In the 2014-2020 programming period, the European Structural and Investment Funds, in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund, will support 11 investment priorities, also known as thematic objectives:
1. Strengthening research, technological development and innovation
2. Enhancing access to, and use and quality of information and communication technologies (ICT)
3. Enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
4. Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors
5. Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management
6. Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency
7. Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures
8. Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility
9. Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination
10. Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning
11. Enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration
At the same time, the first four of these thematic objectives constitute key priorities for the ERDF, and a significant part of the investment will focus on these areas (between 50% and 80%, depending on the region’s level of development).
The goal of these objectives is to focus regional policy funding on areas that deliver the highest benefits to citizens, creating synergies between the funded projects and avoiding an excessive fragmentation of funding.