Legal Framework

EU legal basis

The Regulation (EU) no. 1303/2013 (pdf) with joint provisions for the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESI Fund) 2014-2020 is the so-called umbrella regulation of the European Commission, from which the guidelines for the implementation of the fund are derived.

The joint rules are supplemented by specific rules for the respective fund, which are laid down in separate Regulations. The relevant Regulation for the ESF is the ESF Regulation (EU) 1304/2013 (pdf).

In addition, a number of so-called delegated acts and implementing acts as well as guidelines of the European Commission supplement the specifications and regulations for the realisation of the ESI funds. All of the EU legal bases as well as guidelines and more detailed documents are available from the website of the European Commission (Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy).

The Austrian legal basis

The partnership agreement (PA) drawn up at a national level forms the link between the EU framework and the individual national and regional programmes of the different ESI funds. The Austrian Partnership Agreement (pdf) was approved on 17 October 2014 by the European Commission (EC).

The Austrian operational programme (OP) for the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) (pdf) for the funding period 2014-2020 specifies the thematic ESF funding priorities for Austria and were approved by the European Commission on 28 November 2014.

Given that the implementation of the ESF (as well as that of the other ESI funds) in Austria affects the sphere of action of the federal government as well as that of the provinces, the constitution requires (Art. 15a of the Act on the Federal Constitution) that an agreement be concluded about competences, responsibilities and liabilities. The “Agreement between the federal government and the provinces according to Art. 15a of the Act on the Federal Constitution on the administrative and monitoring system in Austria for the realisation of the operational programmes within the framework of the goal ‘Investments in Growth and Employment’ and the goal ‘European Territorial Cooperation’ for the period 2014 – 2020” (15a agreement) was adopted on 10 and 11 May 2016 in the Ministerial Council as well as by the meeting of the provincial governors.

The Special Guideline of the Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection on the realisation of projects within the framework of the European Social Fund (pdf) 2014–2020 (SG) regulates the general and specific conditions for the promotion of projects with ESF funding and national co-financing. The annexes of the SG lay down in detail the types of costs which can be subsidised.