirect policy measures;
  • Preventing declared work from shifting into the undeclared economy, especially in light of the new challenges in tackling undeclared work brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Available budget

The available call budget is EUR 1 500 000.

This budget might be increased by a maximum of 20%.

The Commission expects to fund 3 proposals.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds or to redistribute them between the call priorities, depending on the proposals received and the results of the evaluation.

Eligible participants (eligible countries)

In order to be eligible, the single applicant or the coordinator must:

  • be a legal entity (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States
    • non-EU countries:
      • EEA Countries, according to Article 29 of the ESF+ Regulation

In order to be eligible, other applicants (other beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e
    • EU Member States, EEA Countries, candidate countries and potential candidates according to Article 29 of ESF+ Regulation.

Organisations of social partners without legal personality under the applicable national law are also eligible provided that the conditions of the Financial Regulation related thereto are met (Article 197(2)(c) of the Financial Regulation);

Eligible applicants must:

  • fall into one of the following categories:
  1. Public enforcement authorities such as labour inspectorates, social security inspectorates, tax authorities, customs authorities, migration bodies, ministries in charge of tackling undeclared work, the police and the public prosecutor's office, or
  2. Social partners. Social partners which are entitled by law or institutional agreement to carry out enforcement tasks can be lead-applicant. Other social partners can be co-applicants.
  • be non-profit organisations (private or public).
  • Single or lead applicants who are not officially appointed by Member States/EEA countries to the European Platform tackling undeclared work must present a letter of endorsement issued by the respective representative in the Platform3.

When necessary for the achievement of the action’s objectives, legal entities established in non-associated countries may exceptionally participate, in principle without being financed by the Union. Therefore legal entities established in Switzerland can take part on a no cost basis in accordance with Article 27(1)(a)(iii) of the ESF+ Regulation.

Specific cases

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are not eligible.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons4.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’5. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for entities without legal personality (see above) are met. Social partners which are entitled by law or institutional agreement to carry out enforcement tasks can be coordinators. Other social partners can be among the “other applicants”.

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Applicants from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/057). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment.

Consortium composition

Actions may involve consortia.

Proposals by single applicants are allowed.

Affiliated entities can take part in the consortium, and they must satisfy the eligibility criteria as all applicants.

Application Details

See full details in the official call document.

All proposals must be submitted directly online via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System.