European Structural and investment funds (ESIF)
Five main funds (ERDF, CF, ESF, EAFRD, EMFF) work together to support economic development across all EU countries, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
- ERDF focuses its investments on several key priority areas: innovation and research; the digital agenda; support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); the low-carbon economy. This is known as “thematic concentration”.
- CF is aimed at Member States whose GNI per capita is less than 90% of EU average. It aims to reduce economic and social disparities and to promote sustainable development. For 2014-2020 period, the CF concerns Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
- ESF invests in people, with a focus on improving employment and education opportunities across the European Union. It also aims to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people at risk of poverty. The ESF investments cover all EU regions. For the 2014-2020 period, the ESF will focus on four of the cohesion policy’s thematic objectives: promoting employment and supporting labour mobility; promoting social inclusion and combating poverty; investing in education, skills and lifelong learning; enhancing institutional capacity and an efficient public administration.
- EAFRD is the EU instrument for funding the EU’s rural development policy, which helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of challenges and opportunities that face them in the 21st century – economic, environmental and social. Member States build their programs based on at least 4 of the 6 common EU priorities: fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas; enhancing the viability / competitiveness of all types of agriculture, and promoting innovative farm technologies and sustainable forest management; promoting food chain organisation, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture; restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry; promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors; promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.
- EMFF is the EU instrument for funding the Common Fisheries Policy, which is a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. Designed to manage a common resource, Common Fisheries Policy gives all European fishing fleets equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds and allows fishermen to compete fairly. EMFF is largely managed by the EU Member States. The fund is used for: Reducing impact of fishing on the marine environment, more market tools for professionals and consumers; joint stewardship of protected areas and Natura 2000 sites; special support to small-scale fishermen.