REACT-EU: Italy, Spain and Germany will receive more than €1.2 billion to support employment, social inclusion and digital transition

The Commission has granted more than €1.2 billion to six operational programmes (OPs) of the European Social Fund in Italy, Germany and Spain to help these countries recover from the coronavirus emergency through REACT-EU. In Italy, the national OP ‘Per la Scuola’ will be reinforced by €1 billion to enhance the digital transition in schools through ultra-broadband access and new interactive digital boards and equipment. The additional funding will also go towards the set-up of innovative laboratories, including on sustainability issues, in primary and secondary schools. In Spain, La Rioja will receive an additional €19 million to support unemployed people to find their way to the job market, reinforce the health system by hiring additional staff and support the social and labour market integration of persons with disabilities. The money will also be used to ensure that pupils and students receive continued education throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In Germany, the region of North Rhine-Westphalia will receive €110 million to support, in particular, young people and those who have suffered the most from the coronavirus pandemic, such as people with deficits in basic education. The new funds will help them to acquire additional skills, including digital skills, and find new jobs. Apprentices, in particular in smaller companies, will also receive additional training to acquire new skills that will increase their chances of finding a job after the apprenticeship. Furthermore, the additional EU support will help day-care facilities hire extra staff. €15.4 million will be made available in Saarland to support vocational training. This will help to keep people in jobs or increase their chances of finding a new job. The funds will also be used to improve the digital skills of training providers and employees, and to prevent young people from dropping out of training due to the pandemic, for instance by providing IT equipment for particularly disadvantaged participants and by creating digital learning offers linking schools and regional businesses. In Hessen, €41 million will be used to provide targeted support to those who became in need of assistance during the pandemic, like job seekers, poor families and young people in transition from school to work, and people with poor language skills. Furthermore, the money will be used to enhance people’s digital skills. Finally, around €30 million will be made available to Saxony-Anhalt for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds through new and improved digital counselling and support services. REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6 billion in additional funding (in current prices) to Cohesion policy programmes over the course of 2021 and 2022 for the green and digital transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery.