The cohesion policy aims to reduce the differences in prosperity between Regions and Member States and stimulate the development of the entire EU in the long term via investments from the so-called structural funds. The structural funds are mainly aimed at support for enterprises and innovation (especially research), transport infrastructure (roads and railways, but also ports), human capital (employment, training) and the environment (water treatment). The large majority of these resources (more than 80%) go to the less prospering Regions and Member States of the EU.
In Belgium, many socio-economic affairs belong to the exclusive competence of the federated entities. Thus, it is the Flemish authorities who make sure that the European money for Flemish programs is granted in a correct manner. The Agency Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the ESF Agency stand for the implementation and sound management of European programs on economic, social and territorial cohesion in Flanders.
The Agency Innovation and Entrepreneurship is responsible for funding under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in Flanders, including the Interreg programs aimed at cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation. The funds are used to finance projects - especially public actors - which stimulate Flemish regional competitiveness and employment.
European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF)
European Fund for Regional Development at the Agency Innovation and Entrepreneurship (only available in Dutch)
The ESF Agency is responsible for the programs of the European Social Fund (ESF), aimed at increasing the employment rate and strengthening the Flemish labour market. Up to 50% of the project funding comes from the European Union. The remaining amount is contributed by the Government of Flanders and the private sector. The ESF Agency also manages the resources of the Asylum and Migration Fund and the European Globalisation Fund.
European Social Fund
European Social Fund at the ESF Agency (only available in Dutch)