Cohesion policy 2014-2020 represents approximately 1/3 of the EU budget, reinforcing its role as the Union's main investment policy for growth and jobs and implementing EU policies.
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 Common Provisions Regulation sets out the rules covering all 5 EU structural and investment funds. Further regulations set out specific rules for each fund.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund are the Funds with the greatest focus on energy efficiency in buildings and in the built environment in general.
The ERDF is the biggest single source of EU funding for reducing disparities in terms of development (per-capita GDP), productivity and employment across the EU.
The scope of the Fund, and the investment priorities for regional development programmes are set out in the Regional Development Fund Regulation for 2014-2020.
All regions in Europe will receive funding from the ERDF. National and regional authorities establish their own development programmes and select the projects to be financed.
Under the proposal, regions would have to concentrate ERDF support on a limited number of objectives in line with the Europe 2020 strategy which with the help of the Fund will be turned into practical action.
The proposed ERDF will channel resources towards energy efficiency and renewables, innovation and support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) – at least 80% of support for more developed regions and at least 50% for less developed regions. Minimum amounts are earmarked for investments in energy efficiency and renewables for all regions. Specific support from the ERDF would go to cities and urban development. The proposal would ring-fence an amount for integrated sustainable urban development measures and for the setting-up of an urban development platform to promote exchanges between cities.
The Cohesion Fund plays a major role in the reduction of disparities in terms of development (per-capita GDP), productivity and employment across the EU - in particular by helping the least developed member countries integrate into the EU’s single market, by funding key transport infrastructure and fostering compliance with environmental standards.
The scope of the Fund is set out in the Cohesion Fund Regulation for 2014-2020.
EU countries with a gross national income less than 90% of the EU average are eligible for support from the cohesion fund. Most of these are countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007.
Transitional support will be available for countries that were eligible in 2007-2013 but who no longer qualify because their income levels have increased.
Cohesion Fund support mainly goes to large infrastructure projects which form part of national development programmes for transport and environment.
The scope of the Cohesion Fund will remain largely similar to the 2007-2013 period, with support for:
- investment to comply with environmental standards;
- energy projects, provided they present a clear benefit to the environment, for example by promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy;
- investment in trans-European transport networks, as well as urban and low-carbon transport systems.
For the first time, part of the Cohesion Fund will contribute to the Connecting Europe facility – for a competitive and sustainable European transport system.
For more information about the European Structural and Investment Funds see: http://ec.europa.eu/contracts_grants/funds_en.htm