The ESF Managing Authorities Network in the Danube Region aims at strengthening cooperation and coordination between ESF+ Programmes and the EU Danube Strategy for a greater positive impact on social cohesion in the Danube Region.

The network is organised by PAC9 “People and Skills” and PAC10 “Institutional Capacity” together with the ESF Managing Authorities in the Danube Region and other partners (e.g. DG EMPL). 


Since 2015, the network works together to find a common ground for ESF relevant policy proposals in order to develop and establish state of the art policies in

  • labour market policy,
  • governance and
  • social inclusion

that takes into account macro-regional dynamics and interdependencies in the Danube Region with competent and viable transnational partnerships.



What are we doing?


In order to achieve the network’s vision, all partners agreed to work towards:

  • Developing a common understanding of the role of the EUSDR in relation to the ESF / ESF+;
  • Consolidating the network: Enhancing Know-how-transfer and co-designing of a state of the art of social innovation; capitalising on and disseminating good practice out of project results and experiences;
  • Handling spill-over effects: Curbing and/or managing negative spill over effects and increasing
    the positive impact through closer coordination;
  • Managing transnational cooperation: Building a viable programme framework to manage
    transnational cooperation.

Against this background, the ESF+ network aims at fostering transnational cooperation within the ESF Operational Programmes in the Danube Region, to connect cooperation and investment, and serve as a joint knowledge hub for implementation, planning and exchange of experience with social policies. In doing so, the cooperation capitalizes upon an ongoing exchange of experience and mutual learning with the EU Baltic Sea Strategy and its network of ESIF Managing Authorities, as well as inputs from the European Commission (DG EMPL).  


Download: Vision Paper. Network of ESF Managing Authorities in the Danube Region (pdf)


How was the network established?


The ESF Managing Authorities Network was established following the Meeting of Ministers in charge of EU funds at the margins of the EUSDR Annual Forum in Ulm, Germany in 2015. Ever since, the network has gradually and systematically gained in maturity, ranging from the discussion of concrete examples/projects and challenges and opportunities in the implementation of transnational cooperation within the ESF up to the identification of common topicsand, subsequently, the definition of joint text modules related to the EUSDR/transnational cooperation in the upcoming MFF 2021-27.


Since 2017, PAC9 “People and Skills” and PAC10 10 “Institutional Capacity” took on the role of a network secretariat. The meetings are chaired by the Managing Authorities.

The ESF network is the first network of ESIF Managing Authorities in the Danube Region.





Short description
8th Meeting, Online, June 2021 Exchange about progress in the programming of ESF+ Operational Programmes 2021-2027 as well as continuation of discussion on topics for transnational cooperation. Documents will follow soon.
7th Meeting, Online, November 2020 Exchange on the state of programming and assessment of topics for joint cooperation.
6th Meeting, Vienna, March 2020 Discussion on further specifications for the text module (provision) on transnational cooperation for the Operational Programmes. In addition, the Managing Authorities agreed on a short list of 7 potential topics for transnational cooperation that will be assessed in the course of programming. The short-listed topics are in line with the actions of the EU Danube Strategy.
5th Meeting, Sofia, October 2019 Discussion of concrete projects and examples for transnational cooperation, ofhow to integrate transnational cooperation in the MFF 2021-27; development of a draft text to be used for the new Operational Programmes and transnational cooperation relatedto the EUSDR. This can be used both for OPs dedicated entirely to transnational cooperation as well as for OPs integrating transnational cooperation.MAs expressed the wish to meet twice per year.
4th Meeting, Bratislava, September 2018

Presentation of transnational cooperation in Poland and Bulgaria.

5 countries of the Danube Region (BG, HR, SI, SK, Baden-Württemberg, (+PL)) stressed that they intend to implement transnational cooperation in the upcoming multi-annual financial framework.

3rd Meeting, Vienna, May 2017  Presentations of the ESF network of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), the ESF transnational platforms implemented by AEIDL on behalf of DG EMPL, and Baden-Württemberg on lean fund management. Discussion on joint topics for transnational cooperation: an overview of projects could contribute to identifying potential for transnational cooperation and synergies.
2nd Meeting, Munich, July 2016  Discussion of simplified cost options, common topics for potential transnational calls, including their implementation. The cooperation between PAC9 and PAC10 in the framework of the network was initiated (ESF OPs also support TO11/institutional capacity).
1st Meeting, Ulm, October 2015  Foundation of the network, related to a meeting of ministers in charge of EU funds.Besides simplification and e-cohesion, transnational cooperation was seen as one of the main challenges in the implementation of ESF OPs.


The Network of ESF Managing Authorities in the Danube Region is an activity to contribute to Priority Area 10’s ACTION 4: To support better coordination of funding.