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European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (2007-2013)
In order to reduce the gap between the levels of development of Europe’s regions and the extent to which the less-favoured ones are lagging behind, this Regulation defines the types of action eligible for financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It also establishes the tasks of the ERDF and the scope of its assistance with regard to the “Convergence”, “Regional competitiveness and employment” and “European territorial cooperation” objectives of the reformed cohesion policy for the period 2007-2013.
Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Regional Development Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1783/1999 [Official Journal L 210 of 31.7.2006] [See amending act(s)].
This Regulation establishes the tasks of the ERDF and the scope of its assistance with regard to the “Convergence”, “Regional competitiveness and employment” and “European territorial cooperation” objectives as defined in the general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund.
The objective of the ERDF is to help reinforce economic and social cohesion by redressing regional imbalances. This is achieved by supporting the development and structural adjustment of regional economies, including the conversion of declining industrial regions.
The ERDF focuses its assistance on a number of thematic priorities reflecting the nature of the “Convergence”, “Regional competitiveness and employment” and “European territorial cooperation” objectives. In particular, it contributes towards the financing of:
- investment which contributes to creating sustainable jobs;
- investment in infrastructure;
- measures which support regional and local development, including support and services for businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
- technical assistance.
Under the “Convergence” objective, the ERDF focuses its assistance on supporting sustainable integrated economic development and the creation of sustainable jobs. Operational programmes in the Member States are aimed at modernising and diversifying regional economic structures, particularly in the following fields:
- research and technological development (R&TD), innovation and entrepreneurship;
- information society;
- risk prevention;
- investment in culture
- investment in transport;
- investment in education;
- investment in health and social infrastructures;
- direct assistance for investment in SMEs.
Regional competitiveness and employment
This objective has three main funding priorities:
- innovation and the knowledge economy, including the improvement of regional R&TD and innovation capacities, entrepreneurship and creation of new financial instruments for businesses;
- environment and risk prevention, including restoring contaminated land, encouraging energy efficiency, promoting the use of clean technology in public transport and formulating plans to anticipate and manage natural and technology-related risks;
- access to transport and telecommunications services of general economic interest, especially by improving secondary networks and encouraging access to information and communication technologies (ICT) for SMEs.
European territorial cooperation
ERDF assistance under this objective also targets three key areas:
- development of cross-border economic, social and environmental activities through joint strategies for sustainable territorial development. This involves, for example, encouraging entrepreneurship, protection and management of natural and cultural resources, and the development of collaboration, capacities and the joint use of infrastructures;
- establishing and developing transnational cooperation, including bilateral cooperation between maritime regions. The priorities are innovation, the environment, better accessibility and sustainable urban development;
- reinforcing the effectiveness of regional policy by encouraging regional and local authorities to form networks and exchange experience.
At the request of the Member States, the Commission may propose rules on certain categories of expenditure to replace national rules.
It is the responsibility of the Member States to designate a single managing authority, a single certifying authority and a single audit authority.
As laid down in the general provisions, Member States can also delegate the task of managing authority and joint technical secretariat to the European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC), which is the legal cooperation instrument.
For a project to be selected under this objective, it must include beneficiaries in at least two countries which are acting jointly in at least two of these four fields: development, implementation, staffing and financing. In the case of transnational cooperation, a programme may be implemented in a single Member State, provided it has been presented by at least two countries. Networks for cooperation and exchange of experience must consist of at least three beneficiaries in at least three regions and at least two Member States, and these must be acting jointly in all four fields.
The operational programme must contain the following information:
- an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the area covered by the cooperation;
- justification for the priorities selected;
- information on the priorities and the specific objectives of each;
- a breakdown of the spheres of assistance by category;
- a financing plan;
- implementing rules;
- an indicative list of major projects.
Financing conditions depend on the location. Part-financing may be provided up to:
- 20 % for cross-border cooperation in NUTS III areas adjacent to the EU’s border areas;
- 20 % for cross-border cooperation for operations including partners outside the area in question;
- 10 % for cross-border and transnational cooperation to cover expenditure on operations in non-EU countries, if these operations are for the benefit of regions within the EU.
Specific types of area
The ERDF takes particular account of the specific nature of areas. Measures to help urban areas are incorporated in operational programmes, drawing on the experience of the URBAN initiative. ERDF action aims to resolve the economic, environmental and social problems of towns and cities.
As regards rural areasandareas dependent on the fishing industry, ERDF action must concentrate on economic diversification, such as:
- infrastructure to improve accessibility;
- telecommunications networks and services in rural areas;
- development of new economic activities;
- improving of links between urban and rural areas;
- development of tourism and regeneration of rural areas.
For areas with natural handicaps, the ERDF helps finance investment in the improvement of accessibility, economic activities linked to cultural heritage, the sustainable use of resources and tourism development.
Finally, the ERDF helps finance the additional costs linked to the geographical situation of the outermost regions by subsidising:
- freight transport services and the start-up of transport services;
- operations linked to storage constraints, the maintenance of production tools, and lack of human capital in the local market.
The Regulation does not affect any assistance measures approved before its entry into force. Applications submitted under Regulation No 1783/99 remain valid, even though that Regulation was repealed as of 1 January 2007. The new Regulation applies as of 1 January 2007 and is to be reviewed by 31 December 2013.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006
OJ L 210 of 31.7.2006
|Amending Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EC) No 397/2009
OJ L 126 of 21.5.2009
|Regulation (EC) No 437/2010||
OJ L 132 of 29.5.2010