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The European Regional Development Fund Under the New Generation of Structural Funds 2007-2013 

by Monica Iancu, Associate Lawyer

Published: December, 2006

Submission: April, 2007


The European Regional Development Fund (“ERDF”) appears to be one of the
appropriate means allowing Romania to reach, within the following years, the level of economic
and social cohesion requested within the European Union (ERDF representing along with the
European Social Fund the new generation of Structural Funds)1.

Aiming to decrease or even efface the imbalances between regions and social groups, the
ERDF has been destined in the past years to co-finance productive investments, infrastructure
investments, local development initiatives and business activities of small and medium-sized
enterprises, but actually a quite large range of activities are concerned, e.g. transport,
communication technologies, energy, environment, research and innovation, social
infrastructure, training, urban redevelopment and conversion of industrial sites, rural
development, fishing industry specific activities, tourism and culture.
Citizens, companies or local authorities may qualify for non-reimbursable funding under
the ERDF, provided that they prepare projects eligible under ERDF support scheme. The
projects are analysed and selected at first by the managing authority appointed by each Member
State and, thereafter, agreed upon between the European Commission and the Member State

The projects seeking for ERDF support need to observe certain principles, among which:
concentration of measures (i.e. the projects need to answer priority national objectives),
principle of partnership between the European Commission and the relevant national or local
authorities throughout the entire process, complementarity between the European assistance and
the Member State’s contribution and proportionality principle, as granting the financial should
not go beyond what it is necessary. The financial support obtained through ERDF supposes the
joint contribution to the implementation of the elected project of both the European Union and
the Member State.

Last but not least, the readiness and the implementation of the projects financed under
ERDF need to answer the principle of subsidiarity which goes back to the fundamental change in
the history of the of the European Community as enshrined, since 1993, through the Treaty of

1 Under the Structural Fund generation ending in 2006, four structural funds were available: the European Regional
Development Fund, the European Social Fund, European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, Financial Instrument for
Fisheries Guidance, the last two funds being from 2007 on integrated into the instruments under the common agricultural and fisheries policies.

The new generation of structural funds to be developed, starting with 2007 and until 2013
will be implemented with a view to answer three major objectives, namely convergence
(supporting the economic convergence of poorer regions with a gross domestic product per
capita below 75% of the European Union average), regional competition and employment
(increasing competitiveness and employment in more prosperous regions) and European
territorial cooperation (financing cross-border and trans-national cooperation projects). ERDF
will contribute towards achieving each of the aforementioned objectives.
In order to achieve the objective of convergence, financing from ERDF may be triggered
for sustaining research and development projects, particularly in the field of productivitygenerating
information and communication technologies, trans-European transport and energy
networks projects, projects launched by small to medium enterprises, projects for education and
training, as well as projects aiming to trigger efficient and cost-effective energy acquisition and

The assistance offered through ERDF shall focus also on cross-border economic, social
and environmental projects, including water management, energy efficiency and risk prevention
projects with clear trans-national dimension, with a view to achieve the objective of European
territorial cooperation.

This article was first published in Invest Romania, December 2006 issue.


1) Under the regional competition and employment objective, projects in the innovation and
knowledge economy area or related to environment and risk prevention or projects aiming to
ensure access to transport and telecommunication services of general economic interest are
deemed of high priority.





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