European Social Fund

Malta’s European Social Fund (ESF) Operational Programme (OP) for the 2014-2020 period, being Operational Programme II – Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the wellbeing of society – 2014-2020, aims to achieve inclusive growth by fostering an economy which is conducive to economic, social and territorial cohesion.  The objective of the Programme, in line with Malta’s targets under the Europe 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, focuses on employment, social inclusion, education and capacity building.

The OP places particular emphasis on employability and adaptability of job seekers and workers including women, older workers and youth.  The Programme will assist specific target groups to enter and remain in the labour market as well as to improve their skills.  Moreover, specific attention will be directed towards creating a more inclusive society, whereby interventions will focus on addressing poverty and social exclusion through the promotion of equal opportunities, active participation and improved employability. In addition, interventions will also be directed towards the promotion of healthier lifestyles and the enhancement of the health care service delivery.

The focus on education will contribute towards reducing and preventing early school-leaving, enhancing participation in tertiary education, improving the labour-market relevance of vocational education and training, as well as ensuring equal access to lifelong learning for all age groups.

This Operational Programme will also contribute towards improving the efficiency and quality of public administration and the judicial system.

Finally, in order to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, OPII provides both ESF and REACT-EU financial support to the expenditure aimed at fostering crisis-response capacity to the COVID-19 outbreak.​

Financial information

Total OP budget: €168,304,310

EU Co-Financing Rate: 80%

Total OP REACT-EU budget: €111,196,276.00 

EU Co-Financing Rate: 100% 

Grand Total: €279,500,586.00

Further Studies Made Affordable (FSMA) – Financial Instrument

This financial instrument is financed under Operational Programme II – Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the wellbeing of society – 2014 – 2020

The FSMA Financial Instrument (FI) was established to support the development of human capital and aims at meeting the financing needs of students seeking to pursue a study programme for accredited courses in MQF levels 5, 6, 7 and 8, as well as other internationally-recognised certificates. Under this instrument, eligible students will be entitled to receive financial support, in the form of repayable assistance, for activities related to tuition fees, accommodation costs, subsistence expenses and other expenses to further their studies in Malta and abroad. 

The need for an FI was established following an ex-ante study which confirmed the existence of a market failure with respect to access to finance for students in Malta. In fact, a dedicated study has shown that:

  • The current non-repayable grants, although on the increase, are still not meeting the current and estimated demand, resulting in several applicants not receiving the grants to continue to study;
  • Alternative forms of assistance, through private sources, are insufficient;
  • There are a number of potential students who are not furthering their studies or requesting further funding because current available financial products are not sufficiently attractive;
  • Significant progress is still required for Malta to reach the EU2020 educational targets.

Within this context, the FSMA will seek to partially cover the investment gap resulting from this ongoing market failure and support specific segments of the Maltese educational strategy by targeting several cohorts at different MQF levels. Potential beneficiaries may be (i) applicants for grants whose application was not accepted as demand exceeded the supply, (ii) potential students who are not finding adequate financial support in the market, (iii) those who are discouraged from studying due to financial reasons, (iv) those who study in areas or levels which are currently not eligible for the assistance they require and (v) those who cannot meet the requirements of any assistance being offered to them. 

Thus, the purpose of the FI is to support eligible students by enhancing their access to bank loans. These will benefit from zero interest payment during the moratorium period. The loan will be covered with a guarantee offered through the financial instrument to a chosen financial institution for a maximum term of 15 years covering the moratorium period of up to a maximum of 5 years and the loan repayment period of up to a maximum of 10 years following the moratorium period. Eligible students will not be requested to put an upfront contribution. 

The instrument is being implemented in collaboration between the Managing Authority and the Malta Development Bank with the Bank of Valletta selected to be the Financial Intermediary following an open Call for Services. 

Financial Information

Total Budget: €2,000,000 to generate a portfolio of up to €5,500,000 in loans

EU Co-Financing Rate: 80% 

Download Programme

    Request a Meeting

    Fill in the form to request a meeting.

      Register your Interest

      Fill in the form below to stay updated on the latest EU news, policy updates and EU funding opportunities based on your interests.

      Select interests you would like to receive updates on. You may select more than one.


        Request Assistance

        Fill in the form to request assistance.


          Report Improper Practices and Wrongdoings



          Subscribe to our newsletter

          Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

          Terms of Use Data Protection Policy E-Communications Policy Freedom of Information Privacy Policy Air Blower Image Whistle Blower Act
          Terms of Use Data Protection Policy E-Communications Policy Freedom of Information Privacy Policy Air Blower Image Whistle Blower Act