It is clear that in order to be able to develop their role as social partners and enhance social dialogue, some national social partner organisations need financial support.

EU and national social partners have underlined these concerns in the ESF Committee as well as in several instances such as the previous capacity-building activities of the EU social partners as part of integrated projects, notably including a seminar in Riga in March 2015. More recently this has been in the thematic group discussions as part of the follow-up to the 5 March conference on “a new start for social dialogue”. The European social partners also held a seminar on the ESF and capacity building

A better use of the European Social Fund can be essential to support the existence of well-structured bipartite social dialogue at all appropriate levels in the EU Member States, especially at local and regional levels. It can also play an important role to achieve better implementation of social dialogue outcomes.

This project will have the following main goals:

  1. To build on the implementation of the partnership principle and the role of social partners in the delivery and monitoring of ESF activities by mapping the ESF support to capacity-building of social partners. There will be a particular focus on convergence[1] and transition[2] regions to identify where the ESF plays a positive role and where there are unmet needs of social partner organisations;
  2. To explore the extent to which capacity building facilitates, or the contribution that it could make in the future to, social dialogue and the implementation of social dialogue instruments in convergence and transition regions;
  3. To gather and exchange information on practical examples of projects funded by the ESF at national, regional, and local levels.

To help partners to carry out this activities, an expert will be subcontracted and will be selected on a joint basis following a call for tender.


  1. Fact finding phase through a jointly agreed survey and phone interviews (this activity will be undertaken by the subcontracted expert).
  2. Two joint cluster seminars bringing together social partner representatives from the national and/or regional levels in the countries with convergence/transition regions. Regional and national managing authorities will also be invited.
Seminar 1 “The role of the ESF in capacity building of social partners” 14-15 September 2017, Prague, Czech Republic
Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain
  • Agenda
  • List of participants
Seminar 2 “The role of the ESF in capacity building of social partners” 4-5 December 2017, Rome, Italy
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia
  • Agenda
  • List of participants
Conference “The role of the ESF in capacity building of social partners”
9 March 2018 – Brussels, Belgium
all target and resource countries