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1994 - 1999

In July 1993, the six Regulations governing the Community’s Structural Funds for the period 1994 - 1999 were adopted by the Council.

The major principles that were adopted in 1988 were reserved and strengthened and furthermore new regions were involved, the five Objectives as well as the programming arrangements were amended in order to lengthen the programming period from 5 to 6 years, new types of measures eligible for Community funding were introduced and the available resources of Funds were increased.

For example, according to the Treaty of Maastricht a new Objective was drawn for the realization of new ESF interventions in regard to ‘’the facilitation of adaptation of workers’’ in the changes of industry and in the development of system of production.

In particular, the new Objective 4 was designed to give effect to the new tasks for “the adaptation of workers to industrial changes and changes in production systems’’ contributed to merging the Objective 3 and previous Objective 4 to a broader mission of the ESF for the promotion of employment.

The new Objective 3 focuses on ‘’fighting long-term unemployment, facilitating the occupational integration of young people and people threatened with exclusion from the labour market”.

In the European Social Fund, there have been significant changes regarding the eligibility of the funds and expansion of interventions in the following areas:

  • Training in Objective 1 regions
  • Education in Objectives 1, 2, 5b regions.
  • Research and development in Objectives 1, 2, 5b regions.

In 1997, the Treaty of Amsterdam incorporated the Agreement on the Social Policy as well as the provisions on “Employment” as a new key objective into the European Union’s policies.

In this way, it was emphasized that Employment is an issue of “common concern” and furthermore a new legitimizing basis for equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and women at work was created.

The same year the European Employment Strategy (EES) was inaugurated, and, since then, has played a central role in coordinating EU policies with national employment policies in order to create more and better jobs.

The ESF became the European financial instrument for implementing the European Employment Strategy and is also one of the keystones of the Lisbon Strategy.

In 1999, with a set of 20 legislative measures, consisted of the Action Plan “Agenda 2000’’, a single, integrated framework for the future of the European Union was instituted which included, among other things, a further restructuring of Structural Funds.

This reform has contributed to gathering aid and simplifying their operations by reducing and merging the seven Targets in three for structural interventions.

The new Objectives are focused in:

  • Objective 1: Promotion of the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind.
  • Objective 2: Supporting of economic and social conversion of areas experienced structural difficulties.
  • Objective 3: Supporting of the adaptation and modernization of education, training and employment policies and systems in regions not eligible under Objective 1.

The Objective 3 aimed to ‘’horizontal’’ intervention, which means intervention throughout the Union, beyond the eligible regions outside Objective 1. 

The main objective of ‘’Agenda 2000’’ was the provision of the EU, on the threshold of the 21st century, with a strict financial framework suitable for facing the major challenges, namely ■ the reinforcement to her policies and ■ the high EU enlargement eastward, with the integration of 10 new Member States from Central and Eastern Europe.

Fourth enlargement:
Meanwhile, in 1995, the members of the European family increased once again with the annexation of 3 new Member States of Austria, Finland and Sweden.

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