The cohesion policy is the EU’s main investment policy
The European cohesion policy targets all the all towns and regions of the European Union with the aim of supporting job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth and sustainable development, and improving the quality of life of citizens.
In order to achieve these objectives and meet the various development needs in all European regions, a budget of 351.8 billion euros (nearly one third of the EU’s total budget) has been allocated to the cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 period.
In order to achieve these objectives and to meet the diverse development needs in all European regions, cohesion policy accounts for almost one third of the total EU budget.
Granting of funding
Cohesion Policy is delivered through specific funds:
- The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to invest in the social and economic development of all EU regions and cities.
- The Cohesion Fund(CF), to invest in environment and transport in the less prosperous EU countries.
- The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), to support jobs and create a fair and socially inclusive society in EU countries.
- The Just Transition Fund (JTF)to support the regions most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.
Together with the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), they form the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
The cohesion policy
and the Commission’s political priorities
The cohesion policy has a significant impact in a number of areas.
Investments help to achieve many of the targets of the EU’s policies and supplement European policies, particularly in the areas of education, employment, energy, the environment, the single market, research and innovation.
The cohesion policy promotes European solidarity
Most cohesion policy funding is focused on the least developed European regions and countries to help them catch up and reduce the remaining economic, social and territorial disparities in Europe.
This is the main solidarity tool in the EU and the policy closest to EU citizens due to its impact on our daily lives.
The projects financed in the regions and cities contribute the goals of the Commission priorities
Cohesion Policy underpins European solidarity
The bulk of Cohesion Policy funding is concentrated on less developed European countries and regions in order to help them to catch up and to reduce the economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist in the EU.
The Just Transition Fund alleviates the socio-economic costs triggered by the climate transition, supporting the economic diversification and reconversion of the territories concerned, helping people to adapt in a changing labour market.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economic situation of EU regions is addressed by REACT-EU, the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe.
In the Brussels-Capital Region
In Brussels, only the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) can be used.
The ESF finances two operational programmes that support actions within Brussels; one of these is managed by Actiris and the other by the ESF Agency (with some actions financed by ESF Flanders).
For the ERDF, the government of the Brussels-Capital Region has created a department within the Brussels Regional Public Service specifically responsible for managing and coordinating the Fund, the ERDF Unit. This unit is the responsibility of the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region and acts as a facilitator and interface between the European institutions and the regional and local stakeholders.
The Fund Regulations define 7-year “programming periods” for conducting projects in different European regions, plus 2 or 3 years to finalise these projects if necessary.
The EU goal of Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion is defined in articles 174 to 178 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
Brussels Regional Public Service
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