The EU's main investment policy
Cohesion Policy is the EU’s main investment policy
Cohesion Policy targets all regions and cities in the European Union in order to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and improve citizens’ quality of life.
In order to reach these goals and address the diverse development needs in all EU regions, € 392 billion – almost a third of the total EU budget has been set aside for Cohesion Policy for 2021-2027.
How funding is delivered
Cohesion Policy is delivered through specific funds:
- The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to invest in the social and economic development of all EU regions and cities.
- The Cohesion Fund (CF), to invest in environment and transport in the less prosperous EU countries.
- The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), to support jobs and create a fair and socially inclusive society in EU countries.
- The Just Transition Fund (JTF) to support the regions most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.
Cohesion Policy and the Commission's political priorities
Cohesion policy has a strong impact in many fields. Its investments help to deliver many EU policy objectives and complements EU policies such as those dealing with education, employment, energy, the environment, the single market, research and innovation.
The projects financed in the regions and cities contribute the goals of the Commission priorities, notably:
Cohesion policy provides special care or investment tools to territories to adress specific issues:
- Border regions and cross-border cooperation (Interreg)
- Urban areas
- Remote, islands, mountainous or sparsely populated areas
- Outermost regions
Cohesion Policy underpins European solidarity
The bulk of Cohesion Policy funding is concentrated on less developed European countries and regions in order to help them to catch up and to reduce the economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist in the EU.
The Just Transition Fund alleviates the socio-economic costs triggered by the climate transition, supporting the economic diversification and reconversion of the territories concerned, helping people to adapt in a changing labour market.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economic situation of EU regions is addressed by REACT-EU, the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe.
The EU goal of Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion is defined in articles 174 to 178 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
2014-2020: How funding is delivered
Together with the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), they make up the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds.