EU Member States can use the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to support development in a comprehensive way by investing for instance in businesses, research and development, infrastructure, employment and training, agriculture, forestry and fisheries development, with the overall objective to improve the quality of life of EU citizens.

Some €450 billion of ESIF are available for the Member States and their regions in the period 2014-2020. Cohesion, rural development and maritime policies combined are the biggest area of EU investment for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The ESIF family is composed of five distinct funds:

1.              European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

2.              European Social Fund (ESF)

3.              Cohesion Fund (CF)

4.              European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

5.              European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

How is ESIF implemented?

The investment of ESIF resourcesis jointly managed by the European Commission and the EU Member States (shared management), in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.

Partnership agreements between the European Commission and individual EU countries set out the national authorities' plan on how to use funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds between 2014 and 2020. They outline each country's strategic goals and investment priorities, linking them to the overall aims of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Once the partnership agreements have been adopted, the Commission and the national authorities agree on programmes setting out the priorities for each country, region or policy area concerned.On this basis, the EU countries administer the Funds on a decentralised basis. Each Fund's website gives further information about the funding available and the application procedure.

The rules covering all five EU Structural and Investment Funds are set out in the Common provisions regulation. Further regulations set out specific rules for each fund.

Legal basis:

  • Common Provisions Regulation (CPR)
    Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 [PDF]
    See also additional declarations published in the Official Journal [PDF]
  • Cohesion Fund Regulation (CF)
    Council Regulation (EU) No 1300/2013 [PDF]
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Regulation (EAFRD)
    Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 [PDF]