The vast majority of MEPs in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs voted to increase the future EU budget for the years 2021 through 2027 from the planned €101 billion to €106 billion, with more money earmarked for social projects. There will be increases for the European Social Fund Plus, as well as promoting housing projects for socially disadvantaged people and initiatives against energy poverty from 2021 onwards. The partnership principle is to be strengthened and civil society will be closely involved in planning, implementation and evaluation. The earmarking for social inclusion has been increased from 20% to 27%.
MEPs will vote on the negotiating mandate in the plenary session from 14 to 17 January 2019. "Trilogue" negotiations with the Council and the European Commission can begin as soon as the Council has established its position.
Jean Lambert, Social Policy spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, comments:
"We are taking steps towards a more social union. Projects such as promoting jobs for young people and helping the homeless promote social cohesion and need more support. A social budget for the future must have top priority in the budget negotiations. A social Europe can show the value that the European Union can have in people's lives".
At present, the budget for the European Social Fund amounts to around 86.4 billion euros. The European Social Fund Plus finances social projects and local initiatives for young and disadvantaged people and promotes employment and social cohesion. In the new EU budget, the European Social Fund Plus will bring together support instruments under one roof, including the Employment Initiative for Young People, the European Aid Fund for the Most Disadvantaged, the Employment and Social Inclusion Programme and the EU Health Programme.