The European Social Fund (ESF), one of the European Union Structural Funds, is Europe's main tool for investing in human capital. The European Social Fund+ (ESF+), will continue to provide an important contribution for the period 2021-2027 to EU’s employment, social, education and skills policies, including structural reforms in these areas.
According to a Ministerial Decision dated 17/11/2015, the European Social Fund Unit (ESF Unit) was designated as the Intermediate Body (for public procurement projects) of the Operational Programme (OP) "Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion" 2014-2020 and took over the management responsibilities for the OP. Within the framework of the OP, which is co-financed by the European Social Fund (85%) and the Youth Employment Initiative (100%), 25 public procurement projects are implemented by various Beneficiaries of the public, wider public and private sector. A detailed list of co-financed projects can be found at https://www.structuralfunds.org.cy/en/List-Of-Projects.
Moreover, according to a Ministerial Decision dated 28/9/16, ESF Unit was designated as the Intermediate Body of the Operational Program "Food and / or Basic Material Assistance" 2014-2020 and took over the management responsibilities for the OP. Within the framework of the OP, which is co-financed by the European Aid Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD), 2 public procurement projects are implemented, aiming to provide support (food and basic material assistance) to the most deprived in Cyprus.
In the framework of its tasks, the EFS Unit continuously monitors the progress of the public procurement projects implemented under these Operational Programs, in order to ensure that they are implemented in accordance with national and Union policies and the eligibility rules of the Funds. The ultimate goal of the EFS Unit is to ensure that the annual absorption targets are met and that there is no risk of losing Community funding.
At the same time, the ESF Unit is acting as a contact point for the European Globalization Adjustment Fund (EGF). The purpose of the EGF is to provide support to displaced workers and self-employed persons whose professional activity has ceased in the course of major restructuring events, that are the result of globalization and of technological and environmental changes. The EGF supports beneficiaries in order to reintegrate them into decent and sustainable employment as soon as possible, with particular emphasis on the most disadvantaged groups.
In July 2021, the Regulations concerning the Programming Period 2021 - 2027 were approved. On the basis of these Regulations, the Operational Programme THALIA 2021-2027 was prepared, which analyzes the distribution of resources to be allocated to Cyprus for the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) and which is expected to be approved by the Commission within the first half of 2022. The total Budget of the Programme amounts to €968 million, of which € 222 million (Community contribution) concern the European Social Fund (ESF+). A list of the approved projects that are expected to be co-financed by this Programme, is included in the Ministerial Decision 90.684, dated 13/1/2021.