The ERDF is managed by the General Management of Economic Affairs in the Department of Economy and Knowledge of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
In the period 2007-2013, the Cohesion Fund was managed by the General Management of the Community Funds of the Ministry of Economy and Taxation.
The ESF is managed by the Catalan Employment Office “Servei d’Ocupació de Catalunya” which belongs to the Department of Trade and Employment of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Among the Community Funds, which are part of the European Union budget, the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund play a very important role. Both the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund aim to develop a greater economic and social cohesion in the community by way of co-financing public spending policies developed by the member states and aimed at carrying out this objective.
In the period of programming for 2007-2013 the European Union has two Structural Funds:
- The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
- The European Social Fund (ESF)
The aim of the ERDF is to reduce the differences which exist between the levels of development of European regions so that the most ailing regions are able to recover to the levels of the more developed regions. It finances mainly the construction of infrastructures linked particularly to research, innovation telecommunications, the environment, energy and transport. It also finances the productive investment necessary to generate work and the financial instruments needed to assist regional and local development and promote cooperation between towns and regions.
The ESF aims to promote work opportunities and also geographical and professional mobility for workers. It also aims to facilitate their ability to adapt to industrial transformation and changes in production systems by providing training and professional development professional. It mainly finances training activities for the unemployed and the most disadvantaged sectors of society to improve their skills and job prospects.
The Cohesion Fund finances public investment projects in the member states of the European Union which have a Gross Domestic (GDP) per capita which is lower than 90% of the community average and the projects are aimed at improving the environment and at developing integration in trans European transport networks. It may also show interest in projects linked to energy or transport as long as they provide advantages for the environment.
Companies, organizations and private individuals can benefit from the Structural Funds through different projects and activities which the public administrations organize with these Funds.
The Departments of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Operational Programme Management Authorities provide information concerning these funds.
An operational programme is a document written and presented by a member state or managing authority and approved by the European Commission, which outlines and justifies a strategy of development with a coherent set of priorities which require the aid of a fund to be carried out.
A priority area (axis) is each of the strategic priorities of an operational programme which make up a group of operations with quantifiable objectives related to these priorities.
An operation is the whole project or group of projects selected by the managing Authority of an Operational Programme, in accordance with the critiera set out by the working Committee, it is carried out by one of various beneficiaries and enables the objectives of the priority area to be obtained.