The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was established with the aim of helping to reduce the main regional disparities in the European Community by taking part in promoting the development of underdeveloped regions and leveling out the structural differences, as well as by converting those industrial regions whose economic situation is growing worse.
The ERDF was established in 1975. The fund supports the least developed regions, mainly focusing on productive investments, infrastructure improvement and the development of the common market.
European Commission Regulation 1783/1999 stipulates that the fund should support the following measures:
- readjustment of the business infrastructure and enhancing competitiveness, especially by supporting small and medium-sized enterprises;
- development of local economy and employment, including promoting employment in the sectors of tourism and culture;
- research and technology development;
- development of the local, regional and trans-European transport, telecommunications and energy networks and their infrastructure;
- environmental protection and development;
- ensuring equality between women and men in the labour market.