European Regional Development Fund

To strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions

  • Program Type

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.

European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund 2021-2027 [Policy Podcast]

The new regulation on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) 2021-2027 identifies the specific objectives and scope of support for both funds. In line with evidence regarding impact, investments will focus on activities with the highest added value, such as support to SMEs, smart specialisation, the low carbon economy, sustainable urban development and regional co-operation. Some activities will be excluded, for instance support for nuclear power stations, tobacco products, airport infrastructure except in outermost regions and landfills. The ERDF will focus mainly on smart growth and green economy, while the CF on environmental and transport infrastructure.

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.

Funding priorities

In 2021-2027, the fund will enable investments to make Europe and its regions:

  • More competitive and smarter, through innovation and support to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as digitisation and digital connectivity Greener, low-carbon and resilient
  • More connected by enhancing mobility
  • More social, supporting effective and inclusive employment, education, skills, social inclusion and equal access to healthcare, as well as enhancing the role of culture and sustainable tourism
  • Closer to citizens, supporting locally-led development and sustainable urban development across the EU
  • Thematic concentration

    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:

  • More developed regions or MSs will dedicate at least 85% of their allocation to PO1 and PO2;
  • Transition regions or MSs at least 40% to PO1;
  • Less developed regions or MSs at least 25% to PO1.

  • 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.

    ERDF Regulation

    Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Regional Development Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1783/1999

    The regulation on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) defines its role and fields of interventions such as the promotion of public and private investments helping to reduce regional disparities across the Union. The ERDF will support programmes addressing regional development, economic change, enhanced competitiveness and territorial cooperation throughout the EU. Funding priorities include research, innovation, environmental protection and risk prevention, while infrastructure investment retains an important role, especially in the least developed regions.

    Specific Territorial Characteristics

    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 5 % of the ERDF resources are set aside for this field, through 'integrated actions' managed by cities.

    Areas that are naturally disadvantaged from a geographical viewpoint (remote, mountainous or sparsely populated areas) benefit from special treatment. Lastly, the outermost areas also benefit from specific assistance from the ERDF to address possible disadvantages due to their remoteness.

    Future Phases

    Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.


    Let’s Get Started.

    To apply or join the program, please submit an application.