Key achievements of Regional Policy 2014-2020

Cohesion policy – funded by the ERDF, ESF and Cohesion Fund – is the largest source of direct EU budget investments in the period 2014-2020. These three funds will enable a total investment of EUR 485 billion, with EU budget financing of EUR 355 billion.

Below you find a presentation of selected investment targets and the progress made so far in achieving those targets organised under the three headings of:

The filter allows you to view the specific contribution by country.

The text below draws mainly on target values at end 2017 (unless otherwise stated). A comprehensive presentation on the scope of financing and the achievement of investment targets is presented on the ESIF open data platform. There you can find charts by theme, country, programme and Fund.

The indicator tiles present 3 measures:

  • Target value: the targets set in the adopted programmes and information reported annually by the programmes on implementation
  • the indicator forecasts linked to decided selected projects
  • the implemented values


A Smart Europe

Significant ERDF resources are allocated to strengthen research, technological development and innovation, to enhance access to the digital economy and IT services and to boost the competitiveness of SMEs. A selection of key investment indicators are presented below.

Firms supported

The ERDF provides significant support to European firms. Over 1.1 million enterprises (mainly SMEs) are targeted for support, representing around 4% of all firms in Europe in 2016.


Jobs created in firms

The ERDF investments are planned to generate around 420 000 new jobs, of which 58% will be created in UK, Germany, Spain, France and Portugal. In those countries, more than 80% of the new jobs are expected to be provided in SMEs.


New firms supported

Around 160 000 new enterprises will receive the ERDF support to start and grow their business, of which nearly 40% are in UK, and 30% are in France.
For context, the target represents around 6% of the total EU population of new enterprises (enterprises up to 5 years old) in 2016.


Researchers with improved research facilities

Investment in research & innovation is a central objective of ERDF investments: 130 000 researchers will have access to improved research infrastructure facilities. This represents 3% of all European researchers, and equates to the total population of researchers in Sweden and Luxembourg (2017).


Households with improved broadband access

An additional 14,5 million households will have broadband access of at least 30 Mbps, of which 68% will be found in Spain, Greece and Italy. In Spain, the target represents 25% of all households.
In the European context, 33.2 million European households are without broadband access of at least 30Mbps (2017).


A Sustainable Europe

Investments to support the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors, to preserve and protect the environment, to boost resource efficiency and to promote climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management are at the heart of the ERDF and CF investments to forge a greener Europe. A selection of key investment indicators are presented below.

New capacity of renewable energy

An additional capacity of renewable energy production of 6 700 MW is supported under ERDF and CF. For context, 6 700 MW represents around 40% of the yearly additional capacity of renewable energy in the EU.


Reduced energy consumption in public buildings

Energy savings of 4 827 Gwh/year are planned in supported public buildings. For context, the savings equate to the annual consumption of nearly 900 000 households.


People with improved drinking water

Thanks to ERDF and CF investments, 12.5 million people will gain access to new or improved water supply. 80% of the targeted beneficiaries live in Romania, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The share of Romanian citizens to benefit represents 17% of the national population.
For context, an estimated 18.1 million EU citizens do not have access to water supply (2015).


People with improved waste water treatment

An additional 17 million people will benefit from new or improved wastewater treatment. Nearly 50% of the targeted beneficiaries will be found in Italy, Spain and Poland. Italian citizens benefiting from the allocated ERDF and CF resources represent 7% of the total population.
For context, an estimated 21.3 million EU citizens are not connected to wastewater treatment (2015).


Rail track constructed or upgraded

Thanks to ERDF and CF investments, 6 900 km of new, reconstructed or upgraded rail track will be delivered across Europe, of which 73% of the target is in Poland, Spain, Romania and Hungary. The ERDF and CF investments plan to create, reconstruct or upgrade 12% of the total Polish railway network.
The TEN-T rail target of 4 500 km (as at 12/2018) represents 69% of the overall reconstructed rail track target.


Roads constructed or upgraded

The ERDF and CF will support 13 100 km the new, reconstructed or upgraded roads across the European Union, of which 57% will be found in Poland, Romania and Czech Republic.
Within the overall target to build or reconstruct, TEN-T sections make up 2 780 km (21%).


An Inclusive Europe

Promoting sustainable and quality employment, social inclusion, combating poverty and discrimination and investing in education, training and vocational training for skills represent the main social pillars of the ESF and ERDF during 2014-2020. A selection of key investment indicators are presented below.

ESF/YEI participants, in education, training, receiving employment support and social inclusion


Improved childcare or education infrastructure

6,9 million students will have access to improved childcare and education infrastructures. Italy is the beneficiary with 72% of its pupils and students benefitting from the renovation of infrastructures.
At the EU level the under-15 European student population is 62,2 million students (2016).


People benefiting from health services improvements

Thanks to the ERDF investments, more than 46,9 million people will benefit from improved health services, of which more than 50% are Spanish and Polish citizens. In Poland 38% of the overall population will be served by the improved services.


People benefiting from integrated urban strategies

45 million people will live in areas with integrated urban development strategies, of which 60% will be found in France, Hungary and Germany. In France and Hungary, 21% and 74% respectively of the population will benefit from these strategies.