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European Structural & Investment Funds

With a budget of €454 billion for 2014-20, the European structural and investment funds (ESIFs) are the European Union's main investment policy tool.

By 2023, the ESIFs will deliver a critical mass of investment in key EU priority areas, to respond to the needs of the real economy by supporting job creation and by getting the European economy growing again in a sustainable way.

EU countries commit to:

  • Supporting more than 2 million business through the funds to increase their competitiveness, develop products, find new markets and create new jobs.
  • Infrastructure investment in areas such as broadband, IT and telecoms, and water supplies. This will help EU countries – especially those which are less developed – improve peoples’ living standards and make their business environments more competitive.
  • Using the funds to invest in the skills and adaptability of Europe's workforce, giving tens of millions of people, including young people, refugees and legal migrants the opportunities to train, retrain, or start businesses.

Results of negotiations on ESIF investment programmes:

  • Communication on negotiations around EU countries' investment programmes

Investment areas:


Coordinated Funds

The purpose of these rules is to

  • Establish a clear link with the Europe 2020 Strategy.
  • Improve coordination.
  • Ensure consistent implementation.
  • Make access to the funds as straightforward as possible for those who may benefit from them.

The EU countries administer the funds on a decentralised basis through shared management. Each fund's website gives further information about the funding available and the application procedure.

Regulations on EU Structural & Investment Funds

The rules covering all 5 EU structural and investment funds are set out in the Common Provisions Regulation. Further regulations set out specific rules for each fund.


Partnership agreements

Partnership agreements between the European Commission and individual EU countries set out the national authorities' plans on how to use funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds between 2014 and 2020. They outline each country's strategic goals and investment priorities, linking them to the overall aims of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.


National programmes

Once the partnership agreements have been adopted, the Commission and the national authorities agree on programmes setting out the priorities for each country, region or policy area concerned.

More on each programme


European Code of Conduct on Partnership

For the funds to have maximum impact, national, regional and local authorities in EU countries must work together closely and in partnership with

  • Trade unions
  • Employers
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Other bodies that promote, for example, social inclusion, gender equality and non-discrimination

Involving partners in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating EU-funded projects enables EU countries to focus funds where the need is greatest and to make optimum use of resources.

All EU countries must comply with these rules on preparing and implementing the programmes for 2014–20. They must ensure that all relevant views are taken into account when identifying priorities for funding, designing and implementing the most effective investment strategies.


Guidance documents

A series of guidance notes are available to help EU countries programme and implement the funds.

Guidance for potential beneficiaries of European Structural & Investment Funds & related EU instruments pdf - 968 KB [968 KB]

This will help you:

  • Access and make use of the European Structural & Investment Funds.
  • Make use of other EU policy instruments that complement these funds.

Use the links in the document to locate the most useful websites and documents. A checklist will help you identify the most appropriate funding sources.

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