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The contribution of the European Social Fund in Greece 

Greece accession to the European Community held the 1st January 1981.

During the first period of its integration in March 1982, submitted for approval and funding of ‘’Greek Memorandum’’ about the provision of specific financial assistance ‘’to remove the adverse impact on the Greek economy …’’

The agreement between Greece and European Commission was foreseen the EU funding to the Integrated Mediterranean Programs of 2,5 billion ECU, over a period of five years (later extended to ten).


The IMP included, inter alia, support of human resources through the European Social Fund (ESF) in a multi-annual programming framework.

The implementation of the first ESF interventions for the support of human resources and the integration of Greece into the European Community was held by the adoption of a specific structural regulation of the Council, originally for a five years period, regarding the creation of:

  • Vocational Training Centers for the general population in Athens and
  • Centers for the rehabilitation of people with mental disabilities throughout the country.

Since 1988 and onwards, with the adoption of policy for economic and social cohesion and the subsequent reform of the Structural Funds to reduce regional disparities the institution of the Community Support Frameworks was inaugurated.

‘’The implementation of Community Support Frameworks consists of a programme of development and structural policy of the country for nearly all sectors of economic activity’’. 


In the years between 1989 - 1993, Greece was enforced with the implementation of the A’ Community Support Framework (CSF).  

During the first period, the European Social Fund participated in the financing of actions contributing to the ‘’promotion of Human Resources’’ and was invited to assist with enhanced actions of:

  • Vocational training
  • Actions of Innovative character regarding the content, methodology and organization of vocational training for the improvement of employment.
  • Counseling and vocational guidance to long-term unemployed people in order to find work.  

The categories of the population that benefited from those actions were:

  • Short- term unemployed
  • Long- term unemployed and
  • Young people

With the implementation of these actions, the participation rate of young people in education increased significantly and access was improved to both initial education and vocational training.

The number of researchers has also been increased as well as expenditures spending on research and development. 

In addition to the national and regional programmes, the Commission adopts the Community Initiatives in the areas they should be a priority or have significance for the completion the Single Market aiming at ensuring economic and social cohesion.

In this framework three Community Initiatives are being implemented aimed at supporting employment. These initiatives are:

‘’EURO-FORM’’: it is for the creation of new occupational qualifications, new skills and new employment opportunities.

‘’NOW’’: it is for the promotion equal opportunities and integration of woman in employment and vocational training.

‘’HORIZON’’: it is for improvement of access to employment of the disabled and the disadvantaged.


During 1994 - 1999, Greece participated in the regional development of the European Community through the Second Community Support Framework (CSF). 

The contribution of the ESF during the B’ CSF was associated with the human resources development and the fostering of the structures of employment.

For the development of human resources, ESF focused mainly on the 4th axis of the CSF entitled ‘’HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION OF EMPLOYMENT’’, which included the following Operational Programmes:

  • ‘’Continuous vocational Training and Promotion of Employment’’
  • ‘’Combating of exclusion from the Labor Market’’
  • ‘’Modernization of Public Administration’’  

The management of the first and second Operational Programmes (O.P.) undertook the General Secretariat for the management of European Funds of Ministry of Employment and Social Protection, established in December 1993. Both OP include actions aiming at human resources development and support, which can be divided into five (5) basic categories:

  • Continuous vocational Training of Unemployed and Employees.
  • Promotion of Employment either by assisting/granting of new jobs’ creation or by enhancing the work experience.
  • Support and assistance for disadvantaged groups to integrate into the labor market and integration into the socio-economic web of the country.
  • Support/ strengthening or/and creation of structures/systems of diagnosis of labour market needs and improvement of the level of Continuous Vocational Training.
  • Modernization of Public Administration.

Beneficiaries of the categories of actions were:

  • Employees in the private, public and broader public sector.
  • Unemployed (former employees or/and newcomers to the labour market).
  • People with disabilities and other groups who are excluded or at risk of exclusion from the Labour Market.  

By the co-financed actions the ESF contributed to:

  • The creation of the first for Promotion Employment Centres of Manpower Employment Organization (OAED).
  • The establishment and operation of the National Accreditation Centre for Continuing Vocational Training (EKEPIS).
  • The application of innovative actions targeted to a better association between vocational training and employment.
  • The additional action of promotion of employment programmes of Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) in combination with the vocational training programmes for the unemployed.
  • The promotion of equal employment opportunities for both genders, through special incentives and programmes to support women’s employment and entrepreneurship
  • The application of specific programmes for socially vulnerable groups threatened by unemployment and social exclusion*, with particular emphasis on the "Greek language courses" for immigrants -repatriates – refugees.
  • The creation of approximately 190 Nurseries and Child care Centres and Children’s creative Centres for school children and
  • 191 Social Welfare Centers to serve the elderly in collaboration with the Municipal Enterprises across the country.

In the same programming period were implemented the Community Initiative ADAPT and EMPLOYMENT, which related directly to the “”Human Resources Development and Promotion of Employment” axis.

* People with disabilities, immigrants-refugees, prisoners, former prisoners and young offenders, former substance users, people in remote areas, single mothers, Roma, unemployed aged 45 - 64 years old and mentally ill.

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