European Regional Development Fund
The ERDF aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. In short, the ERDF finances:
- direct aid to investments in companies (in particular SMEs) to create sustainable jobs;
- infrastructures linked notably to research and innovation, telecommunications, environment, energy and transport;
- financial instruments (capital risk funds, local development funds, etc.) to support regional and local development and to foster cooperation between towns and regions;
- technical assistance measures.
The ERDF can intervene in the three objectives of regional policy:
In regions covered by the Convergence objective, ERDF focuses its intervention on modernising and diversifying economic structures as well as safeguarding or creating sustainable jobs, with action in the following areas:
- research and technological development (RTD);
- innovation and entrepreneurship;
- information society;
- risk prevention;
Regional Competitiveness and Employment
For the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective, the priorities are based on three sections:
- innovation and knowledge-based economy: strengthening regional capacities for research and technological development, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship and strengthening financial engineering notably for companies involved in knowledge-based economy;
- environment and risk prevention: cleaning up polluted areas, boosting energy efficiency, promoting clean public transport within towns and drawing up plans to prevent and limit natural and technological risks;
- access to transport and telecommunications services of general economic interest.
European Territorial Cooperation
For the European Territorial Cooperation objective, the ERDF focuses its aid on three main areas:
- development of economic and social cross-border activities;
- establishment and development of transnational cooperation, including bilateral cooperation between maritime regions;
- increasing the efficiency of regional policy through interregional promotion and cooperation, the networking and exchange of experiences between regional and local authorities.
Specific Territorial Characteristics
The ERDF also gives particular attention to specific territorial characteristics. ERDF action is designed to reduce economic, environmental and social problems in towns. Naturally disadvantaged areas geographically speaking (remote, mountainous or sparsely populated areas) benefit from special treatment. Lastly, the outermost areas also benefit from specific assistance from the ERDF to address possible disadvantages due to their remoteness.
To find out more:
- see the rules of the European Regional Development Fund (, 136KB)
- see the ERDF in the 2000-2006 programming
Gare do Oriente, Lisboa (Portugal)