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The ESF Transnational Cooperation Platform – Opportunity for positive change

The kick-off for the activities of the ESF Transnational Cooperation Platform began with a Preparatory Seminar (24-25 September 2020) for Managing Authorities, Intermediate Bodies and other stakeholders. During the two-day online conference, participants discussed and validated objectives, ideas and activities which will be part of an ambitious work programme for 2020-2022.

An opportunity for positive change

The online event, organised by the ICF Transnationality Team on behalf of the European Commission, brought together representatives from Managing Authorities, Intermediary Bodies, and other important stakeholders from 22 Member States.

Over two days, participants discussed and refined the focus of thematic areas, identified and validated target groups, and prioritised the sequencing of the proposed activities of the four CoPs. The CoPs will work on the overarching themes of employment, education and skills, social inclusion, results-based management, and social innovation.

Opening the Preparatory Seminar of the new ESF Transnational Cooperation Platform, Andrea Leruste, Deputy Head of Unit at DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) of the European Commission, acknowledged the substantial work lying ahead: on the one hand, the ESF is currently being reprogrammed to tackle Covid-19 related challenges, notably through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and CRII+. On the other hand, Managing Authorities and the Commission are preparing for the new programming period and the ESF+. However, quoting Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, ‘this is an opportunity for the European Union to make positive changes by design and not by disaster’.

Facilitating exchange and discussion

By facilitating exchanges, mutual learning and peer support, the ESF Transnational Cooperation Platform can become an important forum to discuss and share practices in various fields that can shape the future ESF+. As stressed by Loris Di Pietrantonio, Head of Unit at DG EMPL, simplification and social innovation have an important role to play in the future of the ESF. They are tools that will allow Managing Authorities and ESF stakeholders to use the funds more effectively and to allow them to pilot new approaches and upscale projects, which have proven effective.

Next steps

The four CoPs will be launched at the end of October 2020: online and face-to-face activities will give a variety of stakeholders the opportunity to learn from each other in workshops, peer reviews, trainings, study visits and webinars. These mutual learning activities will lead to outputs in form of recommendation papers, toolkits and checklists – useful for practitioners and policy makers alike. Interested stakeholders will receive further information by email and are called upon to become a member of one or more of the four CoPs, and to actively engage in the activities.For more information, please contact