The cohesion policy is the European Union strategy put in place to ensure a harmonic development of the European Union as a whole. It is aimed at reducing large economic, social and territorial inequalities between the European regions.
In 2021-2027, cohesion policy has the following policy goals:
This is how cohesion policy contributes to the realisation of the European Green deal and the EU's digital agenda.
To achieve these goals, Member States receive support via the European Structural and Investment Funds: the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion fund (CF).
Every European region has a right to support from the EFRD and the ESF. Only less developed regions receive support from the CF. Belgium, as a more developed region, receives support from the EFRD and the ESF.
From the EFRD, the EFRD and Interreg programmes are financed. From the ESF, the ESF-programme is financed
2. A greener Europe
3. A better connected Europe
4. A more social Europe
5. A Europe closer to the people
6. A better cooperation governance (additional policy priority Interreg)
7. A safer and more secure Europe (additional policy priority Interreg)
The EFRD programme is one of the programmes that is financed by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD) and it aims to strengthen the sustainable growth and competitiveness of Flanders, while supporting the transition to a low-carbon, circular and energy-efficient economy.
The programme strategy is focused around the policy goals regarding a Smarter and Greener Europe. As a result of Covid-19, the programme also focuses on economic recovery, with a specific focus on digitisation and sustainable urban development (in line with the priorities from the Flemish post-COVID relanceplan).
Since the province of Limburg is categorised as a 'transition region', there is an extra budget available for Limburg in the programme.
The programme of EFRD 2021-2027 is approved by the Flemish government and has been submitted to the European Commission for approval. The specific goals in the programme 2021-2027 are:
The first calls are expected in the middle of 2022 and can be found on the VLAIO website.
European territorial cooperation is one of the objectives of the cohesion policy. Interreg is a programme which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and which is aimed at stimulating and improving this European territorial cooperation. Interreg V is the fifth phase of the programme and runs from 2014 to 2020.
The Interreg programme supports cooperation in three different areas:
Interreg V-A is the main area under which to submit project proposals. Within this area, Hasselt University belongs to three Interreg regions: Cross-border region Flanders - The Netherlands, Euregion Meuse - Rhine and the Northsea region.
Within Interreg V-B, Hasselt University belongs to the to the region Northwest Europe.
The cross-border region Flanders - The Netherlands consists on the Flemish side of Antwerp, Limburg, East-Flanders, Flemish-Brabant (only the Leuven district) and West-Flanders (excluding the districts of Veurne and Ieper). On the Dutch side, the area is formed by the provinces of Limburg, North-Brabant and Zeeland.
For the new programme period 2021-2027, this region has chosen 4 themes, further specified by policy goals.
|(A) A smarter Europe|
|(B) A greener Europe|
|(C) A more social Europe|
|(D) A Europe without borders|
The programme area of the Euregion Meuse - Rhine has remained unchanged relative to the previous period. Partners have to be located in one of the areas below in order to be eligible for participation in an Interreg EMR project. Projects have to consist of a partnership that transcends country borders.
The programme area consists of the following regions:
- Province of Limburg
|The Netherlands||- Regions of South and Middle Limburg|
- Region South-east North-Brabant (only for the innovation domain)
|Germany||- District Aachen|
- District Düren
- District Euskirchen
- District Heinsberg
- Eifeldistrict Bitburg-Prüm
- District Vulkaneifel
The Cooperation programme exists of the following four priority domains:
Project can be funded for max. 50%.
The programme has a ERDF budget of 96 million Euro.
Contact Hasselt University: email@example.com
Contact Limburg Province Interreg cross-border region Flanders - The Netherlands: Matthias Verhegge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Website Euregion Meuse-Rhine
All current calls can also be found on the Hasselt University call page
New in the 2021-2027 programme, is that all of Flanders is now part of the Northsea region, which means organisations in the province of Limburg can also apply for funds. The United Kingdom is no longer a member of the programme.
(1) Robust and smart economies
(2) A green transition
(3) A climate resilient North Sea Region
(4) Better governance
(horizontal themes that can be part of all priorities)
The programme area Northwest Europe consists of: Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of France, Germany and the Netherlands.
In the new programme period, the area was expanded with extar regions in the Netherlands and Germany. The United Kingdom no longer participates.
The NWE programme will focus on 5 priorities, broken down into further specific objectives:
|Thematic priority||Specific objectives|
|(1) Climate and environment|
|(2) Energy transition|
|(3) Circular economy|
|(4) Innovation and resilience|
|(5) Inclusive society|
The European Social Fund (ESF) is one of the European Structural and Investments Funds (ESIF). It is the most important European instrument to support employment, be more effective in helping people find jobs and to ensure fairer employment opportunities for all EU citizens.
In Flanders, the ESF Agency is responsible for the implementation and the management of the ESF programme.
In principle, every organisation with legal personality can submit a project with the ESF Agency. It is, however, always advised to carefully read the call for which you want to submit a project. Restrictions can be imposed per call.
Project applications can only be submitted during an open call. The ESF Agency launches calls on the basis of developments within the Flemish labour market. Every call falls within the priorities of the ESF programme. An overview of the open calls can be found on the website of the ESF.
In 2021, the new European programme period started. This meant the start of a new programme period for the European Social Fund as well. Europe establishes guidelines in consultation with the various EU member states, within which the member states can set priorities themselves in accordance with their own needs. The negotiations on the details of the new operational programme are still ongoing. As soon as there is insight into the priorities of the new programme, you will find that information here.