Cohesion Open Data Blog

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Welcome to our Cohesion Open Data Blog!
On this blog we document and discuss the key developments on our award winning Open Data Platform
Our platform currently provides access to unique data on the monitoring of investment plans, implementation and achievements of a significant share of the EU Budget delivered through
  • Cohesion policy funds - the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF),  European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund;
  • the EU Agricultural and Rural Development Fund (EAFRD);
  • the EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
We also publish data on the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF), the Instrument for Pre Accession (IPA)  and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).    
The 2015-2020 blog archive is available here.  


  • The 2021 Annual Summary Report on achievements to end-2020 is planned for adoption in December 2021.  
  • In early 2022 we will publish the first wave of programmes adopted under the 2021-2027 programmes. With the entry into force of the legislation on 1 July 2021 the Member States must submit Partnership Agreements followed by the draft programmes.

2021 - 3rd User survey; REACT-EU programming; First open data on 2021-2027 - metadata on categorisation and indicators: Tracking ESF participants; #EURegioGender indices 

October 2021
  • From October 2021, as part of the preparation for the launch of the new period, we are migrating to the hashtag #CohesionOpenData when promoting our open data platform.  #ESIFOpenData may still be used when referring specifically to data from the 2014-2020 period (N.B. the term ESI Funds is no longer present in the 2021-2027 legislation).
  • On 13 October the 2021 EU Regional Gender monitor was launched during the EU Week of Regions and Cities 2021. It was developed by the Joint Research Centre and DG REGIO. Its launch was supported with the interactive open data guide across.
    The #EURegioGender monitor reveals in which EU regions women are achieving more and in which women are at a disadvantage compared to men using 2 indices: the Female Achievement Index (FemAI) and the Female Disadvantage Index (FemDI). 
    The two indices are calculated for 235 EU regions at the NUT2  level and are based on 33 indicators grouped into seven domains. 
    The the two indices are set out in this working paper.  
September 2021
  • The mid year financial data for cohesion policy financial execution as at 30 June 2021 was published in early September. The data story across provides an interactive guide to the data.
    Total spending by EU cohesion policy programmes in 2021 to 30/6/2021 amounted to EUR 37 bn. Explore the data at national and programme using interactive charts.
    For the first time progress in implementing the first REACT-EU allocations adopted  by 30 June 2021 are also included. See "Finances Implemented" on the REACT-EU thematic page

July 2021 
  • On 5 July the first detailed financial data on the 2021-2027 period was formally adopted in 3 Commission Implementing Decisions.  the Commission adopted decisions breakdown of the EU budget allocations by county and EU fund and formalise the designation of NUTS2 regions by category of region. The detailed initial EU allocations in current prices are presented in the data story across showing the EU allocations to different cohesion policy goals and funds in a series of interactive charts.
    The 2021-2027 legislation allows for transfers from the initial national allocations between EU funds and also categories of region. These transfers may take place and can be decided during the approval of the Member  States' partnership agreements, as well as during both approval and amendment of  national and regional programmes. 
  • The adoption of the legislation was closely followed on 8 July 2021 by the publication of a Commission staff working document - SWD(2021)198 - describing the approach to performance, monitoring and evaluation of programmes funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund (CF) and the Just Transition Fund (JTF) for the period 2021-2027. 
    The document is intended primarily for national and regional programme authorities. It illustrates how the new legislation provides for a systematic approach to performance and sets out the context in which the common output and result indicators in the fund regulations will be used. The full descriptions of the common output and result indicators are annexed to the working document (as well as in this open dataset) in order to guide the programmes in their use, collection and reporting of reliable performance monitoring data.
  • The legislation for the 2021-2027 programming period entered into force on 1 July 2021. The legislation describes the objectives of the funds as well as the elements of programming.  On performance and monitoring  the legislation requires two specific forms of structured data exchange that will later feature on #CohesionOpenData:
    • The categorisation information system used for financial inputs used for monitoring, climate action and green tracking and  multiple other purposes (Common Provision Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 - Annex 1):  This open dataset provides the metadata of the categorisation dimensions and codes; this data story provides a description of the 2021-2027 categorisation system;
    • The ERDF/CF/ JTF common output and result indicators to be used in programming and in monitoring  are listed in the fund regulations. (ERDF/CF Regulation (EU) 2021/1058 - Annex 1; JTF Regulation (EU) 2021/1056 - Annex 3.)
      See the bullet above for more information on the definition of the indicators.    
  • In 2014-2020, the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) are active in their support of labour market, education, training and social inclusion measures. The actions have touched the lives of Europeans across the region, with 36 million ESF/YEI participants registered by the end of 2019 – over half being women. Over 4.5 million people have found a job thanks to ESF and YEI support. The story across allows exploration of the ESF's main achievements, main target groups and successful outcomes.
June 2021
  • We have published a detailed data story on the ongoing adoption of REACT-EU 2021 allocations of nearly EUR 40 billion - see below.  The data story expands on the  overview of REACT-EU additional financing on the REACT-EU theme page.

     This press release gives more context.  

Coronavirus indicator aggregation 
  • Linked to the EU cohesion policy response to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic the Commission launched in 2020 two initiatives 1) the CRII/CRII+ emergency response in 2020 and 2) additional resources in 2021+2022 under REACT-EU. This story allows aggregation of all coronavirus indicator values across both initiatives to give a more complete picture.

Cohesion policy investments in footpaths and cycle paths (or lanes) are predominantly made in urban areas.  Typically, the renovation of new public transport inter modal hubs involve new footpath layouts, bicycle parks and access. 
That said, cycle paths and footpaths may also be built linked to eco tourism initiatives, making rural areas more attractive and safely accessible and to interconnect border regions. Explore our open data on investment in the story across.   

April 2021
  • A data guide for students and researchers!!
    We are frequently approached by users for data on cohesion policy financing broken down using the Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics - the NUTS classification. Unfortunately, the Commission does not have EU budget data  systematically and uniformly available at NUTS 2 / NUTS 3 level.
    That said some options are available to do territorial analysis set out in the story to the right.
  • The 2020 Annual Summary Report was adopted on 28 April 2021 along with a synthesis of recent evaluations (see this webpage). Linked to the publication the following  changes were made on the Open Data Platform: 
The end-2019 achievement values for common indicators were published along with the end-2020 targets (reflecting reprogramming  linked mainly to the CORONAVIRUS  response).  See the guide to ERDF/CF common indicators.  
  • A new Cohesion Policy page was published showing an overview of the policy funded by the ERDF, the ESF/YEI and the Cohesion Fund;
  • With the React-EU legislation adopted on 23/12/2020 (text) we have published details of the adopted allocations to programmes  under a new REACT-EU page - "Fostering crisis repair and resilience". The adopted amount will evolve over 2021 and 2022.
March 2021
  • On World Water day 2021 we published the data story - below left - on cohesion policy support to clean water (drinking water and waste water treatment).
  • We published the story - below right - on cohesion policy support to rural regions on 26 March. Substantial cohesion policy support has been channeled to rural areas in the period 2014-2020, with the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund alone investing more than EUR 40 billion in rural areas. The intensity of this support, in terms of funding per person per year, is systematically higher in rural regions than in other areas. However, this understates the contribution of Cohesion policy to rural areas, because reporting options on the location of investments are much broader than only rural or urban. Read on below! 
  • On 1 March we published the Cohesion Policy end-2020 financial data, with detailed categorisation data.  This interactive tool to the right the #cohesionpolicy aggregation of spending data and allows exploration of country and programme data. See the discussion on Twitter under @REGIOEvaluation.

    Member States have accelerated their Cohesion policy investments in 2020 by €70 billion, increasing their total cohesion expenditure to €251 billion. This corresponds to 52% of the planned €482 billion in the 2014-2020 programming period. At the same time, the financial allocation to projects reached the maximum of available funding. 
These indicators show that we are on the right track in the Cohesion policy implementation and that by 2023, the end of the programming period, we will be able to make the most of the resources available under Cohesion policy.”  - Commissioner Ferreira - March 2021
  • The annual categorisation data is used in climate, biodiversity and air quality tracking. Checkout the latest data in the tracking tools below.  At the end of 2019 the share of 2014-2020 ERDF/CF total EU planned support allocated to climate action was 21.1% of the EU budget of the 2 funds (EUR 55.3 billion). By the end of 2020, the total planned amount had fallen to EUR 52.5 bn (with the ERDF/CF planned climate action share now at 19.6% - EUR 51.4 billion).  This was principally as a result of the reallocations linked to the 2020 CRII/CRII+ initiative to support the coronavirus pandemic response, in particular to reallocations to reinforce the immediate public health response and support to SMEs. (The CRII/CRII+ initiative did not introduce extra EU financing but opened the possibility to reallocated EU funding - find out more.)  
    Under the REACT-EU initiative the objective is that 25% of the additional EU financing be committed to climate action, which should redress the reduction in climate action seen in 2020 linked to the immediate pandemic response.
February 2021
Several interactive data stories were updated or published:      
  • A new data story on regional policy support to railways was launched linked to the European Year of Rail 
  • The data story on the EU Solidarity fund was been updated with data on the supported applications from 2019 and 2020.   The data story charts have been supplemented and refreshed with additional interactive functions to help exploration.   
  • For users interested in understanding or evaluating #cohesionpolicy, first you need to understand the financial effort made, the where and the how. We published this "How to ... " guide below to explore our most detailed #ESIFOpenData using filtering, manual downloads, ODATA or API connections.   
  • Later in 2021 we will redevelop #ESIFOpenData to reflect the new #EUbudget programmes adopted for 2021-2027.
    On 3/2/2021 we launched an invitation to users to help us identify their needs and priorities. We asked for replies to our 2021 user survey  before the end of February.
    We received over 250 replies which are now
    published here and can be explored interactively in this data lens.  
January 2021
  • A data story was published on FEAD - the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived.  FEAD supports actions to provide food and/or basic material assistance to the most deprived. Explore the progress in EU payments 2014-2020 in the FEAD data story.
  • Cohesion Policy financial data on "finances implemented" as of 30 September 2019 was published on 22 January. The total spending (EU + National) by ESI Funded programmes at the end of 2019 was EUR 264 billion; spending has risen to nearly EUR 319 billion by 30 September 2020 (and increase of nearly EUR 55 billion in 9 months).  Check out this data story.   
    The latest financial data on "decided" projects to end 2019 on Rural Development - EAFRD - was also published. 
    (NB: The timing of publication was a month later than usual as we rebuilt the dataset in order to compare the financial data to the relevant financial table of the version of the adopted programme in force (not the most recent) at the cut off date for the financial data.) 
  • On twitter we posted this collection of independent research and studies published in 2020 using #ESIFopendata. The list provides useful examples of how researchers have exploited our unique monitoring data in their analysis. If we missed your work why not join the conversation and add a link to our thread? 

2020 - Examples of data reuse #EUSPI 

December 2020
  • This blog on the developments on the platform was published on the occasion of the 5th Anniversary of the launch of the 2014-2020 ESIF Open Data platform (December 2015).

  • The European Social Progress index 2020 was launched on 2 December. The interactive data story on the right was published with the #EUSPI to allow users to explore the regional performance overall and in relation to the components and dimensions. It is supported with several open datasets.