Which regions are covered by the ESI Funds? Generally, all EU regions are eligible. However, there are different objectives and requirements, depending on the classification of the region. In the 2014-2020 programming period, regions fall into one of three categories according to their GDP per capita in relation to the EU28 average.

Less developed regions

Supporting the less developed regions is an important priority for Cohesion Policy. This category includes regions where the GDP per capita is below 75% of the EU average.  Regions in this category, which cover 119.2m people, will continue to be a high priority for Cohesion Policy and will benefit from significant support from the ESI Funds.

Transition regions

These are regions, covering 72.4m people, where GDP per capita is between 75% and 90% of the EU average. This is a new category designed to provide an extra boost to regions that have become more competitive in recent years but that could still benefit from targeted investment. It has been introduced with a view to replacing the ‘phasing-in’ and ‘phasing-out’ system that existed under the 2007 – 2013 programming period.

More developed regions

Although interventions in less developed regions are considered a priority, there are important challenges that concern all Member States, such as global competition in the knowledge-based economy and the shift towards the low carbon economy. This category concerns those regions whose GDP per capita is above 90 % of the average GDP of the EU-28 and covers 307m people.


Please visit the website of DG REGIO for further information about the regions covered by the ESI Funds.

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