The European Social Fund (ESF) is one of the five European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Since 2014, they have been operating under a common framework and pursue complementary policy objectives. The ESF, along with the Cohesion Fund, aims to reduce disparities in prosperity and living standards across the EU with greater effectiveness. The Lifelong Learning Platform welcomes that lifelong learning is one of the key policy priorities.
The ESF promotes social innovation, entrepreneurship, social inclusion, gender equality, mobility and many other relevant issues in lifelong learning. Across the EU the ESF is financing initiatives to improve education and training and ensure young people complete their education and get the skills that make them more competitive on the jobs market. Reducing school drop-out rates is a major priority here, along with improving vocational and tertiary education opportunities.