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The European social fund in the Visegrad countries in the 2007-2013 programming phase

Eduardo Tomé (Universidade Europeia, Lisboa, Portugal)
Katarzyna Tracz-Krupa (Wroclaw University of Economics, Wrocław, Poland)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 16 July 2019

Issue publication date: 10 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to define the impact of the investment in training in education by the European Social Fund (ESF) in four Eastern countries, namely, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Hungary. Those countries have some political, cultural, social and economic similarities and share some common ground in the human resource development (HRD) sectors.


The authors use the human capital theory with some extensions to analyze the context, operations and impacts of the ESF in the Visegrad four (V4) countries between 2007 and 2013. The authors use three levels of methodology to access each one of those problems.


The authors conclude that the ESF helped building the vocational training system in those countries, and to help them get near the equilibrium of high skills of the V4 Western European neighbors, and therefore, this one was a success story. However, quality issues remain to be addressed that may hinder the continuation of the success in the future.

Research limitations/implications

The research could be enlarged in time and space and deepened in terms of methodology. This is one a first clarifying step. Theoretical work should become aware of the dichotomy between absorption and scientific logic.

Practical implications

Detailed and precise evaluation practices must be implemented to guide and assess the policy.

Social implications

Precisely because funds are scarce this paper enlights the dilemma and the tension between quantity and quality in the European HRD policy, this is an important social problem.


The study is original because even if the HRD in those countries had already been studied (Sheehan and Buchelt, 2016), no study analyzing specifically the ESF in those countries has been carried out so far. The authors use an innovative methodology and address questions on context, operations and impact, which are also innovative and very relevant.



Tomé, E. and Tracz-Krupa, K. (2019), "The European social fund in the Visegrad countries in the 2007-2013 programming phase", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 43 No. 7/8, pp. 736-751.



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