EaSI - Programme for Employment and Social Innovation

Start date: 
Wednesday, 1 January 2014
Thursday, 31 December 2020
Overview and objectives: 

The Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission to support employment, social policy and labour mobility across the EU. EaSI funding is used to test ideas for reform out on the ground, evaluate them and then upscale the best ones across Member States. The concept of social innovation, which has a special focus on youth, is at the heart of EaSI. The programme will provide €10-14 million a year for social innovation activities.

EaSI brings together three EU programmes managed separately between 2007 and 2013:

Starting in January 2014, these programmes will form the three axes of EaSI. By grouping these programmes together in one umbrella programme, the Commission hopes to build on their past successes and achieve common objectives for EU employment and social policies. Improved coordination between the programmes, greater policy coherence as well as increased efficiency in delivery and management are also expected benefits of this move.

EaSI does not stand in isolation. Together with the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Globalisation Fund (EGF), it forms a coherent set of EU programmes to promote employment, social protection and social inclusion, as well as working conditions for the period 2014-20.

The instrument feeds into the EU’s ten-year growth strategy by supporting the implementation of the employment and social objectives of Europe 2020. It also supports the roll-out of the seven flagship initiatives launched in 2010, notably the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, and Youth on the Move.

EaSI’s objectives complement a range of other recent European Commission initiatives tackling social and economic challenges, particularly the Employment, Social Investment and Youth Employment packages. The instrument’s goals also dovetail with employment and social aspects of the European Semester.

EaSI objectives

  • Strengthen ownership of EU objectives and coordination of action at EU and national levels in the areas of employment, social affairs and inclusion.
  • Support the development of adequate social protection systems and labour market policies by promoting good governance, mutual learning and social innovation.
  • Modernise EU legislation and ensure effective application of EU legislation.
  • Promote geographical mobility and boost employment opportunities by developing an open labour market.
  • Increase the availability and accessibility of microfinance for vulnerable groups and micro-enterprises, and increase access to finance for social enterprises

Coordinated action

Implementing policies to tackle socio-economic problems is mainly the responsibility of Member States and regions. However, there is growing agreement that coordinated action at EU level can improve policy on the ground.

This is where EaSI has a role to play. Its three programmes – which will continue under the same names – are highly complementary. They all pursue the same goal of promoting employment, social inclusion and labour mobility.

A) The following types of actions may be financed under the PROGRESS axis:

1. Analytical activities:

a) gathering of data and statistics, taking account of both qualitative and quantitative criteria, and developing common methodologies, classifications, micro-simulations, indicators and benchmarks, where appropriate broken down by sex and age-group;

b) surveys, studies, analyses and reports, including through the funding of networks of experts and development of expertise in thematic sections;

c) qualitative and quantitative evaluations and impact assessments carried out by both public and private bodies;

d) monitoring and assessment of the transposition and application of Union law;

e) preparation and implementation of social policy experimentation as a method for testing and evaluating innovative solutions with a view to up-scaling them;

f) dissemination of the results of those analytical activities.


2. Mutual-learning, awareness and dissemination activities:

a) exchanges and dissemination of good practice, innovative approaches and experience, peer reviews, benchmarking and mutual learning at European level;

b) Council Presidency events, conferences and seminars;

c) training of legal and policy practitioners;

d) drafting and publication of guides, reports and educational material and measures relating to information, communication and media coverage of initiatives supported by the Programme;

e) information and communication activities;

f) development and maintenance of information systems in order to exchange and disseminate information on Union policy and legislation and on the labour market.


3. Support with regard to:

a) the operating costs of key Union-level networks the activities of which relate to and contribute to the objectives of the Progress axis;

b) capacity-building of national administrations and specialist services responsible for promoting geographical mobility designated by the Member States and microcredit


c) organisation of working groups of national officials to monitor the implementation of Union law;

d) networking and cooperation among specialist bodies and other relevant stakeholders, national, regional and local authorities and employment services at European level;

e) funding of European-level observatories, including on key thematic sections;

f) exchange of personnel between national administrations.


B) The EURES axis may be used to finance actions to promote voluntary mobility of individuals in the Union, on a fair basis, and to remove mobility obstacles, and in particular:

a) the development and the activities of EURES cross-border partnerships where requested by services territorially responsible for border regions;

b) the provision of information, counselling, placement and recruitment services for cross-border workers;

c) the development of the multilingual digital platform for the clearance of job vacancies and applications;

d) the development of targeted mobility schemes, following calls for proposals, to fill job vacancies where labour market shortcomings have been identified, and/or to help workers with a propensity to be mobile, where a clear economic need has been identified;

e) mutual learning among EURES actors and training of EURES advisors, including EURES cross-border partnership advisors;

f) information and communication activities to raise awareness of the benefits of geographical and occupational mobility in general and of the activities and services provided by EURES.


C) The Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship (MF/SE) axis supports actions in two thematic sections:

a) microcredit and microloans for vulnerable groups and micro-enterprises;

b) social entrepreneurship.

Until 2016, Progress Microfinance will run alongside the new MF/SE programme.

Catchment areas: 

A) Participation in the PROGRESS axis shall be open to: EU countries; EEA countries, in accordance with the EEA Agreement, and EFTA countries; EU candidate countries and potential candidate countries, in line with the framework agreements concluded with them on their participation in the Programmes.

B) Participation in the EURES axis shall be open to: Member States; EEA countries, in accordance with the EEA Agreement, and the Swiss Confederation.

C) Participation under the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis shall be open to: EU countries; EEA countries, in accordance with the EEA Agreement, and EFTA countries, EU candidate countries and potential candidate countries, in line with the framework agreements concluded with them on their participation in the Programmes.

Recipient bodies: 

A) The PROGRESS axis is open to all public and/or private bodies, actors and institutions, and in particular: National, regional and local authorities; employment services; specialist bodies provided for under union law; the social partners; non-governmental organisations; higher education institutions and research institutes; experts in evaluation and in impact assessment; national statistical offices; the media. It can support cooperation with international organisations, and in particular with the Council of Europe, the OECD, the ILO, with other United Nations bodies and with the World Bank.

B) The EURES axis is open to: National, regional and local authorities; employment services; social partner organisations and other interested parties from EU countries and EEA countries, in accordance with the EEA Agreement.

C) In the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship (MF/SE) axis the European Commission does not directly finance entrepreneurs or social enterprises, but enables selected microcredit providers and social enterprise investors in the EU to increase lending. Organisations that can apply for funding are public and private bodies established at national, regional or local level and providing microcredit for persons and microenterprises and/or financing for social enterprises in these countries.

Financing terms: 

The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020 shall amount to EUR 919 469 000, in current prices. Indicative allocation of funds: PROGRESS 61 %, Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship 21 %, and EURES 18 %.

A) Where activities under the PROGRESS axis are financed following a call for proposals, they may receive Union co-financing which shall not exceed, as a general rule, 80 % of the total eligible expenditure. Any financial support in excess of this ceiling shall only be granted in duly justified exceptional circumstances.

B) Where activities under the EURES axis are financed following a call for proposals, they may receive Union co-financing which shall not exceed, as a general rule, 95 % of the total eligible expenditure. Any financial support in excess of this ceiling shall only be granted in duly justified exceptional circumstances.

C) Except in the case of joint actions, the financial appropriations allocated to the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis shall cover the full cost of the actions implemented through financial instruments, including payment obligations towards financial intermediaries, such as losses from guarantees, management fees for the entities managing the Union's contribution and any other eligible costs

Programme budget: 
€919 469 000.00
Eligible cost: 
Supplementary information: 

PROGRESS: the EU programme promoting policy reforms in employment and social affairs. Find out more at  http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1082&langId=en

EURES helps citizens and businesses with information on jobs and learning opportunities throughout Europe. Find out more at: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1083&langId=en

Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship: financing social entrepreneurs and helping more vulnerable people do business. Find out more: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1084&langId=en

Calls developing it: 

VP/2014/003. Information, consultation and participation of representatives of undertakings

The purpose of this Call for Proposals is to fund operations aimed at developing employee involvement in undertakings - meaning any mechanism, including information, consultation and participation, through which employees' representatives may exercise an influence on decisions to be taken within the company - in particular by raising awareness and contributing to the application of EU law and policies in this area.


VP/2015/001 Support for social dialogue

Objectives of this call include measures and initiatives related to the adaptation of social dialogue to changes in employment and work related challenges, such as addressing modernisation of the labour market, quality of work, anticipation, preparation and management of change and restructuring, the greening of the economy, flexicurity, skills, (intra-EU) labour mobility, migration, youth employment, health and safety at work, modernisation of social protection systems, reconciliation of work and family life, gender equality, action in the field of anti-discrim

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