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EU Funds’ enabling conditions
Linked to the overall policy objective of ‘A more social Europe by implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights’, Annex IV of the CPR specifies the need for a “National strategic framework for gender equality” as the enabling condition applicable to the ERDF, ESF+ and Cohesion Fund (according to the proposed CPR, Article 11(1)). This must be fulfilled only if a Member State chooses to implement one of the following two specific objectives through an OP:
- ERDF 4.1: enhancing the effectiveness of labour markets and access to quality employment through developing infrastructure;
- ESF+ 4.1.3: promoting women’s labour market participation, a better work-life balance including access to childcare, a healthy and well-adapted working environment addressing health risks, adaptation of workers, enterprises and entrepreneurs to change, and active and healthy ageing.
In terms of funding for one of these two specific objectives selected by a Member State, their national strategic policy framework for gender equality must fulfil the following requirements at national level (CPR, Annex IV, 'Thematic enabling conditions applicable to ERDF, ESF+ and the Cohesion Fund – Article 11(1)'):
- the evidence-based identification of challenges to gender equality (see Tool 2);
- measures to address gender gaps in employment, pay and pensions, while promoting work-life balance, including through improving access to early childhood education and care, with established targets (see Tool 3, Tool 4 and Tool 6);
- arrangements for monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the strategic policy framework (Tool 6) and data collection methods (see Tool 8 and Tool 11);
- arrangements for ensuring that the framework’s design, implementation, monitoring and review are conducted in close cooperation with equality bodies, social partners and relevant civil society organisations (see Tool 5).