The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and other Structural Funds comes in the form of non-reimbursable assistance. The financial assistance is channelled through development programmes, which are packages of measures that are eligible for support. As soon as an agreement on the programme has been reached by the Commission and the Member State authorities, European money becomes available to meet the programme's aims. One of two financing mechanisms is used:
- The Operational Programme: an individual programme that arises out of the Community support framework
- The Single Programming Document: that combines the development strategy together with the programmes to be supported in a single agreement.
Practically speaking, however, the result is the same: European co-financing is made available to development projects that respond to national priorities agreed upon between the Member State and the European Commission.
ERDF resources are mainly used to cofinance:
- Productive investment leading to the creation or maintenance of jobs;
- Local development initiatives and the business activities of small and medium-sized enterprises.