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The European Social Fund (hereinafter the ESF), created in 1957, is the European Union’s main financial instrument that helps to implement strategic goals of the employment policy in the EU. The main objective of the ESF is preventing unemployment and combating it, developing human resources and integration into the labour market, reducing social exclusion and promoting a higher employment rate, promoting equality between women and men.

ESF is investing in people for 50 years:

1957–1971 – Seeking equality between member states

1972-1983 – Restructuring was supported

1984-1988 – Conditions for structural changes were created

1989-1994 – Support to economic and social cohesion was increased

1994-1999 – The measure for support of structural strategy was developed, Integration of the disabled into the labour market was started

2000-2006 – Regulation of the labour market policy, Establishment of new workplaces through support to entrepreneurs

2007-2013 – Strengthening of multilateral cooperation, Support to convergence process