Gobierno de España. Ministerio de Hacienda Y Función Pública Secretaría General de Presupuestos y Gastos
Unión Europea

European Funds: period 2021-2027

Regional development and cohesion after 2020: the new framework in a few words

Five priorities for investment have been established in areas where the EU can make the greatest contribution

Five main objectives will drive EU investments in the seven-year period from 2021-2027:

Investments in regional development will focus especially on objectives 1 and 2. Between 65 % and 85 % of ERDF and Cohesion Fund resources will be assigned to these priorities, depending on the relative wealth of the Member States:

  • A smarter Europe, through innovation, digitalisation, economic transformation, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • A greener and more carbon-free Europe, which applies the Paris Agreement and invests in energy transition, renewable energies and combating climate change;
  • A more connected Europe, with strategic transport and digital networks;
  • A more social Europe, which makes the European pillar of social rights a reality, and which supports quality employment, education, educational and professional capacities, social inclusion and equal access to healthcare;
  • A Europe that is closer to its citizens, which backs strategies for local growth and contributes to sustainable urban development throughout the EU.

An approach better suited to regional development

The cohesion policy continues to invest in all regions according to the same three categories of region (less developed, in transition and more developed).

The method for allocating funds continues to take into account, in large part, per capita GDP. New criteria have been added (youth unemployment, low education levels, climate change and reception and integration of immigrants) to better reflect the reality on the ground. The outermost regions will continue to benefit from special assistance from the EU.

The cohesion policy continues to support locally-managed development strategies and empowering local entities in managing the funds. It also strengthens the urban dimension of the cohesion policy, with 6 % of the ERDF dedicated to sustainable urban development, and a new programme to create capacities and establish networks aimed at urban authorities, the European Urban Initiative.