Economic, social and territorial cohesion policy

The ambition of the economic, social and territorial cohesion policy is to reduce disparities in terms of wealth and development between the regions of the European Union. As such, it has two primary objectives:

  • investment in growth and employment, with a view to consolidating the labour market and regional economies;
  • European territorial cooperation, aimed at supporting cohesion within the European Union through cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation.

Promoting the development of business innovation, developing very high-speed access, helping young people who experience difficulties find work, helping set up research and development units within small or medium-sized companies, etc.: all these actions can be funded under this policy in French regions to improve the daily life of citizens and combat inequalities. These actions can be sustained by public or private organisations.

This policy is funded by two funds in France: the ERDF and the ESF.

For the 2014-2020 period, the 27 French regions will be allocated €15.1 billion to implement this policy.


3D showing the beauty of the Abbey of Cluny in the Bourgogne region



Photo credit : Zen Lefort

A smart, self-driving car in the Auvergne region


AU_Voiture intelligente

Photo credit : Zen Lefort

Flowers to help with the return to employment in the Pays de la Loire region



Photo credit : Zen Lefort


European territorial cooperation

Guaranteeing access to healthcare in mountain border areas, establishing a crèche to accommodate children from either side of the border, improving telecommunications between neighbouring territories, uniting innovation players from all over Europe, etc.: all these projects were made possible by European territorial cooperation.

Innovation, employment, environment are part of the domains funded by European territorial cooperation, thereby facilitating the daily life of European citizens.

For the 2014-2020 period, France is involved in 23 European territorial cooperation (CTE) programmes, also known as "Interreg". All metropolitan and overseas regions are concerned.


Cooperation within continental Europe:

  • cross-border cooperation: 9 cross-border cooperation programmes target project initiators based in European departments sharing common borders;
  • transnational cooperation: 5 transnational cooperation programmes are open to beneficiaries from metropolitan regions. The challenge is to respond to common issues and encourage the sharing of experience within the large geographical areas (maritime and coastal basins, mountain ranges) ;
  • inter-regional cooperation: 4 programmes target cooperation programmes and authorities across Europe.


Cooperation overseas:

Cooperation is not limited to continental Europe, as overseas regions fly the European Union flag at the far reaches of the planet. For France, this cooperation with our neighbours from other continents involves  5 programmes.

Two of them (Saint Martin and Mayotte) are strictly cross-border, while the other 3 (Indian Ocean, Caribbean and Amazon) involve local cross-border cooperation and  cooperation on a much broader continental scale.


Cooperation outside the European Union:

The European Union is also involved in the stability and economic development of neighbouring countries. This is referred to as neighbourhood policy. These programmes focus on the Union's Eastern borders and certain maritime basins.

In France, the "Mediterranean maritime basin" programme offers cooperation opportunities with countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean .


European territorial cooperation is funded exclusively by the ERDF.

For the 2014-2020 period, €2 billion is allocated to the European territorial cooperation programmes in which France is involved.