The European Social Fund (ESF) has a major contribution to the Strategy of the Union for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and represents a significant part of the European Union budget. Within the context of stricter budgets and increased public attention towards public expenditure, the need to demonstrate the results, the impact and the added value of initiatives supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds has been constantly on the rise. One of the highlights of the cohesion policy during 2014 – 2020 programming period is to make evaluation a major part of the lifecycle of operational programmes. By measuring the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of programmes, it has to aid the adoption of adequate decisions for the use of various instruments in support of the designed policies.
Pursuant to the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council for the programming period 2014 – 2020 the Member States have to ensure the implementation of evaluations including evaluation of efficiency, effectiveness and impact, as well as to ensure that the recommendations and conclusions from the evaluations are reflected in the future management of the programmes. At operational level, the evaluation shall study the contribution of the support of the European Structural and Investment Funds for achieving the objectives of each priority of the operational programmes, and at strategic level – it has to evaluate the contribution of the programmes towards achieving the objectives of the Strategy of the Union for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020).