EU Will Ensure EUR 1,000 Mln Plus for Employment and Social Inclusion in Bulgaria

EU Will Ensure EUR 1,000 Mln Plus for Employment and Social Inclusion in Bulgaria

EU Will Ensure
EUR 1,000 Mln Plus for
Employment and Social Inclusion in Bulgaria

Brussels, November 28 (BTA Correspondent Nikolay Zheliazkov) -
The European Commission has adopted the Bulgarian Operational
Programme "Human Resource Development" for the implementation of
the European Social Fund (ESF) in the period 2014-2020, the
Commission said on Friday.

This programme outlines the priorities and objectives to spend
EUR 1,092 million (of which EUR 939 million from the EU budget
including EUR 55 from the Youth Employment Initiative)
contributing to creating jobs and strengthening social cohesion
in Bulgaria.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour
Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented: "This is the first approved
Bulgarian Operational Programme (2014-2020) for all European
structural and investment funds. This is a noteworthy fact, as
it demonstrates Bulgaria's commitment to address in a priority
manner its persistent employment and social inclusion challenges
and to boost its human capital development. I am pleased that
the European Social Fund will continue serving as a key
financial instrument adding significant value to the national
employment and social policies."

Kristalina Georgieva, Vice President in charge of Budget and
Human Resources, said: "This is an important step for Bulgaria
in using funds from the new generation of programmes financed
from the EU structural funds. I am confident the new programme
from the social fund will be used effectively. The Commission
will work in partnership with Bulgaria to make sure this
programme helps people find jobs and integrate better into
society."

The programme has two overall goals: boosting employment and
reducing social exclusion and poverty levels. Investment will
focus on the following priorities:

Employment will be boosted by projects (around EUR 550 million)
targeting better access to jobs and helping long-term unemployed
and young people, particularly those not in employment,
education or training up to 29 years of age. Improvements to
public employment services will play a key role, and more such
services will be established. Self-employment and the capacity
to adapt quickly to change will be encouraged. In addition,
lifelong learning opportunities will be offered to all groups
and age levels. Workers and jobseekers will thus receive help in
obtaining new skills and qualifications to improve their career
opportunities.

Around EUR 286 million is dedicated to social inclusion
measures. These will target groups such as the young and older
members of society, those with disabilities, and minorities such
as Roma. Social entrepreneurship and access to vocational
training will be promoted, as will better access to health and
social care services.
The OP will also fund improvements to public services that deal
with employment and social or health-related matters. Funding
for transnational exchanges of good practice will help to
achieve this.

Over the funding period, the programme is expected to boost the
qualifications of some 100 000 people, give 28 000 jobseekers a
work placement and help a further 17 000 young people with
employment and training measures. Some 160 000 people will
benefit from lifelong learning opportunities while several
thousand children, including those with disabilities, will get
better access to health care.

On August 7, the European Commission adopted a "partnership
agreement" with Bulgaria setting out the strategy for optimum
use of European Structural and Investment Funds in the country's
regions and cities for 2014-2020. Three ESF co-financed
Operational Programmes (Human resources development, Science and
education for smart growth, Good governance) will be breaking
down the objectives of the Partnership Agreement into investment
priorities and concrete actions and will allow selecting,
implementing, monitoring and evaluating the individual projects
according to the priorities and targets agreed with the
Commission. /TK/



/ТК/

Source: Brussels