Extracts of the definitions made available by the European Commission on the Regional Policy (InfoRegio) website
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The ERDF was set up in 1975 and provides financial support for the development and structural adjustment of regional economies, economic change, enhanced competitiveness as well as territorial cooperation throughout the EU. As one of the five Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) of the EU, with a budget of more than EUR 250 billion for the 2014-20 period, the Fund supports projects under the 11 thematic objectives for cohesion policy, and focuses in particular on four key priorities:
• Strengthening research, technological development and innovation
• Enhancing access to, and use and quality of ICT
• Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs
• Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors.
The ERDF also funds cross-border, interregional and transnational projects under the European territorial cooperation objective.
European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
For the period 2014-20, cohesion policy is financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). The ESIF include five different funds, which are all covered by Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, the so-called ‘Common Provisions Regulation’.
The Structural Funds have two components: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The other three funds constituting the ESIF are the Cohesion Fund, which supports exclusively less-developed Member States; the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development; and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
European Social Fund (ESF)
Established in 1958, the ESF is one of the EU's main financial instruments for supporting national policies that seek to increase employment and employment opportunities, improve quality and productivity at work, and reduce social exclusion and regional employment disparities.
As one of the five European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the ESF works towards achieving the 11 thematic objectives set out for the ESIF in the 2014-20 programming period. In particular, the main priorities for the ESF are:
• Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility
• Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination
• Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning
• Enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration.
Under the auspices of the EU's cohesion policy for 2014-20, a managing authority is responsible for the efficient management and implementation of an operational programme. A managing authority may be a national ministry, a regional authority, a local council, or another public or private body that has been nominated and approved by a Member State.
For each operational programme, a managing authority must provide the Commission with an annual implementation report by 31 May each year. Other key tasks for a managing authority include:
• ensuring that activities selected for funding match the operational programme's criteria
• checking that co-financed products and services are delivered efficiently according to EU and national rules
• recording and storing accounts, and ensuring that a rigorous audit trail exists
• ensuring that an operational programme's performance is properly evaluated.
Operational Programme (OP)
Operational programmes are detailed plans in which the Member States set out how money from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) will be spent during the programming period. They can be drawn up for a specific region (regional OP) or a country-wide thematic goal (national OP, e.g. Environment). For the European Territorial Cooperation goal, cross-border or interregional operational programmes are drawn up.
Member States submit their operational programmes on the basis of their Partnership Agreements. Each operational programme specifies which of the 11 thematic objectives that guide cohesion policy in the 2014-20 programming period will be addressed through the funding available under the operational programmes.
Partnership Agreement (PA)
For the programming period 2014-20 each Member State has produced a Partnership Agreement (PA) in cooperation with the European Commission. This is a reference document for programming interventions from the Structural and Investment Funds and link them to the aims of the Europe 2020 growth strategy. It defines the strategy and investment priorities chosen by the relevant Member State and presents a list of national and regional operational programmes (OPs) which it is seeking to implement, as well as an indicative annual financial allocation for each OP.
Programming refers to the administrative mechanism used to pursue the objectives of the European Structural and Investment Funds. Multi-annual programmes – known as operational programmes – ensure consistency and continuity over a seven-year period. Programmes relate to specific geographical areas at international, national or sub-national level, depending on the governance arrangements in place. Programme aims include identifying strategic priorities and indicative actions, outlining financial allocations, and summarising management and control systems. The current programming period runs from 2014 until 2020.
There are two main types of EU funding: funds which are managed centrally and directly by the European Commission, e.g. for research; and funds whose management is shared between the EU and the Member States, e.g. the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund. The EU entrusts management of the latter to the Member States.
For funds in 'shared management', the Commission currently entrusts the Member States with implementing programmes at national level. Member States then allocate these funds to end recipients (e.g. companies, farmers, municipalities, etc.). The Member State has primary responsibility for setting up a management and control system which complies with the requirements of the Regulations, ensuring that this system functions effectively and also preventing, detecting, and correcting irregularities. The Commission plays a supervisory role by satisfying itself that the arrangements governing the management and control system are compliant. It does so by verifying the effective functioning of this system and making financial corrections, where necessary.
In the 2014-2020 programming period, the European Structural and Investment Funds, in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund, will support 11 investment priorities, also known as thematic objectives:
1. Strengthening research, technological development and innovation
2. Enhancing access to, and use and quality of information and communication technologies (ICT)
3. Enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
4. Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors
5. Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management
6. Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency
7. Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures
8. Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility
9. Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination
10. Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning
11. Enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration
The goal of these objectives is to focus regional policy funding on areas that deliver the highest benefits to citizens, creating synergies between the funded projects and avoiding an excessive fragmentation of funding.
Transnational cooperation encourages highly integrated partnerships impacting beyond national boundaries in a transnational cooperation area. Such partnerships span and represent different levels of government and administration, embracing both public and private-sector bodies and different policy areas. Through these partnerships, transnational cooperation projects are able to develop, prepare and implement joint solutions to common problems and challenges inherent to a large part of their transnational cooperation area.
Projects should typically contribute to a long-term vision, a big idea as a source for strategic action, e.g. in the field of flood protection, maritime policy, inter-modal transport corridors, urban and rural networks, and interlinked transnational innovation systems.
Transnational cooperation programmes are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the European territorial cooperation goal of cohesion policy. In the 2014-20 programming period, over EUR 2.1 billion is available for transnational cooperation as Interreg V-B funding.
Data creazione: 05 April 2018