Cohesion policy Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is Cohesion Policy?

“Cohesion Policy” is the policy behind the hundreds of thousands of projects all over Europe that receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) – the two "Structural Funds" – and the Cohesion Fund.
Economic and social cohesion – as defined in the 1986 Single European Act – is about "reducing disparities between the various regions and the backwardness of the least-favoured regions."

The EU's new draft treaty (Lisbon Treaty) adds another facet to cohesion, referring to "economic, social and territorial cohesion".
The idea is that Cohesion Policy should also promote more balanced, more sustainable "territorial development" – a broader concept than Regional Policy, which is specifically linked to the ERDF and operates specifically at regional level.