The employment policy of the EU member states is coordinated by the European Union. Europe closely monitors the member states’ progress in achieving the EU 2020 targets (http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/index_nl.htm). Member states that risk not to reach these targets get recommendations and have to undertake action. The EU also provides specific subsidies to help member states reaching the EU 2020 targets. These subsidies come from the European Structural -and Investment Funds (ESIF). The European Social Fund is one of these ESIF funds and for Flanders it is by far the most important one.
Keeping the EU 2020 strategy in mind, the EU has defined a number of thematic objectives and investment priorities, a kind of assortment which constitutes a basis for negotiations among the European Commission and the member states regarding the priorities and the scope of the respective operational ESIF programmes. During these negotiations a match is established between the issues that Europe absolutely wants to see included in the programme and the issues that are considered to be essential by the member state. The Flemish priorities can be found in several policy documents, such as the Flemish government coalition agreement, the policy documents of the ministers, Pact 2020, the Flemish Reform Programme.
The ESF programme has been shaped along these European and Flemish policy targets. This programme invests almoest a billion euros in the Flemish labour market from 2014 until 2020. 378 million of this programme are being financed by the ESF .