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EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Brussels, 14.3.2012
SWD(2012) 61 final
Part I

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT
Elements for a Common Strategic Framework 2014 to 2020

the European Regional Development Fund
the European Social Fund,
the Cohesion Fund,
the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and
the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund


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COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT
Elements for a Common Strategic Framework 2014 to 2020 for

the European Regional Development Fund
the European Social Fund,
the Cohesion Fund,
the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and
the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund






















This staff working document has been drawn up on the basis of the proposals for regulations
adopted by the European Commission on 6 October 2011, 12 October 2011 and 2 December
2011. It does not prejudge the final nature of the acts, nor the content of any delegated or
implementing acts that may be prepared by the Commission.

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1. INTRODUCTION
Europe needs to put its economy back on a sustainable growth path. This requires a
combination of budgetary consolidation, structural reforms, and environmentally sustainable
growth-enhancing investments.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the
Cohesion Fund (CF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and
the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) pursue complementary policy objectives
and their management is shared between the Member States and the Commission. They are
the main source of investment at EU level to help Member States to restore and increase
growth and ensure a job rich recovery while ensuring sustainable development, in line with
Europe 2020 objectives.
The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) assigns clear objectives to
these instruments. The Commission considers that they can be more effectively pursued if the
five Funds are better coordinated to avoid overlaps and maximise synergies, integrated fully
into the economic governance of the European Union, and contribute to the delivery of
Europe 2020 by engaging national, regional and local stakeholders.
This is why the Commission has proposed a Common Provisions Regulation for all five
Funds. The proposal provides for much closer coordination of the funds to achieve:
concentration of resources on the objectives of Europe 2020 through a common set of
thematic objectives to which the funds will contribute;
simplification through more coherent planning and implementation arrangements;
a reinforced focus on results through a performance framework and reserve;
harmonisation of eligibility rules and an extension of simplified cost options to reduce
the administrative burden for beneficiaries and managing authorities.
Furthermore, the proposal foresees the adoption of Partnership Contracts which will set out
the commitments of the partners at national and regional level. These contracts will be linked
to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the National Reform Programmes. They
will set out "an integrated approach for territorial development supported by all CSF Funds".
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In order to facilitate the development of Partnership Contracts and programmes, the proposal
foresees the adoption of a Common Strategic Framework (CSF). The CSF should increase
coherence between policy commitments made in the context of Europe 2020 and investment
on the ground. It should encourage integration by setting out how the funds can work
together. It will provide a source of strategic direction to be translated by Member States and
regions into the programming of the CSF Funds in the context of their specific needs,
opportunities and challenges.

1
COM(2011) 500/II final, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council,
the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions 'A Budget For Europe
2020 - Part II - Policy Fiches', p. 5.

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The purpose of this Staff Working Document is to set out the main elements of the CSF as a
basis for discussion with the European Parliament and the Council. These include:
for each of the thematic objectives set out in the proposal for the Common Provisions
Regulation,
o the main Europe 2020 targets and policy objectives that should be addressed by
Member States in their Partnership Contracts, closely linked to their National
Reform Programmes,
o and key actions, corresponding to investment priorities and Union priorities,
which are expected to generate the greatest impact on growth, jobs and
sustainability during implementation of the programmes;
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the linkages with the governance process of the European Semester;
the coordination and integration of the CSF Funds;
horizontal principles and policy objectives for the implementation of the CSF Funds;
the development of Partnership Contracts and programmes to address the territorial
challenges of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;
priorities for cooperation activities.
The document addresses each of these elements in the following sections.
2. THEMATIC OBJECTIVES AND KEY ACTIONS
In June 2010, the European Council adopted the Europe 2020 Strategy with the aim of
stimulating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The strategy spells out EU headline
targets for research and innovation, climate change and energy, employment, education and
poverty reduction for 2020, to be translated into national targets. The Europe 2020 Integrated
Guidelines
3
and seven flagship initiatives set out in more detail the path towards sustainable
and job-creating growth.
4
However, in order to maximise the contribution of the CSF Funds,
this strategy needs to be further developed within national and regional contexts. In this way,
economic, social and territorial cohesion can be at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy

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The proposal for Common Provisions Regulations establishes a hierarchy of objectives in which thematic
objectives, based on Europe 2020, are common to all five CSF Funds. These are translated into investment
priorities (ERDF, ESF, CF) and Union priorities (EAFRD and EMFF) specific to each Fund (and set out in
the proposals for the ERDF, ESF, CF, EAFRD and EMFF regulations. Each programme should describe the
actions to deliver the investment priorities and Union priorities for each of the CSF Funds. Programmes
should take into account those key actions which are expected to generate the greatest impact on growth,
jobs and sustainability in the specific context of a Member State or region.
3
Council Recommendation of 13 July 2010 on broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member
States and the Union (OJ L 191, 23.07.2010, p. 28) and Council decision of 21 October 2010 on guidelines
for the employment policies of the Member States (OJ L 308, 24.11.2010, p. 46).
4
Digital agenda for Europe, Innovation Union, Youth on the move, Resource efficient Europe, An
industrial policy for the globalisation era, An agenda for new skills and jobs and European platform
against poverty.

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ensuring that all energies and capacities are mobilised and focused on the pursuit of the
strategy's priorities.
The proposal for the Common Provision Regulation identifies eleven thematic objectives. By
identifying the main goals of Europe 2020 to be addressed by the CSF Funds and the range of
key actions that could be carried out together under these thematic objectives, the CSF can
provide further guidance on how the CSF Funds can most effectively target growth in the
Partnership Contracts and programmes:
the ERDF will contribute to all thematic objectives and focus on areas of investment
linked to the context in which firms operate (infrastructure, business services, support
for business, innovation, ICT and research) and to the provision of services to citizens
in certain areas (energy, on-line services, education, health, social and research
infrastructures, accessibility, quality of the environment). The Cohesion Fund will
focus on improving the environment, sustainable development and TEN-T;
the ESF will be programmed under four thematic objectives: employment and labour
mobility; education, skills and lifelong learning; promoting social inclusion and
combating poverty as well as administrative capacity building. Actions supported by
the ESF will, however, also contribute to the other thematic objectives;
the EAFRDs six priorities will target smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the
agricultural, food and forestry sectors and in rural areas as a whole. They cover
knowledge transfer and innovation, the competitiveness of agriculture, management
of natural resources and climate action, and the inclusive development of rural areas;
the EMFF priorities, in line with the Common Fisheries Policy reform, will focus on
the viability and competitiveness of fisheries and aquaculture, while at the same time
supporting their environmental sustainability. The EMFF will promote social
cohesion and job creation in fisheries dependent communities, in particular through
diversification into other maritime sectors, as well as action in the field of Integrated
Maritime Policy.
Annex I sets out in an integrated manner for each of the thematic objectives the main goals to
be addressed, the key actions for each CSF Fund and corresponding general implementation
principles to ensure effective and efficient use of the funds.
3. COHERENCE AND CONSISTENCY WITH EU ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE
The Europe 2020 strategy constitutes the policy framework for the European Union in the
current decade: its five headline targets define where the EU wants to be in 2020 and the
Integrated Guidelines set out the policy orientations for the medium-term. In order to deliver
results, stronger economic governance has been put in place. It translates the Europe 2020
thematic priorities and targets into an annual cycle of multilateral surveillance centred on
national reporting and country specific recommendations.
In January 2011, the first European Semester on policy coordination was launched with the
presentation of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS). Every year the AGS identifies the priority
actions for the European Union, including growth-enhancing measures, for the following
twelve months in the context of the overall Europe 2020 strategy consistent with its longer
term priorities. Each Spring, the Member States present National Reform Programmes

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(NRPs) outlining policy measures to address the AGS policy priorities and Euro Plus Pact
commitments in order to boost growth and jobs and reach national targets set in relation to
European headline targets. Stability and Convergence Programmes (SGP) ensure sound
public finances. On the basis of a detailed assessment of the NRPs and SGPs, the Commission
proposes country-specific recommendations (CSRs) which are then endorsed by the June
European Council. The CSRs should then feed into the economic and budgetary decisions in
the second half of the year and in the NRPs the following year.
The country-specific recommendations relevant to the CSF Funds are those of a long-term
nature, reflecting deep underlying structural challenges that need to be addressed by multi-
annual investment strategies. Some of the recommendations will be regulatory in character.
However, others will be of direct relevance to the areas of intervention of the CSF Funds
requiring a combination of regulation and budgetary decisions, including public investment.
Examples of relevant country specific recommendations
- Recommendations linked to the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines concern growth-enhancing
measures defined in National Reform Programmes: in particular those related to research and
innovation, to ICT infrastructure and services; enhancing the capacity of SMEs to grow and
internationalise, including enhanced access to non-bank funding; new sources of growth such as low-
carbon technologies, energy efficiency or renewable energies; support for waste and water management
and price-setting schemes and the sustainable exploitation and management of natural resources; to the
setting up of multiannual plans for investment in railway, infrastructures; and health systems reform.
- Recommendations based on the Employment Guidelines, in particular those to increase the
effectiveness of active labour market policies and to improve the capacity of the Public Employment
Services, to promote gender equality and foster a better work balance, to better integrate vulnerable
groups on the labour market, to improve educational outcomes, to adapt skills to labour market needs,
to adopt and implement comprehensive lifelong learning strategies, to tackle early school leaving and
improve access to education.
The CSF Funds have a central role to play in supporting the measures outlined by the country-
specific recommendations to bring about necessary structural change and address gaps in
relation to the Europe 2020 headline targets. In particular, the Commission has highlighted in
the 2012 Annual Growth Survey that Member States should give particular attention to
prioritising growth-friendly expenditure, such as spending on education, research, innovation
and energy and ensuring the efficiency of such spending. Particular attention should also be
paid to maintaining or reinforcing the coverage and effectiveness of employment services and
active labour market policies, with a focus on youth unemployment, and to facilitating the
access of SMEs to finance.
In preparing their Partnership Contracts, the Member States and regions need to programme
the CSF Funds taking into account the most recent relevant country-specific
recommendations issued by the Council on the basis of Articles 121(2) and 148(4) TFEU and
reflecting their National Reform Programmes. Member States should also take into account
Council recommendations based on the Stability and Growth Pact. Each Member State should
set out in the partnership contract how different EU and national funding streams contribute to
addressing the challenges identified by the country-specific recommendations concerned.
The global context in which the CSF Funds operate can change and new priorities may
emerge, so the programming mechanisms of the CSF Funds need to be flexible enough to
refocus financial resources to address these new critical challenges. The Commission proposal
foresees that where there are relevant changes in the Union Strategy for Smart, Sustainable

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and Inclusive Growth, the Common Strategic Framework and the Partnership Contracts can
be revised. Furthermore, the Commission may request a Member State to review and propose
amendments to its Partnership Contract and relevant programmes to support the
implementation of a country-specific recommendation.
4. REINFORCING COORDINATION AND INTEGRATION
In its proposals for a Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission has set out an
ambitious agenda to simplify and rationalise the EU budget.
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In line with this approach, it has
proposed in the Common Provisions Regulation a framework to ensure greater cross-sector
consistency and coordination as well as to encourage potential synergies. These
rationalisation measures should facilitate the submission and the processing of applications
for financial assistance and reduce the administrative burden for applicants and beneficiaries
of the CSF Funds. At the same time, it has sought greater harmonisation of rules within both
the Financial Regulation and between sector-specific regulations to promote simplification
and coordination.
4.1. Coordination mechanisms among the CSF Funds
The basis for coordination between the CSF Funds is provided through a common delivery
framework established in the proposal for the Common Provisions Regulation. Delegated and
implementing acts will further enhance coordination and consistency between the CSF Funds.
The integration of the CSF Funds in each Member State's Partnership Contract provides a
framework for close coordination to ensure that interventions financed create synergies and
that streamlining leads to a reduction of administrative cost and administrative burden on the
ground.
It is essential that Member States ensure that all ministries and managing authorities
responsible for the implementation of the CSF funds work closely together in the preparation,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Partnership Contract and programmes. The
Partnership Contracts should set out the arrangements for ensuring this coordination and the
concrete measures that will be taken to maintain this coordination throughout the
programming period. Such coordination should include:
the identification of areas of intervention where the CSF Funds can work together in a
complementary manner to achieve the thematic objectives set out in the proposed
Common Provisions Regulation. This can be achieved by close coordination of
programming under different monofund programmes. Alternatively, Member States
have the option to prepare and implement multifund programmes combining the
ERDF, ESF and the Cohesion Fund in a single programme;
the involvement by managing authorities responsible for one of the CSF Funds of
other managing authorities and relevant ministries in the development of support
schemes to ensure synergies and avoid overlaps;
the establishment, where appropriate, of joint monitoring committees for programmes
implementing CSF Funds, and the development of other joint management and
control arrangements to facilitate coordination between authorities responsible for the
implementation of CSF Funds;

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COM(2012) 42 final, 'A Simplification Agenda for the MFF 2014-2020'.

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greater use of joint eGovernance solutions aimed at applicants and beneficiaries and
"one-stop shops" for advice on possibilities of support from all CSF Funds can
contribute greatly to reducing the administrative burden for beneficiaries.
4.2. Coordination mechanisms for the CSF Funds with other EU policies and
instruments
It is imperative to ensure the consistency of actions financed from the CSF Funds with other
EU policies. The EAFRD and the EMFF in particular are essential parts of the overall policy
framework for the common agricultural policy, the common fisheries policy and the
integrated maritime policy. Furthermore, investment from all the CSF Funds can directly
support the achievement of objectives established under other Union policies in areas such as
environment, climate action, education and employment, but also indirectly in areas such as
the single market. Member States should ensure consistency at programming and
implementation stages between interventions supported by the CSF Funds and the objectives
of these policies.
In many areas, more than one EU instrument can provide resources to support the
achievement of Europe 2020 objectives. These instruments may be under shared management
with the Member States in areas such as justice and home affairs, but also under direct
management of the Commission, such as the Connecting Europe Facility in the field of
infrastructure, Horizon 2020 in the area of research and innovation, the Erasmus for All
programme in the field of education and training, the Leonardo da Vinci programme for
vocational education and training, the Programme for Social Change and Innovation in the
area of employment and social inclusion or the LIFE programme in the areas of environment
and climate action. In these policy domains, it is important that Member States and regions
identify and exploit complementarities between different Union instruments at national and
regional level, both in the phase of planning and during implementation.
They should establish structures that facilitate the strategic identification of priorities for the
different instruments and structures for coordination at national level. Such structures should
also seek to avoid duplication of effort and identify areas where additional financial support is
needed. These structures should be set out in the Partnership Contract, and where appropriate,
in programmes.
Member States should also make full use of the possibility to integrate support from different
instruments to support individual operations. This has been facilitated by the harmonisation of
rules applied to different Union instruments at EU level. Furthermore, it will be particularly
important that national and regional authorities responsible for the implementation of the CSF
Funds work closely with those responsible for implementing other national instruments to
deliver coherent and streamlined funding opportunities for beneficiaries.
The scope for complementarity between the CSF Funds and other Union policies and
instruments is set out in greater detail in Annex I under each of the thematic objectives.

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4.3. Encouraging integrated approaches to the delivery of the CSF Funds
The Common Provisions Regulation proposes a number of mechanisms to encourage
integrated approaches to programming, to achieve coordination and synergies during
implementation. Member States should set out in their Partnership Contracts and programmes
how they intend to make use of these to achieve integration.
In order to promote integrated approaches to territorial development, the proposal for a
Common Provisions Regulation provides for two mechanisms to facilitate the development of
local and sub-regional approaches. These are Community Led Local Development and
Integrated Territorial Investments for the ERDF, ESF and Cohesion Fund. Both seek to
engage regional and local actors and local communities in the implementation of
programmes.
Community-led local development
Community-led local development (based on the experience of LEADER under rural development) can
complement and enhance the delivery of public policies for all CSF Funds. It aims at increasing effectiveness
and efficiency of territorial development strategies by delegating decision-making and implementation to a local
partnership of public, private and civil society actors. Community-led local development should be implemented
in the context of a strategic approach followed by public policy-makers, to ensure that the bottom-up definition
of local needs takes account of priorities set at a higher level. Member States will therefore have to define the
approach to community-led local development across the CSF Funds and should include references to
community-led local development in the Partnership Contracts. The Partnership Contract should detail the main
challenges that Member States intend to tackle, setting out the main objectives and priorities and indicate the
types of territories where this approach should be implemented and which specific role will be attributed to the
local action groups in its delivery. In addition, they should indicate how the CSF Funds will be used together and
explain the role envisaged for the different Funds in different types of territories (rural, urban etc.). Under the
EAFRD, LEADER will continue to be a compulsory element in each rural development programme.
I ntegrated territorial investments for the ERDF, ESF and Cohesion Fund
An Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) is an instrument which provides for integrated delivery arrangements
for investments under more than one priority axis of one or more operational programmes. Funding from several
priority axes and programmes can be bundled into an integrated investment strategy for a certain territory or
functional area. This can take the form of an integrated strategy for urban development, but also for inter-
municipal cooperation in specific territories. It allows the managing authorities to delegate the implementation of
parts of different priority axes to one body (a local authority) to ensure that investments are undertaken in a
complementary manner. Within an ITI certain components can be implemented through community-led local
development, combining the two approaches.
The proposed Common Provisions Regulation also introduces new mechanisms to encourage
the development of integrated operations. This allows the joint implementation by a single
beneficiary of a number of projects from different sources within the CSF Funds, and in
certain cases from other EU instruments.
I ntegrated Operations
Unlike the current period, an operation may receive support from one or more CSF Funds and from other Union
instruments. This is subject to the condition that an expenditure item is not funded twice under the CSF Funds or
other Union instrument. This would allow, for example, a single operation to receive support from both the
ERDF and the ESF, or the ERDF and Horizon 2020.

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J oint Action Plans
A Joint Action Plan is a new type of integrated operation implemented through a result based approach in order
to achieve specific objectives jointly agreed between the Member State and the Commission. It comprises a
group of projects which are carried out under the responsibility of a designated beneficiary. In practice the
financial management of the Joint Action Plan will be exclusively based on the outputs and the results it seeks to
achieve. The Joint Action Plan may be funded by the ESF and the ERDF. However, it may not be used to
support infrastructure. It may be part of one or several operational programmes and thus may constitute a useful
instrument to foster better integration of the different Funds towards a common objective.
5. HORIZONTAL PRINCIPLES AND POLICY OBJECTIVES
The proposal for the Common Provisions Regulation contains horizontal provisions and
policy objectives which apply to the implementation of the CSF funds.
Promotion of equality between men and women and non-discrimination
Member States should pursue the objective of equality between men and women as set out in
Article 8 of the TFEU and ensure its mainstreaming in the preparation, implementation,
monitoring and evaluation of actions under all the CSF Funds. ERDF, ESF and Cohesion
Fund programmes should explicitly specify the expected contribution of these Funds to
gender equality, by setting out in detail objectives and instruments. Gender analysis should be
included in the analysis of the objectives of the intervention. The participation of the relevant
bodies responsible for promoting gender equality in the partnership should be ensured. It is
strongly recommended to organise permanent structures or explicitly assign a function to
existing structures to advise on gender equality in order to provide the necessary expertise in
the preparation, monitoring and evaluation of the CSF Funds.
Monitoring systems and data collection are also essential to provide a clear picture of how
programmes are meeting gender equality objectives. In this respect, rather than a general
requirement to address these issues in all evaluation activities, it is recommended that
managing authorities, in conjunction with the monitoring committees, should undertake either
general self-assessment exercises, specific evaluation studies or a structured reflection
focusing on the application of the gender mainstreaming principle. The composition of the
monitoring committees should be gender balanced and should include a gender
expertise/responsibility function.
Member States should take appropriate steps to prevent any discrimination based on sex,
racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation
6
as well as to
ensure accessibility during the preparation and implementation of programmes and operations
co-financed by the CSF Funds and describe explicitly the actions to take into account this
principle in the programmes.

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This does not prevent any Member State from maintaining or adopting positive actions to prevent or
compensate for disadvantages linked to any of these grounds (Art. 5 of Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29
June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic
origin (OJ, L 180, 19.07.2000, p. 22) and Art. 7 of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000
establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p.
16).

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The opinion issued by the equality bodies on the programmes for the ESF, ERDF and
Cohesion Fund aims to ensure that all necessary provisions are in place. In addition, the
involvement of equality bodies or other organisations active in combating discrimination is
strongly recommended in order to provide the necessary expertise in the preparation,
monitoring and evaluation of the Funds.
All programmes will need to combat discrimination and promote equal opportunities as well
as to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities during their preparation and
implementation. Accessibility should be a characteristic of all products and services offered to
the public and co-financed by the CSF Funds. In particular, accessibility to the built
environment, transport and information and communication, including new technologies,
should be required by the Managing Authorities. Besides the principle of mainstreaming,
Member States will need to put in place positive actions to be supported by the ESF to
promote equal opportunities.
Sustainable development
Sustainable development requires compliance with the environmental acquis. Since the CSF
Funds are the major source of EU funding for the environment, the Funds also need to
contribute substantially to environmental enhancement, and at least 20% of the EU budget in
the period 2014-2020 should be allocated to climate change objectives. It is therefore essential
that Member States provide timely and comprehensive information on the amount of climate
related expenditure in accordance with the methodology set out in the Common Provisions
Regulation. Member States should track biodiversity-related expenditure based on the
proposed reporting arrangements.
To ensure the horizontal integration of sustainable development, the polluter pays principle as
set out in Article 192 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union implies that
those who cause environmental damage should bear the costs of avoiding it or compensating
for it. As a general rule, this means that funding should not be used to meet the costs of
complying with existing legislation. The polluter pays principle should be systematically
applied across programmes and projects. The polluter pays principle also applies to funding
provided for potentially environmentally harmful activities, particularly the financing of
infrastructure. In such cases, funding should be provided only if user charging and the
internalisation of externalities do not cover the cost of the investment and the cost of any
harm caused. At the same time it should be shown that overall the investment results in net
social benefits.
In certain cases it may not be possible to apply the user pays and polluter pays principles, or it
may only be possible to apply it partially:
if the cost of measures to protect the environment are deemed disproportionate for the
public authorities of Member States, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union provides for financial support from the Cohesion Fund;
if the source of pollution or the user of natural resources is the general population, it
may not be possible in low-income regions to cover the entire cost of avoiding
environmental damage or the cost of producing the resource by charging users (for
example, in the case of waste water treatment or waste where EU legislation allows for
social aspects to be taken into consideration);

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if the polluters cannot be identified and legal liability for environmental damage cannot
be assigned to the polluter or other stakeholders (for example, contaminated land where
contamination cannot be clearly assigned to the polluter)
7
.
Support from the EAFRD can be provided to land managers where mandatory environmental
requirements create area-specific disadvantages.
Investments made with the support of the CSF-Funds should be resilient to the impact of
climate change and natural disasters (increased risks of flooding, heat waves, extreme weather
events, etc.).
6. MEETING THE TERRITORIAL CHALLENGES OF SMART, SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE
GROWTH
The major societal challenges faced by the European Union today - globalisation,
demographic change, environmental degradation, migration, climate change and energy use as
well as the need to cope with the economic and social consequences of the crisis - will have
different impacts in different regions.
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The capacity of Member States and regions to achieve
smart, sustainable and inclusive growth depends on their specific development potential and
their assets in terms of human, physical and natural capital, knowledge, institutions and
networks. This in turn requires that programmes under the CSF Funds reflect the diversity of
European regions, whether in terms of employment and labour market characteristics,
commuting patterns, population ageing and demographic shifts, cultural, landscape and
heritage features, climate change vulnerabilities and impacts, land use and resource
constraints, institutional and governance arrangements, connectivity or accessibility, and
linkages between rural and urban areas. Member States and regions should therefore take into
account five elements when designing their Partnership Contracts and programmes:
the first element is an analysis of the Member States or regions development potential
and capacity, particularly in relation to the key challenges identified in Europe 2020, the
National Reform Programmes and the relevant country-specific recommendations. This
requires the responsible authorities to undertake a detailed analysis of national, regional
and local characteristics;
the second element, building directly on the first element, is an assessment of the major
challenges to be addressed by the region or Member State. Central to this process is the
identification of the bottlenecks and missing links, innovation gaps, including the lack
of planning and implementation capacity that inhibit the long-term potential for growth
and jobs. This will highlight the possible fields and activities for policy prioritisation,
intervention and concentration;
many of the societal and environmental challenges faced by EU regions and Member
States transcend administrative boundaries and national borders. The third element,
therefore, requires consideration of the cross-sectoral, cross-jurisdictional or even cross-
border coordination challenges, particularly in the context of macro-regional and sea-
basin strategies;

7
See in particular paragraph 132 in the Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection
(OJ C 82, 1.4.2008, pp. 1-33).
8
Commission Staff Working Document, Regions 2020 An assessment of future challenges for EU
regions, November 2008.

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fourthly, in many cases, an integrated approach linking Europe 2020 with regional and
local actors will require improved coordination across different territorial levels and
sources of funding. The Partnership Contract will be a key element in developing such
an approach;
the fifth element involves developing a Partnership Contract and programmes based on
the thematic objectives set out in the proposal for the Common Provisions Regulation to
deliver results. The specific objectives of each programme should therefore be
expressed by appropriate result indicators to capture the changes that the programme is
intended to facilitate.
The development of Partnership Contracts and programmes which take into account these
elements will allow Member States and regions to build on the European Unions diversity in
a manner appropriately tailored to local challenges, knowledge and possibilities. Such an
approach will provide a solid basis to identify how the CSF Funds can best operate together to
unlock the potential to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The Lisbon Treaty has added territorial cohesion to the principles of economic and social
cohesion, and it is clear that geographic or demographic features can intensify development
problems
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. This overall approach to promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth will
therefore have to reflect the role of cities, rural areas, fisheries and coastal areas, areas facing
specific geographical or demographic problems. It will also have to take account of the
specific challenges of the outermost regions, the northernmost regions with a very low
population density and of island, cross-border or mountain regions, as explicitly recognised
by the Lisbon Treaty. Finally, territorial cohesion also means addressing urban-rural linkages,
in terms of access to affordable, quality infrastructures and services, and problems in regions
with a high concentration of socially marginalised communities.
7. PRIORITIES FOR COOPERATION ACTIVITIES
The challenges faced by regions and Member States often cut across national and regional
boundaries. An effective response requires joint, cooperative action and sharing of knowledge
at the appropriate territorial level. This action should be supported by both the ERDF and the
ESF. Where macro-regional and sea basin strategies have been put in place, all the CSF funds
should support their implementation.
In order to ensure the effective contribution of European territorial cooperation programmes
to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and to avoid the fragmentation of the available
funding, it is necessary to concentrate ERDF resources and ensure coordination with other
EU-funded programmes. Particular attention should be dedicated to addressing the cross-
border challenges confronting outermost regions and sparsely populated areas.
In order to enhance the effectiveness of policies supported by the ESF through mutual
learning, it is important to promote transnational cooperation between partners at national
and/or regional level.

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COM(2010) 642 final, Communication from the Commission, Conclusions of the fifth report on economic,
social and territorial cohesion: the future of cohesion policy, p. 7.

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Annex II sets out in greater detail the areas which should be the focus of territorial
cooperation activities.

EN EN


EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Brussels, 14.3.2012
SWD(2012) 61 final
Part II

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT
Elements for a Common Strategic Framework 2014 to 2020

the European Regional Development Fund
the European Social Fund,
the Cohesion Fund,
the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and
the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

ANNEXES


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Contents

Annex I: Thematic Objectives
1. STRENGTHENING RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION.. 3
2. ENHANCING ACCESS TO AND, USE AND QUALITY OF INFORMATION AND
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES .......................................................................................................... 7
3. ENHANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS OF SMES, THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR (FOR
THE EAFRD) AND THE FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE SECTOR (FOR THE EMFF) ................ 10
4. SUPPORTING THE SHIFT TOWARDS A LOW-CARBON ECONOMY IN ALL SECTORS...... 13
5. PROMOTING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND RISK PREVENTION AND
MANAGEMENT ................................................................................................................................................ 17
6. PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND PROMOTING RESOURCE EFFICIENCY ............ 19
7. PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT AND REMOVING BOTTLENECKS IN KEY
NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURES................................................................................................................. 23
8. PROMOTING EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORTING LABOUR MOBILITY................................. 26
9. PROMOTING SOCIAL INCLUSION AND COMBATING POVERTY ........................................... 30
10. INVESTING IN EDUCATION, SKILLS AND LIFELONG LEARNING.......................................... 35
11. ENHANCING INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY AND ENSURING AN EFFICIENT PUBLIC
ADMINISTRATION.......................................................................................................................................... 39

Annex II: Priorities for cooperation

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ANNEX I: THEMATIC OBJECTIVES
1. STRENGTHENING RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION
1.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
Europe 2020 headline target:
Improving the conditions for research and development, in particular with the aim of
bringing combined public and private investment levels in this sector to 3 % of GDP
State of play:
By 2020 and based on national targets, the EU would still fall short of the 3% target by
approximately 0.3 percentage points. The R&D investment rate stood at 2.01% in 2009.
1
.
Europes competitiveness, our capacity to create millions of new jobs to replace those lost in
the crisis and, overall, our future standard of living depends on our ability to drive innovation
in products, services, business and social processes and models.
2
The major focus for the
Funds is therefore to address bottlenecks to innovation and increase investment in business
research and development through close collaboration between public and private actors.
Key actions for the ERDF:
innovation in enterprises. This includes the dissemination and adoption of new
technologies, in particular key enabling technologies, through cooperation with actors in
the world of research and education, technology transfer, applied research, technology
development and demonstration facilities, in order to help companies develop more
innovative products, processes, marketing and services and diversify the
national/regional economy through new high-growth activities;
capacity-building in Member States and regions for R&I excellence and technological
change, by investing in innovative solutions and research infrastructures and equipment,
in particular those of European interest in the context of Joint Programming Initiatives
3
,
the ESFRI ('European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures')
4
research
infrastructures, the development of the Regional Partner Facilities and within the
Strategic Energy Technology Plan
5
. This includes support for national/regional research
facilities and technology centres, competence centres and science parks, with a clear
focus on enhancing applied research, through reinforced cooperation with industry to

1
COM(2011) 815 final, AGS 2012 Annex I.
2
COM(2010) 546 final, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions, Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative -
Innovation Union.
3
Special competence could be build up in key areas for industry and economic development like the
metrology sector, as part of the European Metrology Research Programme, which supports capacity building
in certain countries/regions through a joint programme between 22 countries and the European Union.
4
Innovation Union Commitment 5, COM (2010) 546 final, Communication from the Commission to the
European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions
'Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative - Innovation Union.
5
COM(2009) 519 final,'Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan)'.

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leverage private R&I investment;
capacity-building in Member States and regions for the swift economic exploitation of
new ideas stemming from research and innovation (R&I). This includes support for
clusters, cooperative partnerships between research, education and innovation actors,
business R&I infrastructures, promotion of R&I business advisory services, also in the
field of services, creative hubs, cultural and creative industries and social innovation,
pilots and demonstration activities, and creating more demand for innovative products
through public procurement of innovation.
Key actions for the EAFRD:
Fostering innovation and the knowledge base in rural areas, through:
cooperation between the agriculture, food and forestry sectors and other actors and the
creation of clusters and networks. Cooperation in this context may take the form of pilot
projects and the development of new products, practices, processes and technologies,
including the introduction of low carbon and green technologies;
the establishment and use of advisory services, including farm management and farm
and forestry advisory services, while also enabling farmers, forest holders and SMEs in
rural areas to access advisory services in order to improve economic and environmental
performance.
Strengthening the links between agriculture and forestry and research and innovation through:
setting up operational groups bringing together farmers, researchers, advisors, civil
society and businesses involved in the agriculture and food sectors in order to develop
and implement innovative projects on topics of common interest. These operational
groups will form part of the European Innovation Partnership for agricultural
productivity and sustainability.
1.2 General implementation principles
The Flagship Initiative "Innovation Union" has highlighted that the funds should be fully
exploited to develop research and innovation capacities across Europe, based on smart
specialisation strategies. These can ensure a more effective use of public funds and can
stimulate private investment
6
. Such strategies will provide the context for investment in
research and innovation and will focus these activities on the specific economic strengths and
potentials of regions and Member States, identify niche specialisations, technological
diversification and differentiation in products, processes and services, and help avoid
duplication and fragmentation of policy effort.
R&I investments are relevant for all types of regions in the EU. However, the focus of
investment will reflect the level of development: technologically leading regions will focus on
remaining ahead while peripheral regions will seek to catch up and build stairways to
excellence. Building up research and innovation capacity
7
and increasing accessibility to

6
COM(2011) 17 final, Communication from the Commission 'Regional Policy contributing to smart growth
in Europe 2020'.
7
Policy implications arising from ex-post evaluations of Cohesion Policy programmes 2000-2006 co-
financed by the ERDF (Objective 1 &2), Synthesis report, March 2010.

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knowledge and R&I absorption by focusing on technology transfer or co-inventing
applications of generic technology in one or more important domains of the national/regional
economy
8
and commercialising research results will be of particular relevance for the less
developed and transition regions, to help them participate in the European Research Area and
to develop an innovation-friendly environment for business and civil society. The focus of
investment for the more developed regions should be on the promoting new, fast growing,
technology-based companies and the swift economic and commercial exploitation of R&I
results. Thus, regional diversity calls for differentiated policies depending on the type of
region, with differing emphasis on the generation, dissemination and adoption of knowledge
in the economy but with the common objective of developing efficient innovation systems.
Interregional cooperation should aim to reinforce the effectiveness of cohesion policy by
encouraging exchange of experience between regions to enhance design and implementation
of operational programmes.
EU funding should not displace private funding; instead, use should be made of financial
instruments to leverage private finance for research and innovation.
9

Gender equality should be considered in the definition of the areas for actions for
strengthening research and innovation. Considering the gender dimension in funded research
and innovation could improve methods and outputs of research products.
1.3 Complementarity and coordination
It is crucial to strengthen synergies and complementarities between Cohesion Policy and
Horizon 2020, while establishing a clear division of labour between them. This can help in
increasing the value added of R&I European policies, further exploit the European dimension
in the European Research Area in particular, and at the same time avoid duplication and
fragmentation of effort at national and regional level.
In order to strengthen these synergies in practice, it is essential that the smart specialisation
strategies be elaborated
10
by national and/or regional managing authorities for Cohesion
Policy funds in close collaboration with the authorities responsible for research and
innovation most directly concerned by Horizon 2020 and involving stakeholders such as
universities and higher education institutions, local industry and social partners. The Smart
Specialisation Platform
11
established by the Commission should be used to support the
development of these strategies. These strategies should consider both upstream and
downstream actions to and from Horizon 2020 financed by the CSF Funds. As set out above,
both sets of options, upstream and downstream, are considered as key actions under the
current Community Strategic Framework.
Horizon 2020 will not support capacity-building and will not take into account
geographic specificities in allocating funding. Upstream actions to prepare regional R&I
players to participate in Horizon 2020 projects should therefore be developed through

8
Knowledge for Growth: prospects for science, technology and innovation, EU Commission, November
2009.
9
COM(2010) 546 final, Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union, COM(2010) 546 final, p. 20.
10
EU Parliament resolution, 2011/C 161 E/16 "Implementation of the synergies of research and innovation
earmarked funds in Regulation (EC) N 1080/2006 concerning the European Fund of Regional
Development and the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development".
11
COM2010) 546 final, 'Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative - Innovation Union, p. 21.

6/43
capacity building under the CSF Funds, in particular through the ERDF. This can
involve enhancing R&I infrastructures and equipment of European interest, but also
smaller research partnering facilities of regional importance upgrading into research
excellence, the modernisation of universities and higher education institutions and
research organisations, as well as developing technology auditing, international partner
search and information campaigns in firms and technology centres to stimulate and
facilitate participation in Horizon 2020.
Downstream actions should provide the means to exploit and diffuse swiftly R&I results
stemming from Horizon 2020 into the market, with particular attention at creating an
innovation-friendly business environment for SMEs
12
and regional industry. There is a
need to use the CSF Funds to deploy business services, finance incubators, start
dedicated networks, and develop projects in universities to support the first-time access
of regional SMEs to European programmes such as Horizon 2020;
The measures proposed by the Commission under the Closing the innovation divide
part of the societal challenge Inclusive, innovative and secure societies under Horizon
2020 will be instrumental in creating synergies with cohesion policy.
Actions under this thematic objective should be coordinated with actions under the thematic
objectives related to ICT development, enhancing SME competitiveness and investing in
education, skills and lifelong learning. They should also be coordinated with the Marie
Skodowska-Curie Actions and with ESF funding for the development of human resources in
R&I under the thematic objectives for employment, education and social inclusion. Member
States are encouraged to fully exploit the synergies between investments in R&I and the use
of the ESF to fund the modernisation of tertiary education, including the development of post-
graduate studies, the improvement of research capacities and skills of students, the training of
researchers, and networking activities and partnerships between research and technological
centres, higher education institutions and enterprises. Both ESF and ERDF can co-finance
partnerships between education, businesses and research.
These actions should be coordinated with transnational partnerships between enterprises and
education institutes in the form of Knowledge Alliances and Sector Skills Alliances which
can be supported by the 'Erasmus for All'
13
programme. Pilots and demonstration activities
and public procurement of innovation should take account of the priorities of the European
Innovation Partnerships;
14

For the EAFRD, in addition to the general principles described above, support should focus
on stimulating research responding to the specific needs of farmers and foresters, particularly
those operating on a small-scale, and on fostering the take-up of research results and
application of innovation in these sectors. The new European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for
agricultural productivity and sustainability will be an important approach for better linkages
between research and farming practice, especially through the EIP network. The measures
proposed under the societal challenge "Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and
maritime research and the bio-economy" under Horizon 2020 should enhance synergies with
rural development policy and the EMFF.

12
Expert Group on synergies between FP7, the CIP and the Cohesion Policy Funds, Final Report of the
Synergies Expert Group, EU Commission June 2011.
13
COM(2011) 788 final, 'The Union programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport'.
14
COM(2010) 546 final, Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative - Innovation Union p. 22.

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2. ENHANCING ACCESS TO AND, USE AND QUALITY OF INFORMATION AND
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
2.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
As outlined in the Integrated Guidelines, Member States should promote the roll-out and
take-up of high-speed internet as an essential means for acceding to knowledge and
participating in its creation.
15
The Digital Agenda for Europe
16
aims to deliver smart,
sustainable and inclusive economic growth through the realisation of the digital single market
and exploitation of the potential for innovation with fast and ultra-fast internet and
interoperable services and applications.
17
Information and communication technologies (ICT)
are a powerful driver of economic growth, innovation and productivity that cuts across a large
number of domains.
Key actions for the ERDF:
roll-out of open, affordable and future-proof Next Generation Access Infrastructures
(NGA) that are accessible to all in under-served areas and in the economic centres of the
less developed regions with the aim of creating jobs and contributing to higher
productivity levels and a more competitive European economy;
eGovernment applications with the aim of enhancing innovation, the modernisation of
public administrations and access to these services by citizens, including marginalised
groups and people with disabilities;
ICT applications that contribute to meeting future societal challenges and opportunities
such as eHealth, ageing population, reducing carbon emissions, resource-efficiency,
education, eInclusion, energy efficiency, eGovernment, integrated ICT solutions for
'smart cities', consumer information and empowerment;
investment in the large-scale uptake of ICT-based innovations within and between
regions to address key societal challenges.
Key actions for the EAFRD:
Enhancing the accessibility, use and quality of ICT in rural areas accessible to all, through:
the creation, improvement and expansion of broadband infrastructure, including passive
broadband infrastructure;
ICT applications and services in support of the sustainability and competitiveness of
rural areas and of agriculture and food processing;
e-content relevant to the development of rural tourism;

15
Integrated Guidelines, Guideline 4.
16
COM(2010) 245 final/2, A Digital Agenda for Europe,.
17
Commitment 48, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions, Flagship Initiative: A digital agenda for
Europe.

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promotion of digital competence outside formal education systems among farmers,
forestry managers and rural businesses.
2.2 General implementation principles
As a general rule, support through the CSF Funds, in particular through grant instruments,
should be targeted on areas not sufficiently served by private investment where the market
fails to deliver. Where possible, support should be provided through financial instruments.
18

The possibility to attract private capital for investment and innovative service development
through credit enhancement using the ERDF also in synergy with Connecting Europe Facility
should be actively explored. The adoption of long-term investment models should be in line
with EU guidance on broadband investment
19
and respect of state aid rules should strengthen
regional innovation and competitiveness, ensure a high level of competition and create a level
playing field for all market players. The resulting infrastructure should enable disaggregation
of services at end-user level, and the differentiation of services and end-to-end independence
of operators and service suppliers.
ICT-based Key Enabling Technologies are powerful cross cutting drivers for innovation
across a large number of economic and social sectors. Investments in developing ICT
products, services and applications, and demand-related actions should focus on the use of
these technologies to tackle key societal challenges and opportunities such as health and
demographic change, energy efficiency, eGovernment as well as the strengthening regional
capacity to plan these actions in all regions. Action in this field should aim to empower
individuals, strengthen business competitiveness and the efficiency of public administrations
including the better use and sharing of data, enhance the attractiveness of regions against
other areas of the world and prevent de-location of economic activity and depopulation of less
developed areas.
2.3 Complementarity and coordination
To enhance the use of ICT and actively contribute to the development of digital literacy,
actions under this thematic objective should be complemented by actions supported by the
ESF
20
to promote digital competences in formal education and training systems, to raise
awareness and to provide effective ICT training and certification outside formal education
systems, including the use of online tools and digital media for re-skilling and continuing
professional development. Particular attention will need to be paid to improve the
attractiveness of the ICT sector for youngsters between the ages of 15-24 and for women. As
the benefits of the digital society should be available to all, support should also aim to
integrate and empower members of disadvantaged social groups within the digital society,
including e-services and other support measures (such as eSkills and easy access to
eLearning, eEducation, eGovernment, eEnvironment, eHealth services) as well as addressing
specific eAccessibility challenges.
EAFRD investment in ICT should be used in a way that complements similar investments in
rural areas by the ERDF (where ERDF support is available) and related training actions under
the ESF.

18
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social
Committee and the Committee of Regions, Flagship Initiative: A digital agenda for Europe.
19
http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/presenta/broadband2011/broadband2011_en.pdf
20
Under the thematic objectives for employment, education and social inclusion.

9/43
Coordination should be ensured with the 'Erasmus for All'
21
programme, in particular with
strategic cooperation projects that will support the promotion of digital competences and the
use of ICT in education and training institutes through transnational activities.
Finally, the CSF Funds should finance actions that complement investments by the
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF),
22
which will contribute to financing the infrastructure
needed to roll out e-ID, eProcurement, electronic health care records, Europeana, eJustice and
customs-related services. The CEF would also serve to ensure interoperability and meet the
costs of running infrastructure at European level, linking up Member State infrastructures.
Coordination at national level between cohesion, CEF and Horizon 2020 actions will be
essential to ensure synergy, complementarity and avoid duplication of efforts.

21
COM(2011) 788 final, 'The Union programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport'.
22
COM(2011) 665, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the
Connecting Europe Facility.

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3. ENHANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS OF SMES, THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR (FOR
THE EAFRD) AND THE FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE SECTOR (FOR THE EMFF)
3.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
Small and medium-sized enterprises constitute the backbone of the European economy and
are key drivers of growth, job creation and cohesion, providing two out of three private-sector
jobs and contributing 58 % of the total value added created by businesses in the EU.
Investment in SMEs therefore has a strong contribution to make to growth, employment and
cohesion. SMEs have a clear role to play in managing structural change and transition in a
global knowledge-based economy and in creating new employment opportunities. On their
own, SMEs lack the power to implement value chains on a large scale and therefore depend
on creating links within and outside their region of origin.
EAFRD interventions to enhance the competitiveness of the agricultural sector will help to
secure viable food production in the EU and contribute to job creation and maintenance and
growth in rural areas. Particular challenges to be addressed are the size of agricultural
holdings in some regions which forms an obstacle to competitiveness, the sector's age
structure, with only around 6% of farmers under 35, and the need to foster productivity and
efficiency to respond to competition from third countries, rising input costs, market volatility,
and environmental challenges.
Key actions for the ERDF:
23

investment in entrepreneurship, including the provision of start-up capital, guarantees,
loans and mezzanine and seed capital through financial instruments and support for the
development of business plans;
investment in the commercial exploitation of new ideas and research results and the
creation of more knowledge-intensive businesses through interventions tailored to the
needs of SMEs at their various stages of development and along the innovation value
chain;
business advisory services, in particular in the areas of business start-up, business
transfer, access to new markets, business strategy and monitoring, technology transfer
and foresight as well as user-oriented and design-driven innovation, raising innovation
management capacity and encouraging the development and use of such services
through innovation voucher programmes;
support the development of web-tools to provide targeted information and facilitate
regulatory procedures for SMEs, particularly in the area of public procurement,
employment law, social security, taxation and standardisation;
the development of new business models, including new value chains and marketing
organisation, in particular to facilitate internationalisation;

23
COM(2010) 614, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions, Flagship Initiative: An Integrated
Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage.

11/43
the development of SMEs in emerging areas linked to European and regional challenges
such as creative and cultural industries, new forms of tourism, and innovative services
reflecting new societal demands or products and services linked to ageing population,
care and health, eco-innovations, the low carbon economy and resource efficiency,
including coordination with public procurement to speed up the market take-up of
innovative solutions to address these challenges.
Key actions for the EAFRD:
the restructuring of farms facing major structural problems, in particular through on-
farm investments to improve the performance of an agricultural holding or to support
farm viability, economic sustainability, investments related to the processing, marketing
and development of agricultural products or investments in infrastructure for the
development and adaptation of agriculture;
generational renewal in the agricultural sector, especially through business start-up aid
for young farmers;
integration of primary producers into the food chain, through support for quality
schemes, promotion in local markets, horizontal and vertical cooperation, new
marketing and networking opportunities, the development of short supply chains and
the setting up of producer groups;
farm risk management, through a range of tools to assist farmers with the effective
management of increasing economic and environmental risks, including animal and
plant diseases, and support for investments in preventive and restoration actions.
Key actions for the EMFF:
business development, business skills and entrepreneurship in fisheries and aquaculture
in order to enhance their competitiveness, viability and sustainability;
introduction or development of new or improved products, processes, technologies, and
management and organisation systems across all levels of the supply chain in the
fisheries and aquaculture sectors in order the increase the added value of fisheries and
aquaculture products and to lower production costs;
improvement of market organisation in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
3.2 General implementation principles
EU support for SMEs from the ERDF, EAFRD and EMFF needs to be more targeted,
focusing on enhancing the competitiveness and growth performance of SMEs in line with the
Small Business Act and its Review
24
. Intervention should cover the whole range of SME
policy instruments. Member States should make a decisive shift from grant-based to financial
instruments such as the provision of start-up capital, guarantees, loans, mezzanine and seed
capital in supporting SMEs. This should include provision through the EAFRD of financial
instruments providing access to capital for productive investments in the agricultural, forestry
and food-processing sectors, as well as for SMEs located in rural areas. Support should be

24
COM(2008) 394 final and COM(2011) 78 final

12/43
provided in the context of ongoing initiatives to analyse and reduce the administrative and
regulatory burden for SMEs, with a particular focus on micro businesses.
3.3 Complementarity and coordination
Actions under this thematic objective should be implemented taking into account that Europe
has too few entrepreneurs and disproportionately even fewer women than men entrepreneurs.
Particular attention should be paid to tackling the factors discouraging women from becoming
entrepreneurs. Actions under this thematic objective should be reinforced by actions financed
by the ESF
25
to boost the competitiveness of SMEs. These actions should focus on developing
the capacity of SMEs to anticipate and manage change through identification of employment
and skills trends, on providing support for the organisational development, information and
counselling of SMEs, on introducing innovative forms of work organisation and/or flexible
working time arrangements and on promoting enterprise investment in training. Actions under
this thematic objective should also complement actions financed by the ESF to support
entrepreneurship, self-employment and business creation (under the employment thematic
objective) and actions supporting social enterprises which can be provided by the ESF and
ERDF (under the social inclusion thematic objective).
Actions under this thematic objective should complement actions financed under the EU
Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs,
26
which will focus on financial
instruments and support for the internationalisation of enterprises by: 1) improving access to
finance for SMEs in the form of equity and debt; 2) establishing a loan facility to provide
SMEs with direct or other risk-sharing arrangements with financial intermediaries in order to
cover loans; 3) improving access to markets inside the EU and globally; and 4) promoting
entrepreneurship: activities will include developing entrepreneurial skills and attitudes,
especially among new entrepreneurs, young people, women and vulnerable groups such as
people with disabilities.

25
Under the thematic objectives for employment, education and social inclusion.
26
COM(2011) 834 final.

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4. SUPPORTING THE SHIFT TOWARDS A LOW-CARBON ECONOMY IN ALL SECTORS
4.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
Europe 2020 headline target:
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % compared to 1990 levels, or by 30% if the
conditions are right;
increasing the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 20 %; and
moving towards a 20 % increase in energy efficiency
State of play
27
:
Concerning the 20/20/20 targets, recent emission reduction projections
28
suggest that the EU
as a whole would meet its 20% greenhouse gas emission reduction target, while for a number
of Member States, additional policies will be necessary to achieve their binding national
targets. As far as energy efficiency is concerned, work is ongoing on the overall analysis of
Member States' national targets. A report should be ready in early 2012. However, the 20%
renewable energy target based on the legally binding national targets should be met by 2020 if
Member States fully implement their renewable action plans. At EU level, the share increased
from 10.3% in 2008 to 11.6%
29
in 2009.
Beyond the targets for 2020, the Communication A Roadmap for moving to a competitive
low carbon economy in 2050
30
sets out a pathway for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by
80-95 % by 2050 compared with 1990 levels, a target agreed by the European Council of 29-
30 October 2009.
The ERDF, Cohesion Fund and EAFRD can contribute to accelerating the implementation of
EU legislation on renewable energy and energy efficiency, in particular the Energy
Performance of Buildings Directive,
31
the Energy Services Directive,
32
the Renewable Energy
Directive
33
and the Strategic Energy Technology Plan
34
.
Key actions for the ERDF:
investment in the wider use of Energy Performance Contracting in the public buildings
and housing sectors.

27
COM(2011)815 final, AGS 2012 Annex I. .
28
COM(2011) 1151 of 7.10.2011.
29
Provisional data.
30
COM(2011) 112 final.
31
Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy
performance of buildings.
32
Directive 2006/32 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on energy end-use
efficiency and energy services and repealing Council Directive 93/76/EEC.
33
Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of
the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC
and 2003/30/EC.
34
COM (2009) 519 final, 'Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan)'.

14/43
Key actions for the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund:
energy efficiency and renewable heating and cooling in public buildings, in particular
the demonstration of zero-emission and positive-energy buildings, as well as deep
renovation of existing buildings to beyond cost-optimal levels;
energy efficiency measures and renewable energy use in SMEs (including information
campaigns);
innovative renewable energy technologies, in particular technologies mentioned in the
Strategic Energy Technology Plan
35
and in the Energy Roadmap 2050, along with
second- and third-generation biofuels;
supporting marine-based renewable energy production, including tidal and wave
energy;
integrated low-carbon strategies and sustainable energy action plans for urban areas,
including public lighting systems and smart grids.
Key actions for the EAFRD:
increased efficiency in energy use in agriculture and food processing through
investments in more energy-efficient buildings and facilities, together with advice on
energy-efficiency;
facilitating the supply and use of renewable sources of energy, and of by-products,
wastes, residues and other non-food raw material to promote the bio-economy through:
investments in the on-farm production and use of renewable energy; pilot projects for
improving by-product use; investments in new forestry technologies for the processing
of biomass; and investments in renewable energy infrastructures in rural areas;
reducing nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture through: support for
lower use of nitrogen fertilisers; improved livestock management practices (for the
treatment of animal wastes); and support for more climate-friendly crop rotation;
enhancing carbon sequestration and emission reduction in agriculture and forestry
through: agro-forestry systems; forest planting and maintenance; climate-friendly
management of new and existing forests; establishing or maintaining healthy grassland;
and maintaining peatlands.
Key actions for the EMFF:
support deployment of low carbon technologies and solutions and increase energy
efficiency of fisheries and aquaculture activities, including fishing vessels, ports,
aquaculture farms and processing of fisheries and aquaculture products.
4.2 General implementation principles
The CSF Funds should effectively contribute to achieving the climate and energy targets for
2020, in particular the annual binding greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States in

35
COM(2009) 519 final, Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan).

15/43
the period 20132020 under the Effort Sharing Decision.
36
However, support should focus not
only on the targets for 2020, but also on the long-term decarbonisation target for 2050. In
particular, investments should avoid lock-in, provide incentives for technologies of the future,
and aim to minimise the cost of emission reductions over the 40-year period until 2050.
The bulk of climate-related investment should be made by the private sector. Member States
and regions should ensure that public funding complements private investment, leveraging it,
and not crowding it out. In the energy efficiency sector, the option of creating value for
energy savings through market mechanisms (energy saving obligations, energy service
companies, etc.) should be considered before public funding.
Financial instruments should be supported in instances where the potential for private revenue
or cost savings is large, including revolving funds and guarantee schemes. In the case of
physical investment, grants should be used primarily to address market failures or to support
innovative technologies and investments going beyond cost-efficient energy efficiency
performance, thus making sure that energy savings and greenhouse-gas emission reductions
are above those attainable with business as usual.
4.3 Complementarity and coordination
It is important to ensure coordination with already existing climate-related instruments,
including both funding and non-funding instruments. Support from the CSF Funds should not
duplicate support from revenue obtained from auctioning allowances under the European
Emission Trading Scheme and should complement support schemes for renewable energy.
Support should therefore focus on areas where current incentives are insufficient. Financing
from the CSF Funds should be coordinated with support from the NER300 Programme, which
uses revenue from auctioning allowances under the European Emissions Trading Scheme to
finance demonstration projects for innovative renewable energy technologies.
37

Complementarity and coordination with LIFE, in particular with integrated projects in the
areas of climate change mitigation should be pursued in order to enhance European added
value and national and regional development benefits.
Synergies should be enhanced between actions under this thematic objective with actions
enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs by supporting new businesses and activities in low-
carbon and climate-resilient sectors, strengthening research, technological development and
innovation in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and promoting employment and labour
mobility. The ESF should contribute towards the shift towards a low carbon economy through
support for the early detection of labour and skill needs and shortages, the reform of education
and training systems, the adaptation of skills and qualifications, the up-skilling of the labour
force to improve its employability, and enhancing the creation of new jobs in sustainable low
carbon industry and energy sectors.
The EAFRD should support the potential for agriculture to contribute to emission cuts, in
particular by reducing nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils (linked to fertiliser use)
and from manure and should contribute to increasing carbon in soil by protecting and

36
Decision No 406/2009/EC.
37
Commission Decision of 3 November 2010 laying down criteria and measures for the financing of
commercial demonstration projects that aim at the environmentally safe capture and geological storage of
CO2 as well as demonstration projects of innovative renewable energy technologies under the scheme for
greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community established by Directive 2003/87/EC of
the European Parliament and of the Council (2010/670/EU).

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enhancing soil organic matter. EAFRD support in this area could create important synergies
with activities under the thematic objective protecting the environment and promoting
resource efficiency, by reducing the excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides, which can
seriously endanger terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Area-based forms of support from EAFRD should in particular contribute to the provision of
environmental-friendly farming and forestry practices, especially in areas at risk of
agricultural intensification or land abandonment.
The EMFF should support diversification of fisheries activities into other sectors of maritime
economy and growth of maritime economy, including mitigation of climate change. In
preparing their programmes, it is important to take into account specific needs with regards to
climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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5. PROMOTING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND RISK PREVENTION AND
MANAGEMENT
5.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
The White Paper Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action
38

sets out the EU framework for adaptation to climate change, including objectives and actions.
The Communications 'A Community approach on the prevention of natural and man-made
disasters'
39
and 'Towards a stronger European disaster response: the role of civil protection
and humanitarian assistance'
40
set out the key elements of the EU approach on risk prevention
and management.
Key actions for the ERDF and Cohesion Fund:
development of strategies and action plans for adaptation to climate change and risk
prevention and management plans at national, regional and local level and for building
up a knowledge base and data observation capacities, and mechanisms for the exchange
of information;
increased investment in adaptation to climate change and risk prevention and
management, including: avoiding damage and increasing resilience to the built
environment and other infrastructure; protecting human health; decreasing future
pressure on water resources; investing in flood and coastal defences; and decreasing the
vulnerability of ecosystems in order to increase ecosystem resilience and enable
ecosystem-based adaptation;
development of tools (detection, early warning and alert systems, risk mapping and
assessment); and increased investment disaster management systems, to facilitate
disaster resilience and risk prevention and management for natural risks, including
weather-related risks (such as storms, extreme temperature events, forest fires, droughts,
floods) and geophysical risks (such as avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes),
and to support societal responses to industrial risks (early warning systems, risk
mapping).
Key actions for the EAFRD:
sustainable water management, including water efficiency (with regard to ecosystems),
through the creation of on-farm water storage zones; support for water-efficient
cropping patterns; and the establishment and management of forest protection belts
against erosion;
improved soil management through support for practices to prevent soil degradation and
depletion of soil carbon stock, such as low tillage, winter green cover, and the
establishment of agro-forestry systems and new forests;
ensuring a high potential for adaptation to climate change and diseases and maintaining

38
COM(2009) 147 final, White Paper Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for
action.
39
COM(2009) 82.
40
COM(2010) 600.

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genetic diversity, especially by supporting local crop varieties and livestock breeds.
5.2 General implementation principles
Cooperation across regions and Member States should be pursued in adaptation and risk
prevention and management activities to deal with cross-border spillover effects, in particular
in relation to flood protection, protection of forests against fires and pests, and coastal
protection.
The CSF Funds should be used to invest in ecosystem-based risk prevention and management
and adaptation measures, including the integration of climate change adaptation and risk
prevention within coastal and maritime planning and management systems. Synergies with
climate change mitigation, environmental protection and resource efficiency should be
exploited where possible.
Synergies should be pursued with activities under other thematic objectives, including
innovation and technological development for adaptation to climate change, support for
businesses in taking up adaptation measures and technology, and actions to reduce water
pollution from agriculture, such as reducing the excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides.
5.3 Complementarity and coordination
Synergies and complementarities between CSF Funds should be sought particularly in types
of interventions that could be funded by different funds. Complementarity and coordination
with LIFE, in particular with integrated projects in the areas of climate change mitigation
should be ensured at national and regional level. The ESF can complement activities in this
area through targeted education, training and up-skilling of the labour force with regard to
risk prevention, risk management and adaptation to climate change. The EAFRD can
complement activities in this area by integrating climate change adaptation in farm advisory
services, knowledge transfer and information actions.

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6. PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND PROMOTING RESOURCE EFFICIENCY
6.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
The flagship initiative Resource Efficient Europe
41
aims to create a framework for policies
to support the shift towards a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy. The Integrated
Guidelines refer to the need for Member States to decouple economic growth from resource
use, turning environmental challenges into growth opportunities and making efficient use of
their natural resources. Specific targets in relation to the environment are set out in the EU
environmental acquis and at EU level.
The Water Framework Directive,
42
along with the rest of the EU water acquis,
43
aims to
protect water resources and the aquatic environment and obliges Member States to implement
measures to ensure the sound condition (ecological, chemical and quantitative) of water
bodies. The Waste Framework Directive
44
sets out obligations and targets for Member States
with respect to waste prevention and treatment. The EUs Biodiversity Strategy
45
sets the goal
of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020, and
restoring them as far as is feasible. The Birds
46
and Habitats
47
Directives together form the
cornerstone of the EUs nature protection policy and set out obligations for Member States.
The Soil Thematic Strategy
48
and the proposed Soil Framework Directive is aimed at the
protection and sustainable use of soil resources.
49
The Air Quality Framework Directive aims
to improve ambient air quality and provide cleaner air.
50
Finally, the Marine Directive,
51

whose objectives are to be achieved with contributions from the CSF Funds, is intended to
deliver the environmental pillar of the EUs maritime policy.



41
COM(2011) 21, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions, A resource-efficient Europe Flagship
initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy.
42
Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a
framework for Community action in the field of water policy.
43
The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning
urban waste-water treatment), the Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and
of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks) or the Nitrates
Directive.
44
Directive 2006/12/EC of 5 April 2006 on waste.
45
COM(2010) 244 final, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions, Our life insurance, our natural capital: an
EU biodiversity strategy to 2020.
46
Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the
conservation of wild birds.
47
Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and
flora.
48
COM(2006) 231.
49
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the
protection of soil, COM(2006) 232 final, 22 September 2006.
50
Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008.
51
Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a
framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy, OJ L 164, 25.6.2008.

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Key actions for the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund:
investment in efficient water supply, waste-water treatment and water reuse, including
new investment in the reduction of leakage and the implementation of River Basin
Management Plans;
investment in waste management in line with the waste management hierarchy, in
particular re-use, recycling and, for non-recyclable materials, recovery;
investment in green infrastructure, including in Natura 2000 sites and other territories to
promote the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services, climate
change mitigation and adaptation, protection against floods and fires, coastal protection,
soil protection and other risk prevention measures, decrease the fragmentation of natural
areas, increase water availability, and restore heavily modified sites and habitats;
investment in actions to reduce transport related air pollution, in particular retrofit or
replacement programmes for bus fleets, incentive schemes for cleaner transport,
improved public transport infrastructure and promotion of alternative forms of transport.
Key actions for the ERDF:
investment in the diversification of local economies by protecting and enhancing
cultural heritage and landscapes (both in rural and urban contexts);
support for sustainable integrated urban development, including through sustainable
urban drainage, soil desealing measures, rehabilitation of contaminated sites, and
rehabilitation of cultural infrastructure.
Key actions for the EAFRD:
restoring, preserving and enhancing biodiversity, including in NATURA 2000 areas and
farming systems with a high nature value, and the state of European landscapes, by
promoting: environmentally sound farming systems, including organic farming;
establishing and/or maintaining wildlife zones in farm and/or forest areas; granting
compensation to farmers and/or forest holders for economic disadvantages faced in
NATURA 2000 areas and designated wildlife corridors; and payments to farmers who
undertake to pursue farming in mountain areas and other areas facing significant natural
constraints; reward collective action to deliver environmental public goods;
increasing efficiency in the use of water by agriculture, through investments in more
efficient irrigation, advice on water efficiency and preserving the buffer and filter
functions of soils;
improvement of water and soil quality, and contribute to protecting soil from erosion,
compaction, salinisation, landslides, and loss of organic matter.
Key actions for the EMFF:
investment in the transition to environmentally sustainable fisheries in line with the CFP
objectives of exploiting fish stocks at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) level and
eliminating discards;
investment in eco-innovation, such as more selective fishing gear and other innovations

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reducing the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the environment;
investment in aquaculture with a high level of environmental protection and provision
of environmental services;
financing tools aiming at better compliance with CFP rules, improved fisheries control
and improved supply and coverage of scientific data related to the CFP;
supporting the fisheries and aquaculture sector in responding to increased consumer
awareness, expectations and interest in products from sustainable sources that are
produced in environmentally friendly ways.
6.2 General implementation principles
In the water sector, investment should be within the context of River Basin Management
Plans.
52
The ERDF and Cohesion Fund should be used to finance measures necessary to
implement these plans, in particular investments in green infrastructure to enhance ecosystem
services, such as floodplain restoration, re-naturalising rivers and river banks, and maintaining
and improving natural coastal barriers. As regards the EAFRD, support should especially
target the reduction of water abstraction for irrigation purposes, in particular in areas where
unsustainable levels of irrigation still persist and inefficiencies in existing irrigation systems
lead to significant losses and waste of irrigation water.
Investments need to be consistent with the water hierarchy, with a focus on demand
management options, while alternative supply options should be considered only when the
potential for water savings and efficiency has been exhausted.
53

Public intervention in the waste management sector should complement efforts by the private
sector, in particular producer responsibility. Actions should support innovative approaches
that promote a closed-loop economy (industrial symbiosis, cradle to cradle, eco-design
initiatives, etc.) and need to be consistent with the waste hierarchy.
In relation to biodiversity, although public funding is expected to be the main source, private
investment should also be encouraged for revenue-generating projects, for some green
infrastructure elements, with potential support through financial instruments. The EAFRD is
expected to play a crucial role in delivering the aims of the EU's Biodiversity Strategy by
providing environmental public goods through agriculture and forestry. The EAFRD will also
play an important role in ensuring the ecological integrity and scenic value of European
landscapes, which are largely dependent on agricultural and forest management practices.
Financing from the CSF Funds for Natura 2000 sites should be consistent with measures and
financial sources for these measures as set out in Prioritised Action Frameworks developed by
Member States in accordance with Article 8 of the Habitats Directive. EAFRD funding should
particularly target collective approaches to the provision of environmental public goods, green
infrastructure, farming systems with a high nature value, and sustainable farming practices in
protected sites helping to preserve, enhance and restore biodiversity and related ecosystem
services. The EAFRD should also support production techniques that enhance the buffer and
filter functions of soils, thus also improving water quality. EAFRD funding should also aim to

52
Article 13 of Directive 2000/60/EC.
53
COM(2007) 414 final, 'Addressing the challenge of water scarcity and droughts in the European Union'.

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promote management practices that improve the organic matter content of soils, thereby
enhancing soil biodiversity.
The remediation of contaminated sites can be publicly funded only if the polluter liable for
the contamination is unknown or cannot be made to bear the costs. The focus of remediation
should be on high-risk sites and on sites, including brownfields, that pose a barrier to
economic development, as the potential liability for remediation of such sites and the potential
health risks pose unacceptable financial risks to investors.
Green public procurement should be employed to the widest extent possible when selecting
projects and organising calls for tender in the Member States.
6.3 Complementarity and coordination
Synergies should be sought in undertaking complementary and targeted actions under the
EAFRD in areas subject to greening measures with direct payments under the Common
Agricultural Policys first pillar. The ESF can complement activities under this thematic
objective via the reform of education and training systems, up-skilling of the labour force and
the creation of new jobs in sectors related to the environment. The EMFF will support the
transition to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and facilitate the gradual introduction of a
discard ban. Efforts should be made to improve data collection and strengthen control (to
ensure better compliance). Synergies should also be sought with the Integrated Maritime
Policy, in support of priorities such as marine knowledge, maritime spatial planning,
integrated coastal zone management, integrated maritime surveillance, the protection of the
marine environment and of biodiversity, and the adaptation to the adverse effects of climate
change on coastal areas.
Actions financed under this thematic objective should ensure complementarity and
coordination with LIFE, in particular with Integrated Projects in the areas of nature, water,
waste, air, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. This coordination
between different Funds and the LIFE Programme should be achieved in particular by
promoting the funding of activities through the CSF Funds that complement Integrated
Projects under the LIFE Programme as well as by promoting the use of solutions, methods
and approaches validated under the LIFE Programme. In these cases, the relevant sectoral
plans, programmes or strategies (the Prioritised Action Framework, the River Basin
Management Plan, the Waste Management Plan), as referred to in the LIFE Regulation, will
serve as the coordination framework for support from the different Funds.
Finally, the CSF Funds should coordinate closely with Creative Europe,
54
which supports
the European cultural and creative sectors, in particular by promoting their transnational
operations and better access cross-border issues. Cohesion policy resources can be used to
maximise the contribution of culture as a tool for local and regional development, urban
regeneration, rural development and employability. Examples of potential investments in
culture could include investments in research, innovation, SME competitiveness and
entrepreneurship in cultural and creative industries under the corresponding thematic
objectives.

54
COM(2011) 786/2, 'Creative Europe A new framework programme for the cultural and creative sectors
(2014-2020)'.

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7. PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT AND REMOVING BOTTLENECKS IN KEY
NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURES
7.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
The White Paper on Transport
55
sets out a vision for a competitive and resource-efficient
transport system, highlighting that a reduction in greenhouse gases of at least 60 % by 2050
compared with 1990 is required from the transport sector. For the CSF Funds, this means
focusing on sustainable forms of transport and investing in areas with the greatest European
added value, the Trans-European Networks.
56

Key actions for the ERDF and Cohesion Fund:
core TEN-T infrastructure covering road, rail and sea transport, as well as multimodal
and interoperable modes bringing high net benefits to society;
core TEN-T railway infrastructure, secondary connectivity, upgrading of dense railway
networks, the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and other
investments to improve interoperability, and capacity-building for planning,
implementing and managing projects, and for risk and disaster management;
innovative road pricing, user charging systems and traffic management, and in fuelling
and charging infrastructure for new carbon-free vehicles for urban transport;
integrated, sustainable and accessible urban mobility concepts in cities, city-regions and
metropolitan areas, leading to reduced GHG emissions, in particular through sustainable
urban transport plans
57
, including facilitating use of public transport, cycling and
walking;
the removal of bottlenecks in inland waterways while minimising substantial
modifications to riverbeds, and supporting investments to render fleets more
environmentally friendly as well as investment in River Information Systems.
7.2 General implementation principles
Investments by the ERDF and Cohesion Fund in transport infrastructure should be fully in
line with the TEN-T Guidelines, which define the EUs transport priorities, including
addressing the climate change challenge, the future development of an integrated TEN-T
network and the multimodal corridor concept.
58


55
COM(2011) 144 final, 'White Paper: Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area Towards a
competitive and resource efficient transport system'.
56
COM(2011) 650/2, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Union
guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network.
57
DG ENV Technical Report - 2007/018; 25.09.2007.
58
COM(2011) 650, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Union
guidelines for the development of the trans-European Transport Network , 19.10.2011.

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In accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
59
,
investments in transport infrastructure shall aim at ensuring accessibility for persons with
disabilities and those with reduced mobility.
In order to maximise the European added value of transport investments, support from the
CSF Funds must be based on a number of principles:
It is important to support better interoperable integration between transport modes.
Therefore, care should be taken to ensure the consistency of individual investments with
comprehensive national transport plans, which should provide for the development of
an integrated transport infrastructure up to 2020 and beyond. The plans should be based
on real and projected transport demand and identify missing links and bottlenecks;
The identified investments should be prioritised according to their contribution to
mobility, sustainability, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and the Single European
Transport Area. This requires assessing the greenhouse gas emissions of investments,
and should result in greater use of inherently more resource-efficient modes and
investment in improved traffic management and information systems (the European
Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), River Information Services (RIS),
Intelligent Transport Systems for Road Traffic (ITS), SESAR, SafeSeaNet) and in
advanced logistic and market measures;
Investments should focus on building new infrastructure and enhancing the capacity of
existing infrastructure through substantial upgrading, and not on the maintenance of
existing infrastructure, as investment in maintaining existing infrastructure should be
financially viable and not require EU support;
Investments should integrate transport pricing and user charging systems in order to
help move towards full application of the polluter and user pays principles in all
transport modes. Measures to avoid or, when this is not possible not possible, to
mitigate or compensate for negative impacts of transport infrastructure on the
environment should be supported by the CSF funds;
Support through financial instruments will be crucial in order to attract more private
funding for the deployment of strategic TEN-T transport infrastructure projects;
Investments should consider the vulnerability of infrastructure with regard to natural
and man-made risks and climate change;
When defining investments in public transport the needs of women and men should be
taken into account as women use public transport to a greater extent than men. In urban
areas women tend to be more frequent users of social infrastructures and may be more
exposed to insecurity and crime in urban areas.
Investments should take place within an integrated, multimodal network planning approach in
order to increase network efficiency and interoperability. Investment in regional connectivity
to the comprehensive and core TEN-T network should ensure that urban and rural areas
benefit from the opportunities created by major networks.

59
Council Decision of 26 November 2009 concerning the conclusion, by the European Community, of the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, OJ, L 23, 27.01.2010, p. 35 .

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With regard to maritime transport, ports should be developed as efficient entry and exit points
through full integration with land infrastructure. Priority should be given to projects
concerning port access and hinterland connections. The development of inland waterways
should reinforce their contribution to sustainable European freight transport networks.
Attention should be given to the integrated promotion, across the different CSF Funds, of
efficient logistic chains (including fisheries and the maritime and agro-forestry industries) and
new and renewable energy sources (including biomass and sea energy).
The development of cross-border infrastructure operations should be closely coordinated,
where relevant, with the appropriate macro-regional and sea-basin approaches. In this context,
the implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning can provide a framework for arbitrating
between competing uses and activities and managing the impact on the marine environment.
7.3 Complementarity and coordination
Actions financed under this thematic objective should ensure complementarity with the
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in order to maximise European added value as well as
national and regional development benefits. The Cohesion Fund and the ERDF, under shared
management, will complement the CEF, which is a directly managed fund with competitive
project selection. The CEF will concentrate on projects with a high EU added value in
particular for cross-border infrastructure, while the Cohesion Fund will concentrate on high
EU added-value projects to remove bottlenecks in transport networks by supporting TEN-T
infrastructure, for both the core and the comprehensive network. In addition, actions financed
under this thematic objective should develop close synergies with activities funded under the
"Smart, Green and Integrated transport" Challenge of Horizon 2020.

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8. PROMOTING EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORTING LABOUR MOBILITY
8.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
Europe 2020 headline target:
Aiming to raise to 75 % the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64, including
through the greater participation of young people, older workers and low-skilled workers and
the better integration of legal migrants
State of play
60
:
If all Member States achieved their national target, the EU as a whole would still fall short of
the 75 % target by 1.0-1.3 percentage points by 2020. In the course of 2011 there has been no
substantial progress. With the recovery stalling and only marginal overall employment growth
during the first half of 2011, the EU-27 employment rate for 2011 is likely to be only slightly
above the 2010 level of 68.6% and to remain well below its pre-crisis high of 70.3%. The
challenge remains to bring an additional 17.6 million people into employment between now
and 2020.
Under this thematic objective, Member States should focus on contributing to the
achievement of their national employment targets by using the CSF Funds and, in particular,
the ESF to support the policies set out in Guideline 7 of the Europe 2020 Integrated
Guidelines (Employment Guideline 7). EAFRD support should focus on job creation in rural
regions, which generally have a lower than average employment rate.
Key actions for the ESF:
Access to employment for job-seekers and inactive people, including local employment
initiatives and support for labour mobility:
active and preventive labour market measures at an early stage and open to all,
including for the identification of individual needs, personalised services and guidance,
targeted and tailored training, validation of acquired competences and skills, and
outplacement;
anticipation and counselling on long-term employment opportunities created by
structural shifts in the labour market, such as the shift to a low-carbon and resource-
efficient economy and the care and health sectors;
providing information on job opportunities on the European labour markets and on
living and working conditions.
Sustainable integration of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET)
into the labour market:
introduction of a youth guarantee by establishing schemes to offer further education,
(re)training or activation measures to every young person not in employment or in

60
AGS 2012 Annex I COM(2011)815 final.

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education or training , within 4 months of leaving school. There should be a particular
focus on apprenticeship-type vocational training and internships for graduates to acquire
first work experience;
self-employment and entrepreneurship for young people in all sectors, with particular
emphasis on emerging sectors in a low-carbon economy and the care and health sectors;
Self-employment, entrepreneurship and business creation:
support in particular for unemployed, disadvantaged and inactive people, to start and
develop businesses in all sectors, including care and health, work integration, green jobs
and community development. Such support comprises skills development, including
ICT, entrepreneurial and management skills, mentoring and coaching and the provision
of inclusive business development and financial services for business starters.
Equality between men and women and reconciliation between work and private life:
tackling gender stereotypes in education and training systems;
awareness raising and mobilisation of economic and social partners to address gender
segregation in the labour market and the gender pensions and pay gap;
developing work-life balance policies, including through support for reintegration into
the labour market of persons who have not been working due to caring duties;
innovative ways of work organisation, including teleworking and flexible working
arrangements allowing people to combine informal care duties with work;
access to affordable care services, such as child care, out of school care or care for
dependent persons, including the elderly, through investment in sustainable care
services.
Adaptation of workers, enterprises and entrepreneurs to change:
developing specific employment, training and support services, including coaching and
outplacement, in the context of company and sector restructuring;
designing and implementing innovative, more productive and greener ways of work
organisation, including health and safety at work.
Active and healthy ageing:
innovative and elderly-friendly forms of work organisation, including accessible
working environments and flexible measures;
prolonging healthier working lives through the development and implementation of
measures to promote healthy lifestyles and tackle health risk factors such as physical
inactivity, smoking, harmful patterns of alcohol consumption;
promoting employability and the participation of older workers in lifelong learning
schemes to facilitate active ageing.
Modernisation and strengthening of labour market institutions, including actions to enhance

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transnational labour mobility:
improving activation and matching labour market demand and supply offered by public
employment services, by providing integrated support tailored to the needs of
jobseekers while extending service provision to job changers and supporting the
inactive back to work;
collaborating in offering services to employers and establishing partnerships with
education institutes and other employment services to organise flexible, preventive and
efficient service delivery;
anticipating long-term employment opportunities created by structural shifts in the
labour market and developing services in the fields of lifelong guidance and lifelong
learning to foster career transitions;
targeted investment in the skills and capacity of staff;
activities by European Employment Services (EURES) in the areas of recruitment,
matching and placement, together with the related information, advice and guidance
services at national and cross-border level.
Key actions for the ERDF:
development of business incubators and investment support for self-employment and
business creation, in particular in areas offering new sources of growth, such as the
green economy, sustainable tourism (including the silver economy) and health and
social services;
support infrastructure investments for the modernisation of public employment services
Key actions for the EAFRD:
facilitating diversification from the agricultural sector, creating new small enterprises
and supporting other forms of job creation in rural areas, particularly through business
start-up aid for non-agricultural micro and small enterprises in rural areas and
investments in non-agricultural activities in rural areas.
Key actions for the EMFF:
support for job creation in fisheries communities through adding value to fisheries
activities and products;
support for diversification in fisheries communities through the creation of alternative
jobs in the local economy, in particular in other maritime sectors.
8.2 General implementation principles
Actions supported by the ESF under this thematic objective should aim for sustainable
integration within employment while facilitating occupational and geographical mobility, and
taking due account of the ongoing structural changes such as the shift to a low carbon
economy and the increasing importance of the care and health sectors. New evidence based
services and tools should be developed with a view to modernising employment services as
actors for brokering workforce transition in particular towards greener skills and job profiles.

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Successful actions will benefit from the creation of networks with employers and education
institutes at the appropriate territorial levels and the development of local employment
initiatives. Implementing youth guarantees requires strong cooperation with social partners,
employment services, other labour market stakeholders, and education and training bodies. In
particular, cooperation with employers providing workplace learning places for young people
is key. For both the ESF and EAFRD, the focus should be on sustaining job creation,
particularly for micro and small enterprises. Where appropriate, these efforts could be
supported by the use of financial instruments, possibly also in combination with the EU-level
financial instruments. Gender-equality specific actions should not be understood only as
actions specifically targeting women, but should be considered in a wider perspective, for
instance as actions that target also men, key economic and social actors, decision makers and
the general public.
8.3 Complementarity and coordination
Support for self-employment provided by the ESF will in particular target unemployed,
disadvantaged and inactive people and focus on skills development, whilst the ERDF will
provide investment support. Modernisation of public employment services supported by the
ESF often also requires infrastructure investments which can be supported by the ERDF.
Actions supported by the EMFF under this thematic objective will primarily be implemented
through community-led local development and will also contribute to promoting social
inclusion in fisheries communities.
Actions supported by the ESF should be coherent with Member States' strategies on inclusive
start-up support, which works across departmental responsibilities, links suitable business
development and financial services, is based on effective ways to reach out to disadvantaged
groups and areas, and facilitates learning of stakeholders through ongoing monitoring and
evaluating of results.
Investments in support of other thematic objectives, notably R&I, SME support and
supporting the shift to a low-carbon economy, should focus on creating sustainable jobs.
Synergies should be sought with the Programme for Social Change and Innovation
61

supporting geographical mobility as well as facilitating access to microfinance for
entrepreneurs, in particular for those furthest away from the labour market, and micro-
enterprises. Coordination should be ensured with Erasmus for All programme, in particular
with mobility and cooperation projects dealing with education and training.

61
COM(2011) 609 final.

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9. PROMOTING SOCIAL INCLUSION AND COMBATING POVERTY
9.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
Europe 2020 headline target:

Promoting social inclusion, in particular through the reduction of poverty, by aiming to lift
at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion
State of play
62
:

The EU target will not be reached based on current national targets. According to a first
preliminary estimation of the cumulative ambition around 12 million people would be lifted
out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. If spillover effects of strategies focusing on
combating child poverty or reducing long-term unemployment are taken into account, this
number can be increased by 25%. However, this would still fall short by at least 5 million or
25% of the EU headline target.
Key actions for the ESF:
Active inclusion:
integrated pathways combining various forms of employability measures such as
individualised support, counselling, guidance, access to general and vocational
education and training, as well as access to services, notably health and social services,
child care, and internet services;
modernisation of social protection systems, including the design and implementation of
reforms to improve the cost-effectiveness and adequacy of social and unemployment
benefits, minimum income schemes and pensions, healthcare and social services, whilst
minimizing disincentives to work and traps effects;
Integration of marginalised communities such as the Roma:
integrated pathways to the labour market, including individualised support, counselling,
guidance and access to general and vocational education and training;
access to services, in particular social care, social assistance services and healthcare
(including preventive healthcare, health education and patient safety);
elimination of segregation in education, promoting early-childhood education, fighting
early school-leaving and ensuring successful transitions from school to employment;
measures to overcome prejudices and discrimination against Roma.


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Combating discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability,
age or sexual orientation:
awareness-raising and engagement with local communities and enterprises to fight
discrimination and promote intercultural activities;
specific actions targeting people at risk of discrimination and people with disabilities
and chronic disease with a view to increasing their labour market participation,
enhancing their social inclusion, and reducing inequalities in terms of educational
attainment and health status;
Enhancing access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality services, including health care
and social services of general interest:
enhanced access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality healthcare with a view to
reducing health inequalities, supporting health prevention and promoting e-health,
including through targeted actions focused on particularly vulnerable groups;
enhanced access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality social services such as
employment and training services, services for the homeless, out of school care,
childcare and long-term care services;
targeted early-childhood education and care services, including integrated approaches
combining childcare, education, health and parental support, with a particular focus on
the prevention of children's placement in institutional care;
access to e-services to promote e-inclusion;
support for the transition from institutional care to community-based care services for
children without parental care, people with disabilities, the elderly, and people with
mental disorders, with a focus on integration between health and social services.
Promoting the social economy and social enterprises:
capacity-building and support structures for the promotion of social enterprises, in
particular through social entrepreneurship education and training, networking, the
development of national or regional strategies in partnership with key stakeholders, and
the provision of business development services and easier access to finance;
mobilisation of funds to support initiatives in the social economy and social
entrepreneurship.
Community-led local development strategies:
support the preparation, the running and the animation of local strategies;
support the activities designed and implemented under the local strategy in areas falling
within the scope of ESF in the fields of employment, education, social inclusion and
institutional capacity building.
Key actions for the ERDF:
investment in health and social infrastructure to improve access to health and social

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services and reduce health inequalities, with special attention to marginalised groups
such as the Roma and those at risk of poverty;
infrastructure investments that contribute to the modernisation, structural transformation
and sustainability of health systems, leading to measurable improvements in health
outcomes, including e-health measures;
targeted infrastructure investments to support the shift from institutional to community-
based care, which enhances access to independent living in the community with high-
quality services;
support infrastructure investments in childcare, elderly care and long-term care.
support for the physical and economic regeneration of deprived urban and rural
communities including the Roma, which reduces the spatial concentration of poverty,
including the promotion of integrated plans where social housing is accompanied
notably by interventions in education, health including sport facilities for local residents
and employment;
support for the development of social enterprises through developing new business
models and innovative solutions to address societal challenges;
support specific investments targeted to remove and prevent accessibility barriers;
fostering community-led local development strategies through support for the capacity-
building of the local action groups and the preparation, the running and animation of
local strategies, and through support for the activities designed and implemented under
the local strategy in areas falling within the scope of the ERDF in the fields of social
inclusion and physical and economic regeneration.
Key actions for the EAFRD:
fostering local development in rural areas by promoting community-led local
development (LEADER local development strategies) and through investments in all
types of small-scale infrastructure in rural areas and investments in setting up,
improving or expanding local basic services for the rural population, particularly in
remote rural areas, together with other actions to improve the quality of life in and
attractiveness of rural settlements (village renewal).
9.2 General implementation principles
Active inclusion policies should take into account the need for better coordination between
education, social protection systems and labour market policies to ensure transition to the
labour market for the most disadvantaged in line with the Commission Recommendation on
the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market
63
. Income support through the
ESF should be funded only as a complementary measure, as part of an integrated pathway
approach to the labour market, and should be limited in time to the duration of activation
measures. Public employment schemes could be supported only as a transitional measure with
the primary aim of equipping people with the necessary skills, competences and qualifications

63
Commission Recommendation of 3 October 2008 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour
market (2008/867/EC).

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to reintegrate within the labour market. CSF Funds may not be used for actions contributing
to any form of segregation and discrimination.
Member States are invited to make use of poverty maps when designing and implementing
integrated strategies to support the most disadvantaged areas and groups such as the Roma.
9.3 Complementarity and coordination
The integrated use of CSF Funds is particularly important in addressing the territorial
dimension of poverty. The integration of marginalised communities requires coherent and
multi-dimensional approaches supported from the various CSF Funds, complementing
national resources and implemented coherently with reforms of social protection systems.
This multi-dimensional integrated approach combining actions from various CSF Funds is
particularly relevant for the Roma community, whose effective integration requires
investments in employment, education, healthcare, housing and social integration. In deprived
urban areas, the physical and economic regeneration activities supported by the ERDF should
go hand in hand with ESF actions aimed at promoting the social inclusion of marginalised
groups. In rural areas, EAFRD support may also be used to promote social inclusion,
particularly through community-led local development (LEADER), which will continue to
be a compulsory element of rural development programmes.
It is also essential to exploit the synergies between the CSF Funds in order to reduce
inequalities in terms of access to services. To increase the effectiveness of ESF actions aimed
at enhancing access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality services, the ERDF and
EAFRD should be used in a complementary way to invest in social and health infrastructure
in less developed regions and in rural areas.
Coordination should be ensured with the Programme for Social Change and Innovation
increasing access to microfinance for to social entrepreneurs and with the Erasmus for All
programme, in particular with cooperation projects related to school education, vocational
education and training and adult learning.
The objective of the Asylum and Migration Fund
64
is to strengthen asylum systems, reinforce
the international protection of refugees, enhance solidarity and responsibility-sharing between
Member States, encourage the development of proactive immigration strategies, promote
more targeted integration strategies at local and regional level, promote fair and effective
return strategies, support the development of partnerships and cooperation with third
countries, and support the European Migration Network.
65
Coherence between the CSF Funds
and the Asylum and Migration Fund needs to be established, in particular through
complementary support from the ESF for the integration of third-country nationals within the
labour market. In view of increasing the effectiveness of the measures proposed, the CSF
funds may be implemented also via financial instruments, possibly in combination with the
EU-level financial instruments, where applicable.
Social innovation
Innovative approaches are needed to better respond to societal challenges arising from
population ageing, disability, poverty, unemployment, inequalities, new work patterns and life

64
COM(2011) 751 final, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing
the Asylum and Migration Fund.
65
Council Decision of 14 May 2008 establishing a European Migration Network (2008/381/EC).

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styles, and citizens' expectations regarding social and territorial cohesion, green growth, urban
regeneration, education and care in an effective, fair and sustainable manner. Social
innovation involves the development and implementation of new ideas (products, services and
models) to meet social needs and aspirations, as well as to create new social relationships or
collaborations between organisations. It can contribute to both social inclusion, as well as
other thematic objectives
66
linked to innovation, employment, the Digital Agenda and
institutional capacity.
Support to social innovation within the CSF Funds will make a difference in building
innovative solutions in fields as diverse as distance learning, microfinance initiatives for
specific target groups, care, urban farming, and waste reduction.
Such actions should engage individuals, groups and associations, the non-profit sector, the
market and the public sector. Innovative solutions require improved interactions between
actors, creative and risk-taking.
Social entrepreneurship is a great source of social innovation. In its Social Business
Initiative,
67
the Commission called "on the Member States and local and regional authorities
to support and encourage development of social enterprises within their sphere of
competence."
Even if innovations of a technological and social nature are different, many social innovations
can use the potential of internet-based social networks to empower individuals. Therefore,
ensuring on-line connectivity and supporting the acquisition of relevant digital skills is a key
empowering factor behind social innovation.

66
According to the proposal for the ESF Regulation [COM(2011) 607 final] the ESF shall promote social
innovation in all areas falling within its scope whilst Member States identify the themes for social
innovation corresponding to their needs.
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COM(2011) 682 final.

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10. INVESTING IN EDUCATION, SKILLS AND LIFELONG LEARNING
10.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
Europe 2020 headline target:

Improving education levels, in particular by aiming to reduce school drop-out rates to less
than 10 % and by increasing the share of 30-34 year-olds having completed tertiary or
equivalent education to at least 40 %
State of play
68
:

The global EU target of early school leaving will not be reached on the basis of current
national commitments. The national targets suggest that a rate of 10.5% early school leavers
would be achieved by 2020, thus missing the common European target of 10%. Early school
leaving still averaged 14.1% across the EU in 2010 compared to 14.4% in 2009. However, the
figure hides considerable differences between and within countries.
On tertiary education attainment (among 30-34 year olds), the cumulative effect of achieving
the existing national targets set by Member States would on its own only lead to an attainment
level of around 37% in 2020. However, the EU tertiary attainment rate has increased from
32.3% in 2009 to 33.6% in 2010 and current trends suggest that the headline target of 40%
could in fact be met for the 30-34 year old age group.
EAFRD support will also address the relatively low levels of skills in the agricultural sector
which pose an obstacle to competitiveness.

Key actions for the ESF:
Reducing early school-leaving and promoting equal access to good-quality early-childhood,
primary and secondary education:
targeted support for implementing evidence-based, comprehensive and consistent
policies to reduce early school leaving encompassing prevention, early intervention and
compensation such as second-chance schools, and fostering participation in non-
segregated public education facilities;
capacity building of teachers, trainers, school leaders and staff, introduction of quality
assurance and monitoring systems, development of educational content, including the
use of ICT, the development of creative skills and combating gender stereotypes in
education and training;
addressing obstacles in access faced by children from disadvantaged families, in
particular during the very first years of early-childhood (0-3);
support learning schemes which aim to assist children and young people with learning
disabilities in order to allow their integration in the mainstream educational system;

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COM(2011)815 final, AGS 2012 Annex I.

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support the transition from specialised schools for disabled persons to mainstream
schools.
Improving the quality, efficiency and openness of tertiary and equivalent education with a
view to increasing participation and attainment levels:
targeted support for individual students, especially from under-represented and
vulnerable groups to participate in tertiary education and opening up higher education to
non-traditional learners, and support for adult learners;
investment in the development of new teaching methods and the development and
deployment of innovative technologies, including open educational resources, for
delivering high-quality educational content, including training and capacity-building for
teachers and researchers;
support for enhancing the relevance of higher education programmes to labour market
needs, including through fostering problem-solving, creativity and the development of
entrepreneurial skills;
developing and reinforcing partnerships between higher education, business and
research sector.
Enhancing access to lifelong learning, upgrading the skills and competences of the workforce
and increasing the labour market relevance of education and training systems:
implementing life-long learning strategies for the workforce, in cooperation with the
social partners, including training and skills development and upgrading the transversal
competences of the workforce, such as languages, digital competence and
entrepreneurship;
adapting vocational education and training (VET) systems to labour market demands,
by developing work-based learning in VET, including apprenticeship schemes, and
encouraging companies to take on more trainees;
promoting quality assurance systems in vocational education and training in line with
the recommendation on European Quality Assurance Reference Framework;
flexible pathways between sectors of education and training and between education and
work, in particular through learning and career guidance, traineeship schemes, systems
for the validation and recognition of acquired competences, national qualification
frameworks and related credit systems such as the European Credit system for
Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) and the European Credit Transfer System
(ECTS);
support for a mobility period abroad for graduates and people on the labour market,
including those from disadvantaged groups to acquire new skills and competences;
improving initial and continuing training for teaching and other staff involved in
education and training services;
promoting the attractiveness and excellence of vocational education and training,
including campaigns and skills competitions, and supporting young people in

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compulsory education to get acquainted with vocational trades and career possibilities;
promoting partnerships/networks between social partners, enterprises, education and
training institutions/providers in order to improve the transfer of information on labour
market needs, introduce experience-based learning methods, encourage experimentation
and adapt curricula;
support for upgrading the basic skills and key competences of the adult population,
including migrants, and creating new opportunities to capitalise on the knowledge and
skills of older adults;
support the development of adult learning systems responding to high quality standards.
Key actions for the ERDF:
support for investments in education and training infrastructure particularly with a view
to reducing territorial disparities and fostering non-segregated education and increasing
the responsiveness of education and training systems to evolving patterns of skills needs
and demands and complementing ESF measures.
Key actions for the EAFRD:
Fostering lifelong learning and vocational training in the agricultural and forestry sectors, in
particular by:
support for vocational training and skills acquisition, in such areas as farm management,
sustainable agricultural practices, quality improvements and the use of new technologies
specific to agriculture and forestry;
support for demonstration activities to transfer knowledge between farmers about new
practices in the sector, as well as for information and short-term exchanges and visits
within the EU to promote the exchange of good farm and forestry management
practices; and fostering lifelong learning and vocational training in rural areas in general
(other than courses or training normally provided in secondary or higher education),
such as training on business management or other skills necessary to diversify out of the
agricultural sector.
10.2 General implementation principles
Actions in this field should reflect the objectives contained in the Council conclusions of 12
May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training.
Investments should support equal access to quality education at all educational levels, and
should support the modernisation processes. In line with the lifelong learning principles,
action should cover all sectors, taking into account also learning in informal and non-formal
contexts. Reforms should aim to ensure the acquisition of the key competencies, notably in
terms of employability. Reforms should also aim to improve the match between skills supply
and labour market demand and fostering creativity, problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills
as well as supporting the transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.
Successful investments require developing knowledge partnerships between higher education,
the vocational education and training (VET) sector, research, business, ant the public and non-
profit sectors. Emphasis should be on strengthening the links between education and the
world of work.

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10.3 Complementarity and coordination
Whilst the ESF will be the main Fund for making direct investments in this area, other Funds
will contribute. The ERDF should support infrastructure investments in education and training
which are part of the strategies for education and training at regional, national and EU level as
well as those necessary for the successful implementation of ESF projects in this policy field.
Whilst the ESF supports training in all sectors of the economy, the EAFRD and the EMFF
will focus on the agricultural and fisheries sectors. Developing human capital of
disadvantaged groups will contribute to achieving the social inclusion and the employment
objective of the CSF Funds. The EAFRD can complement ESF interventions by supporting
training and life-long learning in the agricultural and forestry sector or by filling gaps in the
provision of training in rural areas, including investments in small-scale educational and
training infrastructures. This is likely to be particularly valuable in remote rural areas.
Coordination should be ensured with Erasmus for All programme that will focus its support
on transnational learning mobility of students, youth and staff; on strategic partnerships
between organisations and institutions across Europe and on actions supporting policy
development and implementation. The coordination between the instruments should be
achieved, in particular, by promoting complementarity of funding for mobility and the
funding of activities that mainstream best practices and innovative projects identified at EU
level under the Erasmus for All Programme. The National Agencies, established under this
programme, can contribute in achieving this coordination.
The key targets and objectives may be addressed also via financial instruments, possibly in
combination with the EU-level financial instruments, if appropriate.

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11. ENHANCING INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY AND ENSURING AN EFFICIENT PUBLIC
ADMINISTRATION
11.1 Key targets and objectives addressed by the CSF Funds
Strengthening institutional and administrative capacity at all levels and in all fields and
promoting good governance principles is important in order to underpin structural
adjustments. Reducing regulatory and administrative burdens and promoting high standards
of transparency, integrity and accountability in public administration also helps to increase
productivity and strengthen competitiveness. In this respect, the priority should be on
reducing the administrative burden on citizens and business and increasing the transparency,
integrity and quality of public administration as well as its efficiency in delivering public
services in all sectors (including though up-skilling in the fields of policy development,
organisational innovations, e-governance and public procurement of innovative solutions).
Key actions for the ESF:
Investment in institutional capacity and in the efficiency of public administrations and public
services with a view to reforms, better regulation and good governance:
reforms to ensure better legislation, synergies between policies and effective
management of public policies, and transparency, integrity and accountability in public
administration and spending of public funds;
development and implementation of human resources strategies and policies.
Capacity-building for stakeholders delivering employment, education, health and social
policies, and sectoral and territorial pacts to mobilise for reform at national, regional and local
level:
enhancing the capacity of stakeholders, such as social partners and non-governmental
organisations, to help them delivering more effectively their contribution in
employment, education and social policies;
the development of sectoral and territorial pacts in the employment, social inclusion,
health and education domains at all territorial levels.
Key actions for the ERDF:
strengthening institutional capacity and the efficiency of public administrations and
public services related to the implementation of ERDF and in support of actions in
institutional capacity and in the efficient public administration supported by the ESF,
including where necessary the provision of equipment and infrastructure to support the
modernisation of public services in areas such as employment, education, health, social
policies and customs.
11.2 General implementation principles
Actions under this thematic objective should focus on enhancing the efficiency of public
administrations as part of public administration and public sector reform. This requires an
integrated approach addressing institutional bottlenecks in the administration as a whole,

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rather than focusing on individual sectors and projects and/or funding-absorption rates. The
actions should address strategic planning capacity, information collection and evaluation-
related activities, including results-based management approaches, human resources, capacity
to implement EU legislation, and the capacity to implement reforms and public investment
programmes and to reduce administrative burdens. Actions should focus on bottlenecks, as
well as building up capacity to address new tasks, including tasks associated with integrating
climate change mitigation and adaptation across programmes. In addition, the capacity of
bodies involved in the delivery of CSF Fund programmes may be strengthened through the
technical assistance available from all CSF Funds.

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ANNEX II: PRIORITIES FOR COOPERATION
Cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation under the ERDF
Cross-border and transnational areas that share major geographical features (lakes, rivers,
sea basins or mountain ranges) should support the joint management and promotion of their
natural resources, protect biodiversity and ecosystem services, develop integrated cross border
natural risk management, address pollution of these areas and implement joint climate change
adaptation and risk prevention and management measures, in particular in relation to flood
protection and coastal defence.
To achieve critical mass, cooperation can be particularly effective in the field of research and
innovation and ICT, by supporting innovative clusters, centres of competence and business
incubators and smart connections between the business sector and the research and higher
education centres. The development of joint smart specialisation approaches, regional partner
facilities and platforms for co-investment should also be promoted. Supporting partnerships
among educational institutions and exchanges of students and teachers also contribute to
achieving critical mass.
The economies of scale that can be achieved by cross-border and transnational cooperation
are relevant to investment related to the shared use of common public services, particularly in
the field of waste and water treatment, health infrastructure, education facilities and
equipment, accessibility, social infrastructure, ICT, research and innovation infrastructure,
green infrastructure, disaster management systems and emergency services. Promoting soft
cooperation in these areas (health insurance, developing joint educational and training
schemes, harmonising schedules and ticketing, or introducing new public transport
connections, risk assessment procedures) can further enhance savings and quality of life.
In the area of cross-border network infrastructure, transnational cooperation programmes
could focus on providing support for the coherent planning of transport infrastructure
(including TEN-T) and the development of environmentally friendly and interoperable
transport modes in larger geographical areas. Cross-border cooperation, in particular among
less developed regions, could focus on missing cross-border links that act as bottlenecks to
transport flows. The development of electricity networks to enable a larger take-up of
electricity produced with renewable sources could be enhanced by both transnational and
cross-border cooperation in investing in specific sections of infrastructure networks.
A specific issue for cross-border cooperation is strengthening cross-border labour market
services to foster the mobility of workers across borders. This can be achieved by promoting
cross-border job-search platforms or advice centres as well as cooperation among trade
unions, employment offices and other players on the labour market. Supporting the
development of simple and rapid procedures for the mutual recognition of qualifications and
agreements on tax, social and health insurance and other job-related issues is crucial.
Interregional cooperation should aim to reinforce the effectiveness of cohesion policy by
encouraging exchange of experience between regions and cities to enhance design and
implementation of operational programmes under the Investment for Growth and Jobs goal. It
should, in particular, foster cooperation between innovative research-intensive clusters and
exchanges and research institutions building on the experience of "Regions of Knowledge"
and "Research Potential in Convergence and Outermost Regions" under the Seventh

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Framework Programme for Research.
Improving governance is also an important aspect of transnational and cross-border
programmes, in particular those addressing cross-border crime and security, including the
financing of capacity-building in customs systems. Actions should complement actions
financed by the Internal Security Fund,
69
including improving police cooperation, the
exchange of and access to information, crime prevention, and the fight against cross-border
crime as well as serious and organised crime in general, and good governance and fight
against corruption.
The EU must take advantage of the specific and geostrategic situation of its outermost regions
in their respective geographical areas (Atlantic, Caribbean and Indian Ocean) and fully
integrate them within its policies. Thus, territorial cooperation involving the outermost
regions should be improved, reinforced and encouraged.
Contribution of mainstream programmes to macro-regional strategies and sea-basin
strategies
The objective of macro-regional strategies is to organise cooperation between countries or
territories by mobilising local and regional actors to align policies and funding and to identify
common issues, solutions and actions. Similarly, sea-basin strategies are key contributors to
the successful implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy.
70

Effective macro-regional and sea-basin strategies require the successful mobilisation of EU
funding. Programmes co-financed by all the CSF Funds should therefore prioritise operations
deriving from the strategies, organise specific calls, or give priority to these operations in the
selection process. Transnational programmes can provide the necessary framework to support
the range of policies and funds needed to implement macro-regional and sea-basin strategies.
Key actions from the different thematic objectives which could be financed by the CSF Funds
in the context of macro-regional strategies should include the creation of European transport
corridors, including supporting modernisation of customs; the prevention, preparedness and
response to natural disasters, water management at river basin level, green infrastructure,
integrated maritime cooperation across borders and sectors, R&I and ICT networks and
management of shared marine resources in the sea basin and protection of marine
biodiversity.
Transnational cooperation under the ESF
The ESF supports transnational cooperation between partners at national and/or regional level
from at least two Member States in order to enhance the effectiveness of policies supported
by the ESF through mutual learning. Transnational cooperation may involve various
stakeholders such as public law bodies, intermediate bodies, social partners, non-
governmental organisations. Transnational cooperation can cover any areas falling within the
scope of ESF, nevertheless, the greatest added value of mutual learning is in areas identified
in the Council Recommendations. Member States can opt to cooperate in a flexible manner
and in this case, they may select the themes for transnational activities and establish the

69
COM(2011) 753 final, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
establishing, as part of the Internal Security Fund, the instrument for financial support for police
cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and crisis management .
70
Council Conclusions, 16 November 2010.

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appropriate implementation mechanisms which best suit their needs. In addition, the
Commission will facilitate transnational activities through mutual learning and coordinated or
joint action in a limited number of themes endorsed by the ESF Committee. To this end, the
Commission shall operate an EU-level platform with a view to facilitate the exchange of
experience, capacity building and networking, as well as dissemination of the relevant
outcomes. It will also develop a coordinated implementation framework, including common
eligibility criteria, types and timing of actions, as well as common methodological
approaches for monitoring and evaluation, with a view to enhance the potential of
transnational cooperation and maximise the effectiveness of the relevant interventions.