ESF Transnational Platform Conference

ESF Transnational Platform Conference

‘Inspiration, Practice, Future’

1st – 2nd June, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels


One of the biggest successes is the reform at Member State level concerning deinstitutionalisation using both the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

Marie-Anne Paraskevas, Senior Policy Officer, European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


Key Speaker points

Andriana Sukova-Tosheva, Director for Investment, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

– We are working to ensure the European Code of Conduct on Partnership is implemented.
– Post 2020 we want to go beyond GDP as a measurement to decide the allocation of funding. 
– Principles of the EU Accessibility Act will be mainstreamed into the European Structural and Investment Funds and National investment.
– New challenges for post 2020 include defence and a limited budget.

Toby Johnson, Transnational Platform Team Leader, AEIDL.

– There are 9 Thematic Networks and two themes working across the networks: partnership and simplification.
– Member State participation in the Thematic Networks is gradually increasing.
– Deinstitutionalisation is included as a priority together with homelessness under the social inclusion network.
– 17 Member States envisage Transnational projects: 10 for the Coordinated call in 2018 (Application deadline 11 May 2018).

Leda Stott, Thematic Network on Partnership, Network Expert

The Thematic Network (TN) on Partnership is reviewing the European Code of Conduct on Partnership (ECCP) with a view to raising awareness on partnership, ensuring it is applied, identifying what is working and what is not working, embedding the principle of partnership in the post 2020 framework and sharing learning across all the networks and more widely.

Key documents to be produced:
– Review of ECCP (additional principles, proposals for language post 2020 ECCP)
– Collecting good and bad practices to compile in a guidance document accompanying the new ECCP (TN calling for examples of partnership).

The Thematic Network are calling for examples of partnership (good and bad) as well as suggestions on what the ECCP post 2020 should look like including on content, suggested language, expanding and improving the partnership principles and possible sanctions for non-compliance from all stakeholders, in particular civil society.  These can be sent directly to Ms Leda Stott, Thematic Network on Partnership Expert,

The Future of the European Social Fund

Stefan de Keersmaecker, Deputy Head of Unit ESF and FEAD: Policy and Legislation, DG Employment, Social affairs & Inclusion

– We cannot do business as usual but must critically revise.  The Commission is currently reflecting on post 2020 framework, some key areas include:

  • A single rule book for the European Structural and Investment Funds
  • To incentivise policy reforms
  • Better territorial approach
  • Simplification through the use of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs)

Bettina Reuter, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Germany

Summary points from the Position Paper of Germany‘s Federal ESF Managing Authority on a new “Lean Fund Management“ (LFM) for the arrangement of the ESF post 2020 (based on 2014-2020 experiences).  Key points include:

  • Current level of legal complexity must be reduced so that a more efficient and needs orientated use of ESF funds can be implemented (funding will be reduced post 2020*). General recommendations:
  • The rules for the 2014-2020 period should remain in force instead of issuing an entirely new set of rules → more legal certainty, continuity and clarity
  • Continue elements and procedures that are working well (e.g. the ex ante conditionalities) and take out those that are not working well
  • Legal requirements must be certain well before the start of the next funding period
  • Thematic concentration of the funds should be further developed
  • European Social Fund Indicators should focus on essential information only

Vladimir Kvaca, Charles University, Prague and AEIDL

– Broadly agrees with the recommendations of the German Position Paper.
– The purpose of ESF structures (e.g. Managing Authorities) is to help those who are helping.
– We have many control bodies and authorities but no trust building authorities.
– For the future of ESF we need systemic innovation (partnership approaches are important here, transition theory should lead us).  
– Suggests putting a small part of ESF into a ‘rule free sandbox’ to experiment with innovative ideas to manage the funds.

Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General, EASPD

– We must be careful not to change the rules too much in the next round of regulations, the ex ante conditionalities and the Partnership principle must remain. Recommendations:

  1. EU Funds should address development of innovative services in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
  2. Simplification of the accession and management of funds. (technical burden deters small organisations with poor resources)
  3. EU should maintain high on its agenda the leading role in pushing forward the reform of social care systems.
  4. Shift from only economic perspective to quality-effectiveness
  5. Stability and sustainability of financial frameworks
  6. European Fund for Strategic Investments: More and more social service providers are exploring different forms of financing. Initiatives like EFSI could facilitate the take up of loans. However, it must not be seen as a replacement of the essential contribution European Structural and Investment Funds make towards the sector.
  7. Complementarity of different funding schemes and tools: The EU should not lock the development of the social sector by limiting its relevance in the EU agenda to only a selection of instruments. Grants are needed for development, but loans and public procurement schemes could complement the accession of funds.

Marie-Anne Paraskevas, ESF and FEAD: Policy and Legislation, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion.

  • The Thematic Networks are good however we need to create the same such networks at the national and regional Member State level to ensure knowledge created in the Thematic Networks is not trapped at EU level.
  • One of the biggest successes of ESF is the reform at Member State level concerning deinstitutionalisation using both ESF and ERDF.

Documents, Reports and Further information

Programme for the Conference

Key points from the discussions and workshops – full report

Social Platform Blog Article on the Conference – Annica Ryngbeck

Access all presentations and visualisations from the ESF Transnational Platform Conference.

Website of the ESF Transnational Platform with information on each of the Thematic Networks.

In order to enhance the capacity of Member States to launch transnational calls and mainstream the impact of transnational activities, the ESF Transnational Platform has established an Impact Task Force, which started operating in February 2017.  Find out more information here.

Website of the European Commission, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s