Supporting financial instruments through European Social Fund (ESF)

Published on 13 November 2015

Event participants

Picture: Event participants

On the 4th of November 2015 financial instruments under the ESF were discussed at a seminar in Warsaw. This seminar was part of a series of ESF seminars conducted in Paris, Rome and Warsaw.

Around 70 participants attended the seminar in Warsaw which shows high interest in financial instruments under the ESF. Following the opening and welcome speeches by Andrea Da Pozzo, European Commission and Ando Siitam, European Investment Bank practical experiences on the use of financial instruments under the ESF were presented. This included examples from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

All practical examples showed the importance of combining financial support with non-financial support. The entrepreneurship promotion fund in Lithuania showed how ESF financial instruments can help to change attitudes of stakeholders towards business investments, e.g. combining loans with training for final recipients can help increase both the confidence and competence of entrepreneurs to progress their business ideas. A lesson learned from the Polish case reinforces the role of integrated support and highlighted the value of counselling as well as reduced bureaucratic barriers. Lastly the Latvian case showed that training and consultation is helpful to assess the risks and opportunities to make realistic business plans.

Ando Siitam, European Investment Bank; Sabine Zillmer, fi-compass expert

Picture: Ando Siitam, European Investment Bank; Sabine Zillmer, fi-compass expert 

The presentations of practical examples were followed by a presentation on ESF programmes and the potential use of financial instruments. Other speakers highlighted the availability of fi-compass support to ESF programmes as well as how financial instruments can support employment and social innovation under the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). This included more detailed information about the potential for microfinance.

Shadin Viratham, DG EMPL

Picture: Shadin Viratham, DG EMPL

The seminar concluded with training on the initial design phase in the life cycle of an ESF financial instrument. Participants discussed the basic steps of an ex-ante assessment, plus implementation options for financial instruments as well as the pros and cons of financial products. Working groups at the seminar were split by the most common thematic objectives in ESF programmes, ESIF thematic objective 8, 9 and 10. Discussions lead to the conclusion that financial instruments are a useful tool and can also support the objectives related to the ESF.

Similarly useful events about ESF financial instruments are arranged for Paris (October 22nd) and in Rome (October 21st).

All the presentations from the Warsaw seminar are available on the fi-compass website.