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Management and monitoring of structural programmes

B. The projects : eligibility and cofinancing rates

Content - B / E

While the broad priorities of a programme are identified in cooperation with the Commission in Brussels, the choice of measures and practical projects is the sole responsibility of the Member States.

The programme complement describes in detail the measures already indicated and summarised in the programme. These are the measures of interest to the people on the ground, since the individual projects for which they are seeking finance must fit into them. A precise budget is earmarked for each measure, which the programme managers use to finance individual projects.

The "programme complement" is adopted by the managing authority designated by the State (see "Management and monitoring"), after consulting the partners concerned (see also"Partnership"). This is also the document that specifies how the funds available are to be distributed between the measures and the final beneficiaries.

The level of Structural Fund contribution is not the same for all regions. It is not even the same for all measures within a single programme. In fact, the rate varies first according to the region in which the project is launched and, more specifically, according to the Structural Fund Objective it comes under. As one might expect, the rate is higher in the regions experiencing the greatest development difficulties, i.e. those coming under Objective 1.

Structural Fund cofinancing ceilings:

  • Objective 1: a maximum of 75% of the total cost of the project, except in regions of a State covered by the Cohesion Fund, outermost regions and outlying Greek islands, where it can be as much as 80% or 85% of this total cost;
  • Objectives 2 and 3, fisheries: a maximum of 50% of the total cost of the project.

Within these ceilings, the financing rates can also vary according to other general criteria such as environmental protection and promoting equal opportunities between men and women. Also, in addition to these general principles, the rate is subject to particular ceilings applying in certain specific cases. Reduced contribution rates have, for example, been established for investments in firms and infrastructure investments generating "substantial revenue" (i.e. at least 25% of the total cost of the investment concerned).

With regard to investments in firms:

  • a maximum of 35% of the total cost under Objective 1;
  • a maximum of 15% of the total cost under Objective 2.

With regard to investments in infrastructure generating substantial revenue:

  • a maximum of 40% of the total cost under Objective 1 (50% in States covered by the Cohesion Fund);
  • a maximum of 25% under Objective 2.

The regulations also encourage the use of part of the Community finance in a form other than direct assistance, such as, for example, repayable assistance, interest-rate subsidies or venture capital holdings. In such cases, the ceilings provided for can be increased by 10%.


To ensure the relevance of the strategies pursued and the effectiveness of expenditure, the programming of European assistance should bring together all the parties involved in economic and social development. These include the State and the Commission, but also the other authorities or partner bodies designated by the national authorities in accordance with the rules and practices in force. These may be other relevant public authorities, at regional and local level for instance, or economic and social agents, or other appropriate bodies.

The commitment and necessary consensus between the various parties involved is achieved through ongoing dialogue throughout the programming process. They are indispensable prerequisites for the success of any development action. In practice, the partners are involved as soon as preparation begins on the programmes negotiated with the Commission. They are then invited to monitor the implementation and financing of the programmes by taking part in monitoring committees and in the various evaluation exercises.

Each year, the Commission, for its part, consults European organisations representing the social partners about the general implementation of the structural policy.


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