2014-2020 European funds

Europe 2020 strategy and European funds

The common objective of all European Union (EU) policies is to promote growth and employment as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, to tackle the economic crisis and the EU's major challenges. This European strategy, signed in 2010, focuses on "smart, sustainable and inclusive" growth and sets outs objectives in terms and research and development, employment, education, poverty reduction and climate.

These objectives are implemented via a multi-annual financial mechanism defined for the 28 member States for a 7 year period. For the 2014-2020 period, this mechanism amounts to €960 billion.


The EU entrusts member States with the management of part of these funds.

Three policies are concerned:


These three policies are financed by 4 funds, grouped together under the generic term "European structural and investment funds (ESIF)".

  • European regional development fund (ERDF) and European social fund (ESF), also known as structural funds, as part of the economic, social and territorial cohesion policy;
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) which supports rural development as part of the common agricultural policy;
  • European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) as part of the fisheries and maritime affairs policy.

For France, approximately €27 billion is allocated for the 2014-2020 period to implement these three policies, breaking down as follows depending on the fund:

  • ERDF/ESF: €15.5 billion 
  • EAFRD: €11.4 billion
  • EMFF: €588 million

Compared with the 2007-2013 programming period, the budget allocated for the 4 funds remains stable for the 2014-2020 period.


Classification of regions

The regional breakdown of ERDF-ESF budgets is calculated in accordance with a regional "classification" system. This system is put in place by the European Union and applies to all European regions.

There are three region categories:

  • less developed regions: GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average 
  • transition regions: GDP per capita ranging from 75% to 90% of the EU average 
  • more developed regions: GDP per capita above 90% of the EU average

The classification of a region into a given category impacts the co-funding rates. It should be noted that European funds complement other sources (public, private, self-funding) in the funding of the projects they support.

For example, in transition regions, the proportion of structural funds (ERDF-ESF) in the co-funding of projects may be as high as 60%, compared with 50% in the more developed regions. In the less developed regions, the co-funding rate may be as high as 85%.

Region categories also have an impact on thematic concentration