According to Article 162 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU (ex Article 146 TEC) the European Social Fund (ESF) aims to: (a) render the employment of workers easier and to increase their geographical and occupational mobility within the Union; and (b) facilitate their adaptation to industrial changes and to changes in production systems, in particular through vocational training and retraining. The ESF is administered by the Commission, which is assisted in this task by a Committee composed of representatives of the governments, trade unions and employers' organisations (Article 163 TFEU, ex Article 147 TEC).
In accordance with Regulation 1303/2013 [last amended by Regulation 2015/1839], establishing the framework for action by all the structural and investment funds (ESI Funds) of the Union [see section 12.1.2], the Structural Funds - i.e. the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, together with the Cohesion Fund - contribute to developing and pursuing the actions of the Union leading to strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion in accordance with Article 174 TFEU pursuing the goal ''Investment for growth and jobs in Member States and regions [see section 12.3.1]. The actions supported by the Funds contribute also to the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth [see section 7.3].
On the basis of Regulation 1304/2013 on the European Social Fund, the ESF should improve employment opportunities, strengthen social inclusion, fight poverty, promote education, skills and life-long learning and develop active, comprehensive and sustainable inclusion policies in accordance with the tasks entrusted to the ESF by Article 162 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and thereby contribute to economic, social and territorial cohesion in accordance with Article 174 TFEU.
The ESF aims to promote employment, improve access to the labour market, paying particular attention to those who are furthest from the labour market and support voluntary labour mobility. The ESF should also support active and healthy ageing, including through innovative forms of work organisation, promoting health and safety at work and increasing employability. In promoting the better functioning of labour markets by enhancing the transnational geographical mobility of workers, the ESF should, in particular, support EURES activities (activities of the European network of employment services) in relation to recruitment and related information, advice and guidance services at national and cross-border level [see section 6.4.2].
The ESF should benefit people, including disadvantaged people such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, migrants, ethnic minorities, marginalised communities and people of all ages facing poverty and social exclusion. The ESF should also provide support to workers, enterprises, including actors in the social economy, and entrepreneurs, as well as to systems and structures with a view to facilitating their adaptation to new challenges. The Member States and the Commission should promote equality between men and women throughout the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the operational programmes.
In light of the persistent need to make an effort to address youth unemployment in the Union as a whole, a Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) supports, in the most affected regions, young persons not in employment, education or training, who are unemployed or inactive, thereby reinforcing and accelerating the delivery of activities supported by ESF funding. The YEI is funded from a specific allocation and from targeted investment from the ESF to add to and reinforce the considerable support already provided through the ESI Funds. It is implemented as a part of the Investment for growth and jobs goal [see section 12.3.1].