The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. In 2021-2027 it will enable investments in a smarter, greener, more connected and more social Europe that is closer to its citizens.
The ERDF finances programmes in shared responsibility between the European Commission and national and regional authorities in Member States. The Member States' administrations choose which projects to finance and take responsibility for day-to-day management.
In 2021-2027, the fund will enable investments to make Europe and its regions:
Based on their prosperity, all regions and Member States will concentrate the support on a more competitive and smarter Europe (policy objective – PO 1), as well as greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe (PO2), through the mechanism known as 'thematic concentration'.
All regions and Member States (MSs) will concentrate at least 30% of their allocation to PO 2 and:
All regions and Member States will also concentrate at least 8% of their allocation to urban development that will be delivered through local development partnerships with different tools.
Operations under the ERDF are also expected to contribute 30 % of the overall financial envelope to climate objectives.
Full text of the ERDF regulation on Eur-Lex
ERDF in the 2014-2020 programming period
Interreg is the Union’s instrument to support cooperation across regions and countries: a new generation of Interreg programmes in and outside the EU will further develop joint services and strengthen solidarity. Interreg provides funding for projects between Member States, their outermost regions, the EU acceding countries and the neighbourhood countries.
Therefore, in 2021-2027, Interreg will continue to support cross-border mobility, and efforts to develop environmental protection, emergency services, skilled jobs and access to public services for the next EU generation.
In addition, two new objectives will steer territorial cooperation:
Interreg has an impact on citizens’ lives at different levels. It encompasses cross-border cooperation along all EU land and maritime borders; transnational cooperation, including macro-regional strategies and sea basins; and interregional cooperation, which builds networks and lets leading regions share their successes and experience with other territories.
In addition, Interreg projects beyond EU borders cover several areas in the world:
Thanks to more than seventy measures, regional funding has become simpler post-2020, making it more straightforward to access this kind of support – whether you are a public authority, a school or a hospital.
With grassroots cooperation driving a green and digital coronavirus recovery, Interreg paves the way for long-term, resource-efficient growth and competitiveness that leaves no-one behind.
Full text of the Interreg regulation on Eur-Lex
Interreg : European Territorial Co-operation
The ERDF also gives particular attention to specific territorial characteristics. ERDF action is designed to reduce economic, environmental and social problems in urban areas, with a special focus on sustainable urban development. At least 8 % of the ERDF resources are set aside for this field through territorial or local development strategies, i.e. Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI), Community-led Local Development (CLLD) but also tools supporting similar initiatives designed by Member States.
Areas that are naturally disadvantaged from a geographical viewpoint (remote, islands, mountainous or sparsely populated areas) benefit from special treatment and Member States can set out integrated approaches and dedicate funds to these areas.
The outermost regions of the EU also benefit from specific assistance from the ERDF to address disadvantages due to their remoteness.