Relaxing EU Social Fund Rules to Fight the Economic Crisis

Luc Van den Brande, President of the Committee of the Regions, has welcomed the EC plan to relax the requirements to access the European Social Fund as a means of stimulating the European economy and overcoming the current economic crisis.

As current rules for EU social funds require co-financing of up to 50%, EU regions and cities often cannot access the funds allocated to them due to the lack of financial resources to meet this criterion. Greater flexibility in EU regional aid rules is necessary to boost training and employment projects and increase the competitiveness of EU regions in vital sectors, such as infrastructure, research and eco-friendly technologies.

A proposal to extend the co-financing derogation to all structural funds has also been made by the Committee of the Regions, which has called on Member States and the European Parliament to give their support and approve legislation to relax the social funds rule.

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