The European Commission adopted on November 28 the Bulgarian human resource development operational programme that envisages spending more than a billion euro on creating jobs and strengthening social cohesion in the country, the EC said.
The programme covers the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) in the period 2014-2020.
This programme outlines the priorities and objectives to spend 1092 million euro (of which 939 million euro from the EU budget) contributing to creating jobs and strengthening social cohesion in Bulgaria.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen said: “This is the first approved Bulgarian Operational Programme (2014-2020) for all European structural and investment funds.
“This is a noteworthy fact, as it demonstrates Bulgaria’s commitment to address in a priority manner its persistent employment and social inclusion challenges and to boost its human capital development. I am pleased that the European Social Fund will continue serving as a key financial instrument adding significant value to the national employment and social policies,” Thyssen said.
Kristalina Georgieva, Vice President in charge of Budget and Human Resources, said: “This is an important step for Bulgaria in using funds from the new generation of programmes financed from the EU structural funds.
“I am confident the new programme from the social fund will be used effectively. The Commission will work in partnership with Bulgaria to make sure this programme helps people find jobs and integrate better into society,” Georgieva said.
The programme has two overall goals: boosting employment and reducing social exclusion and poverty levels. Investment will focus on the following priorities:
Employment will be boosted by projects (about 550 million euro) targeting better access to jobs and helping long-term unemployed and young people, particularly those not in employment, education or training up to 29 years of age.
Improvements to public employment services will play a key role, and more such services will be established. Self-employment and the capacity to adapt quickly to change will be encouraged.
In addition, lifelong learning opportunities will be offered to all groups and age levels, the EC said. Workers and jobseekers will thus receive help in obtaining new skills and qualifications to improve their career opportunities, the statement said.
About 286 million euro is dedicated to social inclusion measures.
“These will target groups such as the young and older members of society, those with disabilities, and minorities such as Roma. Social entrepreneurship and access to vocational training will be promoted, as will better access to health and social care services.”
The OP will also fund improvements to public services that deal with employment and social or health-related matters. Funding for transnational exchanges of good practice will help to achieve this.
Over the funding period, the programme is expected to boost the qualifications of about 100 000 people, give 28 000 jobseekers a work placement and help a further 17 000 young people with employment and training measures.
About 160 000 people will benefit from lifelong learning opportunities while several thousand children, including those with disabilities, will get better access to health care, the EC said.