European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), Parliament Vote on draft opinion

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On 30 May 2018, the Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) which pools the scope and resources of several funds and programmes, including the European Social Fund and the Health Programme.

It has been voted in the Parliament on 12 November. The file’s Rapporteur Cristian-Silviu Buşoi (led by ENVI committee) approved the reinforcement of the Union’s social dimension and the need to further simplify fund programming, but at the same tine found the withdrawal of health as a separate and central programme undoubtedly to be in the detriment of Member States’ citizens, who already overwhelmingly support the notion of the EU intervening further in health. He considered that the Health Programme should have been re-established as a separate programme during the next Multiannual Financial Framework, and thus have the capacity to face the forthcoming worrying realities and health threats. The Rapporteur also found the significant decrease in funding for the Health strand unacceptable. While the financial envelope available to the Health Programme 2014 – 2020 is EUR 458 million in current prices, the Commission has decreased it to EUR 413 million in current prices. In respect of the content of the proposal, the Rapporteur considered that access to quality, sustainable and affordable patient-centred care services should be stressed, that the Union’s objectives and actions in the field of health should include fostering disease prevention and early diagnosis, and health promotion throughout the lifetime.

189 amendments were tabled in ENVI, making a total of 210 amendments (together with the draft opinion). The Rapporteur and Shadows have agreed on 11 compromises.