European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF)

The European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF) consist of five EU funds that invest in growth, job creation, and a sustainable and healthy European economy and environment:

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • Cohesion Fund (CF)
  • European Social Fund (ESF)
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

The European Commission allocates the budget of the five funds to the EU Member States, which in turn deploy ESIF resources through Operational Programmes, which are managed at national and/or regional level by appointed Managing Authorities (MA). The five funds together channel half of the entire EU funding budget.

Under the shared management between the EU Member States and the European Commission, five focus areas have been determined:

  • Research and innovation
  • Digital technologies
  • Sustainable management of natural resources
  • Supporting the low-carbon economy
  • Small businesses

What is the relevance for Circular City initiatives?

ESIF focusses on innovation, sustainability and (regional) economic development. This means that the funds emphasise the importance of promoting the growth of the economy while stimulating eco-friendly innovation and sustainable growth. This includes circular initiatives and solutions. Especially the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, and the European Social Fund can play an important role in funding the circular transition.

How to apply?

The different funds have their own application processes. In general, however, organisations can apply for project funding through the managing authorities in their country or region. Find out more about regional policy in your own country here external link icon.

POST 2020: European Structural & Investment Funds

In the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) (2021-2027), the same five funds will continue to drive economic and social investments. While the ERDF and Cohesion Fund are not expected to change significantly, the European Social Fund will be restructured and will be merged with other programmes on Health and Social Innovation.