European Fund for Regional Development

Dossier description

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) exists since 1975 and has as its purpose to decrease regional imbalances within the European Union. The ERDF and the European Social Fund (ESF) together are also referred to as Structural funds. The ERDF is the only fund under the Cohesion policy from which all member states can profit. However, as with the other funds under the Cohesion policy, a significantly larger portion of the ERDF is reserved for less developed regions. 

Programming period 2007-2013
For the programming period 2007-2013 the Cohesion policy has three objectives. ERDF is active in all three objectives.

  1. Convergence – solidarity for the poorest regions
  2. Regional Competitiveness and Employment – creation of jobs and employment
  3. European Territorial Cooperation – increasing cooperation between member states and regions

The Netherlands is only eligible for funds under the second and third objective as the Netherlands is considered a more developed member state. Less developed member states, or convergence regions, are eligible for funding under the first and third objective.

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ERDF in Dutch regions
The ERDF is executed on a regional basis. National governments create a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) based on the Common Strategic Framework as drafted by the European Commission (EC). Within this NSRF the regions draft their own Operational Programme (OP) which sets out the regional priorities and objectives. The Netherlands is divided into four regions: North-, East-, South- and West-Netherlands. The four regions all have their own management authority responsible for the execution of the OP. The Netherlands was allocated a total of 830 million euros for funding under the second objective divided over the four regions and over seven years.


Under objective three the organisation can be slightly different, depending on the type of European cooperation; cross-border, transnational or interregional cooperation. For Dutch regions a total of 247 million euros was made available for projects under objective three. This brings the total Dutch allocation for the Cohesion policy 2007-2013 to 1,900 million euros.

Knowledge and Innovation
In the current programming period the EC selected so called priority axes that function as a guideline for spending ERDF funds under objective two. The most important priority axis is ‘innovation, entrepreneurship and knowledge economy’. The different regions have room to interpret this priority axis to have it fit their specific needs as long as it corresponds with the framework and rules as set out by the EC.

The future of the ERDF
On 6 October 2011 the EC submitted its proposal for the Cohesion policy 2014-2020 including a proposal for the ERDF. The European Parliament (EP) and the Council will discuss this proposition and will negotiate together with the EC on a final text. Next to these negotiations there is a parallel discussion on the Multi Annual Framework 2014-2020. This will eventually determine the amount that will be made available for the new Cohesion policy.

More information
Website: European Commission DG Regional Policy: ERDF
Website: Managementauthority North-Netherlands: SNN
Website: Managementauthority East-Netherlands: GO
Website: Managementauthority South-Netherlands: OP-Zuid
Website: Managementauthority West-Netherlands: Kansen voor West


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