Over 76% of EU budget is managed in partnership with national and regional authorities through a system of "shared management". The majority of this is made through 5 funds collectively known as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
- European Social Fund (ESF) – social inclusion and good governance
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – regional and urban development
- Cohesion Fund (CF) – economic convergence by less-developed regions
- European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
- European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
Every EU region may benefit from the ESF and ERDF funds. However, only the less developed regions may receive support from the Cohesion Fund.
The funds are focused on EU priorities in areas such as employment, innovation, education, poverty reduction and climate/energy with the aim to provide EU Member States with financial assistance to implement the EU2020 strategy of Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, increasing economic activity and employment across the EU.
- Smart - developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;
- Sustainable - promoting a resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy;
- Inclusive - fostering a high employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.
The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programmes in Scotland. It has overall responsibility for the implementation, management and effectiveness of funds distributed through the programmes.
These funds also align with Scottish Government priorities to reduce poverty and social exclusion, boost educational attainment and skills development, grow employment levels, economic activity and innovation, and climate change/renewable energy.