EU Funds are the main instrument for implementing the EU's economic and social cohesion policy (ESC). Funding allocated to eliminating economic and social disparities among Member States and their regions are distributed through these Funds.
Structural and Investment Funds
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
It focuses on modernizing and strengthening the economy. It supports investment (infrastructure) projects such as construction of roads and railways, removal of environmental burden, construction of sewage systems, promoting innovation potential of entrepreneurs, development and renovation of sports complexes, reconstruction of cultural monuments, planting regenerating greenery, construction or repairs of infrastructure for the provision of health care, introducing eGovernment services, etc.
European Social Fund (ESF)
The ESF supports activities in the areas of employment and human resources development. The ESF supports non-investment (non-infrastructure) projects such as retraining of the unemployed, special programmes for people with disabilities, children, youth, ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged groups of citizens, creation of innovative educational programmes for employees, development of employment services institutions, development of educational programmes, etc.
Cohesion Fund (CF)
Unlike the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund is designed to support the development of poorer countries, not regions. Similarly to the ERDF, it supports investment (infrastructure) projects but only those focused on large-scale transport infrastructure (e.g. trans-European networks), environmental protection and the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
It is a financial instrument to support rural development, which falls under the EU Common Agricultural Policy. EAFRD funds are used to enhance the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry, improve the environment and landscape or quality of life in rural areas, and diversification of rural economy.
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
It is a financial instrument to support fisheries, which falls under the EU Common Agricultural Policy. The Fund supports projects leading to higher competitiveness and environmental protection. It finances activities related to marine and inland fishing (e.g removal of silt from lagoons), investment in modernization of the processing industry, modernization of vessels, support for disposal of already inadequate vessels, improving aquaculture, etc.
The Fund provides speedy and flexible financial assistance during major natural disasters. Assistance may be requested by a Member State if the damages exceed 0.6% of the GDP of the affected country. The Fund may also provide assistance to preventive measures against these natural disasters.
More information on the website of the European Commission.
European Globalisation Adjustment Fund
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) finances projects helping employees made redundant as a result of globalisation. This means e.g. in the case of bankruptcy of a large company or relocation of a factory outside the EU or when many people are made redundant at once in a certain region and sector. Assistance from this Fund may be requested by Member States only.
More information on the website of the European Commission .