European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI funds)

A lot of funding in the European Union (EU) is disbursed through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI funds). The funds allow investments to be made in employment, a sustainable and healthy European economy and the environment. 

Common objectives of the European Commission (EC)

The Commission has set common objectives for all of the EU. One of these is the strengthening of the EU’s economy. Through the European Structural and Investment Funds  (ESI funds) the Commission aims to:

  • help small and medium-sized businesses become more competitive through innovation
  • promote a green economy and efficient use of resources, such as water and oil
  • increase the number of people in paid employment. 

Commission makes money available for cohesion policy

Every seven years the European Commission allocates funding for cohesion policy through the ESI. This money is used to reduce the socioeconomic differences between European regions, for instance. Or 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?

There are four ESI funds:

  • The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
    This fund focuses on investments in the social and economic development of all EU regions and cities. A distinction is made between funding for national programmes (ERDF) and for cross-border or international programmes (Interreg). 
  • Cohesion Fund (CF) 
    This fund focuses on investments in the environment and transport in less prosperous member states.
  • European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
    This fund focuses on promoting employment, with the aim of achieving equitable and socially inclusive societies in EU member states.
  • Just Transition Fund (JTF) 
    This fund is aimed at supporting those regions most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality. 

Other economic development funds

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