ESF in Austria

The European Social Fund (ESF) is one of the two Structural Funds with which the European Union strives to reduce the differences between the Member States and promote economic and social cohesion. The ESF contributes to the creation of jobs. It helps people attain educational and training qualifications and to reduce disadvantages on the labour market. The aim of the European Union is to ensure that all people have chances on the labour market. All the Member States develop their own strategy in the framework of an Operational Programme.

Who benefits?
Public administrations, non-governmental organisations, charitable organisations and the social partners working in the field of employment and social inclusion can draw down ESF funding. There is no direct funding for individuals. Instead it is implemented in the framework of a range of programmes through project promoters and responsible institutions. The allocation of funding is decided according to criteria which are laid down in the Operational Programme for Employment and in the individual funding regulations of the partners.

Who should you contact?
Under the aegis of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection the following organisations are involved in the implementation of the ESF Programme: The Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, the Federal Ministry for Science and Research, the Public Employment Service, the Länder administrations and in Vienna, the Wiener ArbeitnehmerInnen Förderungsfonds (Vienna Employment Promotion Fund).

Funding period 2007 – 2013
The current funding period lasts from 1st  January 2007 until 31st December 2013. In Austria, the European Social Fund provides a budget of 472 million Euros for this period. This is complemented by 642 million Euros from national budgets. The priorities of the funding are laid down in the Operational Programme for Employment.

Who gets funding from the ESF?
The beneficiaries of the European Social Fund are published in the Internet. The list includes the institutional beneficiaries of the public funds. The names of the individuals who take part in the ESF measures are not published.

Phasing out funding for the Burgenland
The Burgenland is the least economically productive region in Austria. In the current funding period it gets special transitional support. This includes 52 million Euros from the ESF. More information on the ESF in the Burgenland can be found on the website of Regionalmanagement Burgenland (link to, the regional development agency of the Burgenland.

Monitoring Committee
Every Operational Programme has its own Monitoring Committee which, together with the ESF Managing Authority, ensures that the programmes are implemented effectively and properly. Alongside the relevant ministries, the social partners and non-governmental organisations are members of the Monitoring Committee with voting power.

Overall coordination

The Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK), Unit VI/9, is responsible for the overall coordination of the ESF in Austria.

More information on the European Social Fund in Europe is available on the European Commission Website (external link).