Structural Funds

Regional 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, € 351.8 billion – almost a third of the total EU budget – has been set aside for Cohesion Policy for 2014-2020.

Regional Policy is delivered through three main funds: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

Together with 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

The European Structural and Investment Funds are directly contributing to the Investment Plan and the Commission's priorities.

Regional Policy provides the necessary investment framework to meet the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the European Union.

The five targets for the EU in 2020 are:

  1. Employment: 75%of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed
  2. Research & Development: 3% of the EU's GDP to be invested in R&D
  3. Climate change and energy sustainability:
    • Greenhouse gas emissions 20% (or even 30%, if the conditions are right)
    • 20% of energy from renewables
    • 20 % increase of energy efficiency
  4. Education:
    • Reducing the rates of early school leavers below 10%
    • At least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion
  5. Fighting poverty and social exclusion: At least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion

Each Member State has adopted its own national targets in these areas.