Supporting economic development

Over half of EU funding is channelled through the 5 European structural and investment funds (ESIF). They are jointly managed by the European Commission and the EU countries. 

The purpose of all these funds is to invest in job creation and a sustainable and healthy European economy and environment.

The ESIF mainly focus on 5 areas:

  • research and innovation
  • digital technologies
  • supporting the low-carbon economy
  • sustainable management of natural resources
  • small businesses

The 5 funds

The European structural and investment funds are:

European regional development fund (ERDF) – promotes balanced development in the different regions of the EU.
European regional development fund (ERDF)

European social fund (ESF) - supports employment-related projects throughout Europe and invests in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people and all those seeking a job.
European social fund (ESF)

Cohesion fund (CF) – funds transport and environment projects in countries where the gross national income (GNI) per inhabitant is less than 90% of the EU average. In 2014-20, these are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Cohesion fund (CF)

European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD) – focuses on resolving the particular challenges facing EU's rural areas.
European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD)

European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) – helps fishermen to adopt sustainable fishing practices and coastal communities to diversify their economies, improving quality of life along European coasts.
European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF)

How the funds are managed

All these funds are managed by the EU countries themselves, by means of partnership agreements.  

Each country prepares an agreement, in collaboration with the European Commission, setting out how the funds will be used during the current funding period 2014-20.

Partnership agreements lead to a series of investment programmes channelling the funding to the different regions and projects in policy areas concerned.

Investment areas

ESIF beneficiaries

Results of negotiations