/ EUROPEAN COMMISSION
DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Social Market Economy in Member States I : ESF
ESF Policy and Legislation
Informal Technical Working Group Meeting
Draft: Chairperson's conclusions
0. Adoption of draft agenda
The draft agenda was adopted
1. Conclusions of the previous TWG
The conclusions of the previous TWG were adopted.
Proposal for additional participants at the ESF TWG
The Commission presented the proposal for additional participants to the ESF TWG.
The Commission underlined that participation was open to all OPs relevant to the ESF, including Multi-Fund OPs.
2. Update on Draft Implementing Acts and Delegated Acts
The Commission presented the update on draft implementing and delegated acts.
3. State of play of OP negotiations and OP implementation
The Commission presented the state of play of OP negotiations and OP implementation.
4. Update on the implementation of ex ante conditionality action plans
The Commission presented the state of play of implementation of ex-ante conditionality plans.
5. Follow-up to the Ad-hoc meeting of ESF and FEAD Managing Authorities in response to the refugee crisis
The Commission updated the Committee on the follow up to the response to the refugee crisis. The Commission further debriefed the TWG on the EPSCO Council discussion held a few days before.
The Commission recalled how the ESF could support asylum seekers and refugees and how eligibility of this target group and actions should be assessed; moreover the Commission requested the members of the Committee to make proposals on how to enable the ESF's prompt support to asylum seekers and refugees. In this framework the Commission underlined the need to assess whether an OP amendment would be needed, since support to refugees and asylum seekers might already be possible as they stood. The Commission was ready to adopt amendments quickly since it deemed important to keep in mind the sense of urgency, as underlined by Poland during the discussion.
Germany expressed the intention to amend its Federal level OP and possibly some of the Land OPs. An additional nine Member States expressed an intention to use the ESF to support the integration of asylum seekers and refugees.
Poland proposed thedevelopment of simplified costs at EU level in order to support actions for refugees. Since five other Member States, in particular the Netherlands supported Poland's proposal, the Commission agreed to further develop this possibility and asked those Member States interested to come up with proposals.
The Netherlands and Estonia asked the Commission how to report on indicators, taking into account that asylum seekers could change address. The Commission promised to further analyse this matter with the evaluation unit andto get back to the TWG with an answer at a later stage.
The Commission replied that it would be sending a written reply to the letter sent by Germany prior to the TWG.
DG HOME recalled the importance of ensuring coordination and exploiting synergies between different EU funding instruments, in particular with the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).
6. Youth Employment Initiative: structured data reports
The Commission updated the ESF TWG on the state of play of the YEI.
All YEI relevant OPs were adopted and all OPs supported by the YEI received the increased 2015 pre-financing.
At the time, only one Member State (Latvia) had notified the designation of authorities to the Commission. The Commission recalled this was problematic for the YEI taking into account that Member States had until the 23rd of May 2016 to submit one or more payment applications which cover at least 50% of the additional pre-financing received.
The Commission further updated the TWG on the YEI structured data reports. It was not possible todrawmany conclusions from the data submitted since many Member States had not reported quantitative data; some Member States preferred to wait until the designation procedure was over or until the expenditure was verified by the Managing Authority.
7. Simplification: Simplified Cost Options
The Commission presented the Simplified Cost Options survey results.
82% of the total ESF fund allocation was covered by the replies received which meant the final result was quite accurate.
The results of the survey would feed into an important report on the implementation of SCOs within the ESF that would be presented by Commissioner Thyssen to Council and Parliament in the framework of the discharge procedure; hence the importance of reporting exact figures.
8. Transnational Cooperation Commission update
The Commission updated the TWG on the state of play of Transnational Cooperation.
The team leader of AEIDL presented the services provided in the framework of the Technical Assistance contract.
Poland asked about Member States role in the networks. The Commission replied that Managing Authorities could lead a network and work together with Technical Assistance on setting up the agenda, calls for proposals, etc. The Commission underlined that the administrative/logistic part of the work would be carried out by the Technical Assistance and Member States would be able to focus on content.
The Commission urged those Member States which had not yet provided information to AEIDL on their national contact points, preferred networks etc. to do so at their earliest convenience.
9. ESF Management: state of play of ESF financial execution
The Commission presented the state of play of ESF financial execution.
As requested by the Commission prior to the meeting, a tour de table was carried out (see overviewtable below).Member State / Designation of authorities / First Interim Payment / YEI
Austria / no info / no info / NA
Belgium / no info / no info
Bulgaria / end October / no payment in 2015 / no payment in 2015
Croatia / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Cyprus / end October 2015 / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Czech Republic / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Denmark / end October 2015 / Q4/2015 / NA
Estonia / done / November 2015 / NA
Finland / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016 / NA
France / December 2015 / December 2015 / December 2015
Germany / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016 / NA
Greece / November 2015 / December 2015 / December 2015
Hungary / end October 2015 / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Ireland / December 2015 / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Italy / December 2015 / December 2015 / Q1/2016
Latvia / done / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Lithuania / Q2/2016 / Q2/2016 / Q2/2016
Luxembourg / done / TBC / NA
Malta / Q1/2016 / Q2/2016 / NA
Netherlands / Q1/2016 / Q2/2016 / NA
Poland / end October 2015 / Nov/December 2015 / Nov/December 2015
Portugal / end October 2015 / November 2015 / November 2015
Romania / December 2015 / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Slovakia / November 2015 / Q1/2016 / Q1/2016
Slovenia / no info / no info / no info
Spain / end October 2015 / Q4/2015 / Q4/2015
Sweden / no info / no info
United Kingdom / Q1/2016 / Q2/2016 / Q2/2016
10. New Skills Agenda
The Commission presented the state of play of the new skills agenda.
Poland highlighted that it was not always possible for individuals to have all their skills recognised. Poland suggested a system of self-assessment could be a solution to this type of gap.
11. Digital skills: Why funding of digital skills training is important
The Commission presented the state of play of digital skills.
Italy presented an overview of the project financed in the framework of the YEI and implemented in cooperation with Google,which had been designed to improve the employability changes of young people. The Commission asked Italy to provide further information about this project in writing.
UEAPME mentioned that often trainings were not adapted to the needs to SMEs, because they were either too general, or provided to the wrong target group (often the owner of the SME or his/her relatives)
12. Financial Instruments
The Commission presented the state of play of financial instruments.
Lithuania and Poland mentioned that ideally further information on the interpretation of legal acts should be provided to Member States in advance, and, in addition, to the Fi-Compass platform. Poland mentioned the EGESIF discussion held a few days before, on the draft guidance notes on financial instruments. The Commission replied that a balance had to be struck between timely and accurate guidance. The Commission was striving to provide the most accurate interpretation possible in a short period of time, which sometimes meant discussing draft guidance documents with Member States.
13. Update on ESF and EURES
The Commission updated the TWG on the ESF and EURES.
The Commission reminded Member States to provide replies to the survey launched via the ESF Committee secretariat on September 24th. The input would be used to make a compilation on the use of the ESF in this area.
The Commission informed and invited Member States to the EURES –ESF mutual learning and networking event planned for 17-18 November in Brussels. The event aimed to bring together ESF managing staff and project managers for Labour mobility and EURES related projects to identify good practices.
14. Categorisation and ESF secondary themes
The Commission presented changes that will be implemented,as of January 2016, to the table for transmission of financial data for the reporting of ESF secondary themes.
The Commission underlined the importance of using these secondary themes to better highlight the ESF's contribution to specific themes and transversal principles.
Ms Manuela Geleng announced her departure from the ESF Policy and Legislation unit in order to take up new functions in the Social Investment Strategy unit in the Social Affairs Directorate of DG Employment, where she would also be acting Director. She thanked the Members of the ESF TWG for their cooperation and support the previous three years. The Luxembourgish Presidency thanked Ms Geleng for all the work and dedication on behalf of all Member States.
Simplified cost option workshop
The Commission presented article 14.1 ESF.
France and Sweden, followed by BE/Flanders and the Czech Republicpresented their use of Simplified Costs.
The Transnational Cooperation on Simplified Costs was presented by AEIDL's expert.