European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI funds)

The European Union supports investments in employment, a sustainable and healthy European economy and the environment. It does this by providing money from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI funds).

Common objectives set by the European Commission

The European Commission sets common objectives for all of the EU. One of these is strengthening the EU’s economy. Through the European Structural and Investment funds (ESI funds), the Commission is focusing on five policy objectives in the period 2021-2027:

  • a more competitive and smarter Europe;
  • a green transition towards a net zero carbon economy;
  • a more connected Europe by enhancing transport and mobility;
  • a more social and inclusive Europe;
  • a Europe closer to citizens.

Commission makes funding available for cohesion policy

Every seven years the European Commission allocates resources for cohesion policy through the ESI funds. This policy aims to reduce the socioeconomic differences between European regions, for instance. And to make the European economy more sustainable. Cohesion policy has three components:

  • funds for growth and employment;
  • Interreg;
  • EU initiatives.

What ESI funds are there?

The ESI funds comprise:

  • The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
    This fund supports investments in the social and economic development of all EU regions and cities. A distinction is made between funding for national programmes (ERDF, in Dutch) and for cross-border or international programmes (Interreg, in Dutch). 
  • The Cohesion Fund (CF) 
    This fund supports investments in the environment and transport in less prosperous member states. The Netherlands is not eligible.
  • The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
    This fund promotes employment, with the aim of achieving equitable and socially inclusive societies in EU member states.
    The Just Transition Fund (JTF) 
    This fund supports those regions most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality. 

Other funds

In addition to the ESI funds, EU member states also get money from: