European Funding 2000 - 2006 Archive

The 2000-2006 European Structural Fundsi Programme in the North West has now ceased effective operation. Although the programme has yet to be formally closed there is no new activity in the programme. This section is retained for archive purposes and for information only.

The European Union provides financial support to promote economic development and social inclusion through a series of inter-related funds known as Structural Funds. Structural Funds aim to promote the development and structural adjustment of a region that has fallen behind other parts of the European Community. There are four different European Structural Funds which will finance projects seeking to reduce unemployment, improve and develop the skills of employed people, invest in industrial or rural areas which are in decline and regenerate areas with low economic development.

The European Social Fund (ESF) is the main financial tool through which the European Union translates its strategic employment policy aims into action. ESF aims to improve employment opportunities in the European Union by providing financial support towards the running costs for vocational training schemes, guidance and counselling projects, job creation measures and other steps to improve the employability and skills of both employed and unemployed people. ESF also provides support for research and improving the capacity of organisations to better help their target communities.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is aimed at reducing regional imbalances and assisting disadvantaged regions, particularly, run-down areas facing restructuring problems and industrial decline and rural areas. ERDF will support activity which leads to job creation through investment in infrastructure, businesses, the environment, tourism and community economic development.

The European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) finances the common organisation of agricultural markets, the processing of agricultural products and the structure of agricultural holdings. EAGGF aims to preserve the link between diversified farming and the land, improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas and help to keep thriving communities in rural areas.

The Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) finances measures for the adjustment of fisheries and aquaculture structures and the processing and marketing of their products. FIFG aims to support a sustainable balance between marine resources and their exploitation and promotes the modernisation of fishing structures to ensure the future of the industry.

European Union Structural Funds are accessed through specific Programmes referred to as ‘Objectives’. The Structural Funds have three priorityi Objectives, Objective 1i, Objective 2i and Objective 3i. Geographical areas are designated a particular Objective according to their economic and social circumstance. Between 2000 and 2006, the North West region (excluding Merseyside) will be able to access approximately £750m from European Structural Fund Programmes.

Objective 1
The Objective 1 Programme operates within areas of most need and supports the development of regions that are significantly falling behind the rest of Europe. For the 2000-2006 programming period, the European Union has designated Merseyside as an Objective 1 area and allocated approximately £840m of funding to the area.

Objective 2
The Objective 2 Programme aims to promote the economic and social convergence of areas facing structural difficulties and targets areas undergoing socio-economic change in the industrial and service sectors, declining rural areas, urban areas in difficulty and depressed areas dependent upon fisheries. For the 2000-2006 programming period, the Objective 2 Programme will operate within parts of Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire and has been allocated approximately £500m of funding.Objective 2 funding in the North West is being financed by ERDF.

Objective 3
The Objective 3 Programme is the main human resource development framework, lending support to education, training and employment initiatives, supporting both the employed and unemployed. Objective 3 will part fund projects which seek to assist the unemployed - to gain access to the labour market and those who are in work - to update existing skills to sustain employment. In addition, Objective 3 will seek to promote lifelong learning, equal opportunities and social inclusion. The whole of the North West region, with the exception of Merseyside is eligible for Objective 3 support and approximately £250m of funding has been allocated to the region.Objective 3 funding in the North West is being financed by ESF. European Structural Funds can be accessed by organisations within the public, private and voluntary sectors, although funding cannot be awarded to individuals. Applications for funding may be made by a single organisation, in partnership with another or through a consortium. It is important to note that each Structural Fund Programme has its own unique guidance, application criteria and bidding timetable which must be consulted prior to the submission of an application.
As you may be aware, the Structural Funds are being prepared for the new Programme (2007 – 2013). Objective 1,Objective 2 and Objective 3 will be changing into the new objectives, namely:

  • Convergence
  • Competitiveness
  • Co-operation

For more information on these new changes please refer to the Post 2006 section of our website (under European funds).