European regional development fund
The ERDF aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions.
The ERDF focuses its investments on several key priority areas. This is known as 'thematic concentration':
- Innovation and research;
- The digital agenda;
- Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
- The low-carbon economy.
The ERDF resources allocated to these priorities will depend on the category of region.
- In more developed regions, at least 80 % of funds must focus on at least two of these priorities;
- In transition regions, this focus is for 60 % of the funds;
- This is 50 % in less developed regions.
Furthermore, some ERDF resources must be channelled specifically towards low-carbon economy projects:
- More developed regions: 20%;
- Transition regions: 15%; and
- Less developed regions: 12%.
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.