The German Welfare Organisations (BAGFW), to which our member Diakonie Deutschland belongs, together with The Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), welcome a strong EU budget geared to the EU’s long-term objectives and additional funding through the recovery instrument.

In a recently published position paper, BAGFW and DGB express appreciation for a strong MFF built on strategic goals and additional funding provided through the Recovery Instrument. However, when it comes to the proposed cuts in the ESF+, the organisations call for urgent change. The reduced ESF+ budget and the decrease of EU co-financing rates are of particular concern, but more emphasis should also be placed on strengthening the partnership principle. The main calls for change are as follow:

  • The overall ESF+ budget must not be further reduced. The ESF+ is crucial for implementing long-term social inclusion measures, but this is not sufficiently reflected in the current proposal. While the additional resources from the REACT-EU programme provide a temporary increase of ESF, FEAD and ERDF funding, this does not target the continuing social needs. REACT-EU is meant to cushion the more immediate effects of the pandemic, and as such it does not strengthen the ESF+ in the long-term.
  • The proposed decrease of EU co-financing rates is not acceptable. Civil society organisations are already struggling to implement projects under the current funding conditions, and an increase of co-financing rates would lead to increased difficulties in this regard. BAGFW and DGB therefore call for co-financing rates to be guaranteed at least in the amount of the current funding perio
  • The proposed mandatory transfer of ESF+ and ERDF resources to the Just Transition Fund can lead to a further substantial reduction in the ESF+. BAGFW and DGB reject a mandatory reallocation mechanism. Instead, ESF+ and ERDF should accompany the transition to a climate-neutral economy and society within their objectives and synergies between the funds should be used.

Eurodiaconia has highlighted several of the above mentioned issues in its letter to the Council, asking for immediate action in securing sufficient ESF+ funding for social services. Together with our partner organisations we will continue pushing for change in the current proposal.


For more information, please read the full recommendations of BAGFW and DGB.

For more information on our letter to the Council, please read the full text.