Investment opportunities through Cohesion Policy Funds

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) The ERDF contributes to reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions, among which particular attention is to be paid to regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps, including in particular handicaps resulting from demographic decline, such as the northernmost regions with very low population density, islands, and cross-border and mountain regions.

 

The ERDF shall support the following:

  1. investments in infrastructure;
  2. activities for applied research and innovation, including industrial research, experimental development and feasibility studies;
  3. investments in access to services;
  4. productive investments in SMEs and investments aiming at safeguarding existing jobs and creating new jobs;
  5. equipment, software and intangible assets;
  6. networking, cooperation, exchange of experience and activities involving innovation clusters including between businesses, research organisations and public authorities;
  7. information, communication and studies; and
  8. technical assistance.

 

Productive investments in enterprises other than SMEs may be supported:

  1. when they involve cooperation with SMEs in research and innovation activities;
  2. when primarily supporting energy efficiency measures and renewable energy;
  3. when they are made in small mid-cap and mid-cap companies through financial instruments; or
  4. when they are made in small mid-cap companies in research and innovation activities.

 

Cohesion Fund (CF)

Cohesion Fund (CF) was set up in order to contribute to the overall objective of strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion of the Union by providing financial contributions in the fields of environment and trans-European networks in the area of transport infrastructure (TEN-T), as set out in Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

 

The Cohesion Fund shall support the following:

  1. investments in the environment, including investments related to sustainable development and energy presenting environmental benefits, with a particular focus on renewable energy;
  2. investments in TEN-T;
  3. technical assistance;
  4. information, communication, and studies.

 

European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)

European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) aims to support member states and regions to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work, as well as inclusive and cohesive societies aiming to eradicating poverty and delivering on the principles set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights. It shall support, complement and add value to the policies of member states to ensure equal opportunities, equal access to the labour market, fair and quality working conditions, social protection and inclusion, in particular focussing on quality and inclusive education and training, lifelong learning, investment in children and young people and access to basic services.

 

The ESF+ shall support:

  1. improving access to employment and activation measures for all jobseekers, in particular young people;
  2. modernising labour market institutions and services;
  3. promoting a gender-balanced labour market participation, equal working conditions, and a better work-life balance;
  4. promoting the adaptation of workers, enterprises and entrepreneurs to change, active and healthy ageing;
  5. improving the quality, inclusiveness, effectiveness and labour market relevance of education and training systems including through validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  6. promoting equal access to and completion of quality and inclusive education and training, in particular for disadvantaged groups;
  7. promoting lifelong learning, in particular flexible upskilling and reskilling opportunities for all;
  8. fostering active inclusion with a view to promoting equal opportunities, non discrimination and active participation, and improving employability, in particular for disadvantaged groups;
  9. promoting socio-economic integration of third-country nationals, including migrants;
  10. promoting the socio-economic integration of marginalised communities, such as Roma people;
  11. enhancing equal and timely access to quality, sustainable and affordable services;
  12. promoting social integration of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, including the most deprived persons and children;
  13. addressing material deprivation through food and/or basic material assistance to the most deprived persons, including children, and providing accompanying measures supporting their social inclusion.

Just Transition Fund (JTF)

Just Transition Fund (JTF) is designed as a key financial mechanism intended to provide support to territories facing serious socioeconomic challenges related to the transition towards climate neutrality and to prevent the growth of regional disparities that may arise thereof. Therefore, JTF is embedded in the legislative package for Cohesion Policy, which is the main instrument of EU policy for eliminating regional disparities and addressing structural changes in European regions.

 

The scope of support (JTF shall support the following activities exclusively):

  1. productive investments in SMEs, including microenterprises and start-ups, leading to economic diversification, modernisation and reconversion;
  2. investments in the creation of new firms, including through business incubators and consulting services, leading to job creation;
  3. investments in research and innovation activities, including by universities and public research organisations, and fostering the transfer of advanced technologies;
  4. investments in the deployment of technology as well as in systems and infrastructures for affordable clean energy, including energy storage technologies, and in greenhouse gas emission reduction;
  5. investments in renewable, including the sustainability criteria set out therein, and in energy efficiency, including for the purposes of reducing energy poverty;
  6. investments in smart and sustainable local mobility, including decarbonisation of the local transport sector and its infrastructure;
  7. rehabilitation and upgrade of district heating networks with a view to improving energy efficiency of district heating systems and investments in heat production provided that the heat production installations are supplied exclusively by renewable energy sources;
  8. investments in digitalisation, digital innovation and digital connectivity;
  9. investments in regeneration and decontamination of brownfield sites, land restoration and including, where necessary, green infrastructure and repurposing projects, taking into account the ‘polluter pays’ principle;
  10. investments in enhancing the circular economy, including through waste prevention, reduction, resource efficiency, reuse, repair and recycling;
  11. upskilling and reskilling of workers and jobseekers;
  12. job-search assistance to jobseekers;
  13. active inclusion of jobseekers;
  14. technical assistance;
  15. other activities in the areas of education and social inclusion including, where duly justified, investments in infrastructure for the purposes of training centres, child-and elderly-care facilities as indicated in territorial just transition plans.

 

Additionally, the JTF may support, in areas designated as assisted areas, productive investments in enterprises other than SMEs, provided that such investments have been approved as part of the territorial just transition plan and where they are necessary for the implementation of the territorial just transition plan, where they contribute to the transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050 and to achieving related environmental targets, and where their support is necessary for job creation in the identified territory.

The JTF may also support investments to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from activities listed in Annex I to Directive 2003/87/EC provided that such investments have been approved as part of the territorial just transition plan, and if such investments are necessary for the implementation of the territorial just transition plan.

The main precondition for using the JTF will be the obligation to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and member states will be entitled to use only 50 percent of the allocated funds before adopting this goal.

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