level conference Visions for the Future - ESF Innovations taking place at
Saariselkä on Thursday and Friday 16 - 17 November will mark the opening of the
European Social Fund programming period 2007-2013. In this conference, EU
member states will exchange experiences and examine means and tools through
which the activities of the Social Fund can be targeted to achieve the EU's
employment and competitiveness objectives. This conference is part of Finland's
On Thursday, the main speakers of the conference will be Minister of Labour Tarja Filatov and Commissioner Vladimir Špidla. The discussion topics of the day will be entrepreneurship and adaptability as well as employability and integration in the labour market. Under the theme of entrepreneurship, the conference will look at strengthening Europe's position in global competition. This will require new approaches, in which SMEs in particular will play an important role. The employment panel will discuss measures for improving employability and at the same time facilitating the inclusion in the labour market of the most disadvantaged groups.
On Friday, the main speaker will be the Polish Minister of Regional Development Grazyna Gesicka. As discussion topics will be featured lifelong learning and innovations as well as international co-operation. The significance of lifelong learning will increase further as international economic competition intensifies and as Europe moves towards a knowledge-based economy and society. The panel on international co-operation will discuss reinforcing cross-border networks by means of sharing information, experiences, results and good practices.
A total of 240 participants from Finland, other EU member states and Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey will be attending the conference. Of these, 110 will be coming from outside Finland. An exhibition will take place in connection with the conference, in which member states will present their activities and ESF programmes. The conference will be organised by the Ministry of Labour in co-operation with the EU Commission and the ESF authorities of Poland.
The European Social Fund is a central employment, educational and industrial policy instrument of the European Union. In 2000-2006, the total funding for activities co-financed by the ESF in Finland was Eur 3 milliard, of which the EU's share was Eur 900 million. The remainder of the financing comes from the State, municipalities, provinces or companies.
The main introductory speeches of this conference will be published immediately after they have been delivered on the Finnish EU Presidency home page at:
Senior Officer Janne Pennanen, Ministry of Labour, tel. +358 (0)50 396 0238.
Information Officer Mikko Myller, Ministry of Labour, tel. +358 (0)50 396 0074 (press arrangements)