Fields of activity
Priority themes for funding
EU cohesion funding supports projects in a wide range of areas.
The thematic priorities are set out in: the Community Guidelines on Cohesion 2007-2013; the General Regulation; the specific Regulations on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the European Cohesion Fund; and the National Strategic Reference Framework and Operational Programmes approved for each Member State.
The main fields of activity include:
- Research and innovation
- Information society
- Support for enterprises and workers
- Environment and climate change
- Employment and social inclusion
- Education and training
These themes reflect the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. EU cohesion funding also helps to support the implementation of EU policies in the areas mentioned.
Addressing the specific needs of certain regions
The EU is making specific efforts to support certain categories of regions:
- Europe's outermost regions
- Urban development
- Rural development
- Northern Ireland: the peace programme
- Regions in candidate and potential candidate countries (Enlargement of the EU)
Cohesion policy must respect the principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunities between women and men. Funding programmes must also respect EU competition policy rules.