The EU Programme for Social Change and Innovation (PSCI) is an instrument to be managed directly by the Commission, in support of employment and social policies across the EU. It is part of the Commission's proposal for the EU regional, employment and social policy for 2014-2020.
The PSCI integrates three existing programmes: Progress (Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity), EURES (European Employment Services) and the European Progress Microfinance Facility and extends their coverage.
It will enable the Commission to increase policy coherence and impact of its instruments, which have common objectives, thus contributing to the Europe 2020 Strategy for Jobs and Growth.
The PSCI will support policy coordination, sharing of best practices, capacity-building and testing of innovative policies, with the aim that the most successful measures be up-scaled with support from the European Social Fund.
With the new proposal, the overall EURES system will be strengthened beyond 2013:
-EURES activities at national and cross-border level will be financed under the European Social Fund, supporting workers' mobility and helping companies recruit abroad
-at EU level, the EURES Portal will offer modernised self-service tools for jobseekers and employers. Moreover, the EU level of EURES will be used to create and develop new targeted mobility schemes such as the Your First EURES Job scheme. This is currently being carried out as a pilot project under the form of a Preparatory Action to help young people (18-30) find a job in another Member State, while encouraging SMEs, the largest group of employers in the EU, to offer young people work.
The overall EURES budget is expected to remain the same, at around 20 million euro per year, but the budget foreseen for Your First EURES Job as from 2014 will be EUR 10 million per year.
Microfinance facility and Social Entrepreneurship
The new programme will:
-extend the support given to microcredit providers under the current European Progress Microfinance Facility (launched in 2010)
-provide funding for capacity-building of microfinance institutions
-include investments for developing and expanding social enterprises, i.e. businesses whose primary purpose is social, rather than to maximise profit distribution to private owners or shareholders.
The total proposed budget for the microfinance and social entrepreneurship axis is around EUR 192 million for the period 2014-2020. Access to microfinance would receive EUR 87 million that could result in EUR 400 to 450 million of microloans. Institutional capacity building would receive almost EUR 9 million and EUR 95.5 million would be dedicated to support to social enterprise development.
For the period 2014-2020, Progress will continue its current activities (analysis, mutual learning and grants) and will have a specific budget for social innovation and experimentation, i.e. testing of innovative policies on a small scale, with the aim that the most successful ones can be up-scaled, including with ESF support.
Out of the EUR 574 million proposed for Progress in the 2014-2020 period, EUR 97 million will be allocated to experimental projects.