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European Social Fund: 673 million for the promotion of bright minds

Minister Dulig: “Setting the vocational course for thousands of people”

Of the 673 million Euros available to Saxony in the 2014 to 2020 funding period under the European Social Fund (ESF), more than 97 percent have now been approved. Across the state, almost 40,000 projects could be funded with this money.

Saxony’s Minister of Economics and Labor Martin Dulig: “The European Social Fund improves access to jobs, provides qualifications and supports social integration. Thousands of people in Saxony have been able to shape their future and set their professional course thanks to the ESF programs. We will continue to need this support in the future, because we have other enormous challenges ahead of us in addition to a catch-up process in our economy after Corona and the ever-closer coal phase-out. Ongoing technological developments are leading to an automated and digitized world of work. Employees and companies must stay on the ball, because only those who continue their education can help shape this transformation process.”

ESF funding was used to support, among other things, around 26,000 vocational training courses through the continuing education check (company continuing education checks: 14,461, individual continuing education checks: 11,226), the SMILE start-up initiative, which supports members of universities and research institutions in preparing their entrepreneurial independence, and the InnoTeam “Construction System 2.0 for Carbon Concrete”.

REACT-EU for the ESF in Saxony

For acute pandemic management, an additional 16 million Euros of REACT-EU funding is flowing into the ESF Saxony. The funding follows on from the current ESF program and focuses on education, training, and employment. The funds can be used until the end of 2023, closing the gap between acute crisis management and support for long-term economic recovery through the programs of the 2021-2027 funding period. The funds will flow into four areas:

– Continuing Vocational Education and Training Saxony (REACT-EU).
– Extracurricular projects on education for green and digital transformation.
– Higher Education (young researchers).
– Transformation in companies to secure a green and digital future

Applications for ESF funding from REACT can be submitted to the Sächsische Aufbaubank (SAB).

Outlook funding period 2021-2027
Preparations for the 2021 to 2027 funding period are in full swing, with €590 million in ESF funding available for this purpose. The ESF – like the European Structural and Investment Funds as a whole – is designed for the long term thanks to the seven-year financial framework at European level. Thus, the ESF offers the opportunity to trigger additional economic and employment policy impulses in the long term.


For three decades now, the ESF has helped shape the development of employment policy in Saxony. More than 3.6 billion Euros of EU funds have been used during this period thanks to Europe’s financial support. And in the last 20 years alone, more than 1.3 million Saxons have received support from ESF funds.

Information on the ESF:

Source: Press release of the SMWA from 22.12.2021

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