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ESF+ will now prioritise investing in children

A Victory for the Rights of the Child in the EU

The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament finally reached an agreement on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). Member States with a level of child poverty above the EU average will allocate at least 5% of their ESF+ resources to address this issue. All other Member States must allocate an appropriate amount of their ESF+ resources to combat child poverty.

On 28th January, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament finally reached a provisional agreement on a nearly EUR 88 billion European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), demonstrating a clear commitment to tackle child poverty. The European Parliament and the Council will now have to formally approve the ESF+ Regulation for it to enter into force.

The agreement compels Member States with a level of child poverty above the EU average (23,4%AROPE 2017 – 2019) to allocate 5% of ESF+ resources to tackle child poverty. As we know, child poverty is a Pan-European problem and it exists in every EU country. We welcome that the agreement calls on  all Member States to allocate an appropriate amount of their ESF+ resources to combat child poverty.

These resources will be fundamental to financially support the European Child Guarantee, which the European Commission will propose in March, for approval by the Council in June. The Child Guarantee aims to improve the lives of children experiencing poverty and disadvantage, by ensuring they have access to free healthcare, education, early childhood education and care, nutritious meals and decent housing.

Over the last three years Eurochild has advocated with its members and other civil society networks to ensure that the ESF+ prioritises investing in children. We are particularly grateful for the valuable role our members have played in advocating for this issue. Due to our joint efforts, we have successfully raised awareness in the European Institutions of the importance of investing in children, demonstrated in the outcomes of the ESF+ negotiations. 

The EU’s commitment is but a small yet important step. We must continue working closely with our members to ensure these resources are channelled into initiatives and reforms that can make a lasting contribution to ending child poverty and social exclusion in Europe. 

Links to Press Releases:

European Commission, Commission welcomes political agreement on the ESF+

European Parliament, Agreement reached on the European Social Fund+ for 2021-2027

European Council, European Social Fund Plus: Council and Parliament reach a provisional deal