June 30, 2021

ESF+ Operating Grant – Social Inclusion

Main purpose: The European Commission wishes to engage in 4-year partnerships with networks active in the area of social inclusion for the period 2022-2025. The activities to be funded include, among others:

  • Outreach activities at EU, national and local level with the aim of ensuring awareness for social inclusion and poverty, the available EU support, and the needs and potential of the members of the network.
  • Mutual learning among the network’s members and support in members’ capacity building.
  • Research on the social inclusion problem and the ecosystem in which the network operates.
  • Input to policy design.
  • Support in the implementation of EU level policies and initiatives related to social inclusion and poverty reduction.

Moreover, activities should enable the network to integrate cross-cutting issues (e.g. gender, disability, non-discrimination) into its day-to-day work.

The ultimate goal of the European Commission is to benefit from the network’s expertise, as regards the challenges that vulnerable groups of citizens face in the various Member States, and to address these challenges appropriately.

This operating grant is part of the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) Programme under ESF+ and closely tied to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan that aims to ensure just transitions, to protect livelihoods, to boost employment, to reduce poverty and inequalities and create opportunities for all.

The concept of Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) and Specific Grant Agreements (SGAs), under which this operating grant is implemented, is briefly explained in a note below. Specific information can be retrieved here:

Programme: EaSI strand of the European Social Fund+ (ESF) programme

Institution: European Commission (DG EMPL)

Deadline: 28 September 2021 (FPA) and 30 September 2021 (SGA)

Budget: 56.9 million EUR for the four-year period (2022-2025) and 13.8 million EUR for 2022.

Financing type: Operating grant

Who is eligible: Network organisations with statutory aims falling under the objectives and scope of the priorities of this call for proposals, and which have members in at least 14 member-states.

The two calls for proposals are found here:


Due to time constraints this year, the FPA and SGA are published simultaneously. Applicants should work on both applications at the same time. [First complete the FPA application and then use the FPA application-number in the SGA application.]

  • The FPA is the organisation’s overall framework and budget for the 2022-2025 period that will be used to accommodate the four annual operating grants (the SGAs). The European Commission expects to sign between 18 to 24 FPAs and the value of SGAs shall be stable across the 4 years.
  • The SGA are more detailed yearly plans and expected to range indicatively between 100.000 EUR and 1.000.000 EUR per FPA. Each year, the organisation holding the FPA must re-apply for the SGA.

In light of the difficulties, the social civil society organizations have been facing to generate matching funds since the beginning of the sanitary crisis, the maximum co-financing rate of 80% is temporarily and exceptionally increased to 90% for the first year of the FPA. This rate of 90% is valid for the work programme of 2022 and will be re-assessed on an annual basis.

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