European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is one of the five ESIF funds and focusses on strengthening economic and social cohesion in the European Union. The aim is to correct imbalances between the development levels of different regions in the European Union.

The current ERDF programme has four focus areas:

  • Research, technological development and innovation
  • The digital agenda
  • Support for SMEs
  • Achieving a low-carbon economy

Programmes under the ERDF can be divided in two categories:

In the period 2014-2020, the budget of ERDF was more than EUR 250 billion.

What is the relevance for Circular Cities?

Cooperation programmes and calls for proposals of many Interreg programmes have focused on circularity in the last years. At least 5% of the ERDF resources is dedicated to reduce economic, environmental and social problems in urban areas. This emphasis on circularity, sustainable development, and the urban context makes ERDF very relevant for circular cities.

In the light of funding circular city initiatives, the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative deserves special attention. This UIA provides support for innovative ideas and urban authorities in their efforts to ensure sustainable urban development.

How to apply?

Applying for the programmes in the ERDF is possible via specific national, regional, interregional or international authorities. Find your managing authority here external link icon.

Do you want to directly apply for projects under the Urban Innovative Actions? Check open calls for proposals here external link icon.

POST 2020: European Regional Development Fund

The majority of the budget of ERDF for 2021-2027 (65-85%) will target smart growth and the green economy. In addition, the new regulation allows for an increased focus on sustainable urban development; at least 6% instead of 5% of the total ERDF budget will be dedicated to this area. Furthermore, the ERDF will support the European Urban Initiative external link icon; a new initiative that aims to provide a coherent support to all cities including support to the Urban Agenda of the EU external link icon. Altogether, the ERDF is expected to support numerous circular city initiatives across the EU in the new period.