Tracking progress with detailed cohesion investment themes

0. Understanding the thematic focus of cohesion policy programmes

Cohesion policy is the EU's policy to support the reduction of social economic and territorial disparities - the promotion of "catching up".  It is funded in a coordinated way by three EU funds each focusing on a range of themes, with the Cohesion Fund focussed also a limited number of eligible EU countries. 
In February 2020 we published new interactive visualisations to allow stakeholders explore and compare the detailed investment themes ("intervention fields") across the funds, countries and thematic objectives. The tool is designed to provide insight starting from the original planned amounts.  The dataset with full details is open and accessible using the links provided.

1. European Regional Development Fund

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is financially the largest fund, covering all countries and investing under all eleven European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) thematic objectives. It has a strong focus on 4 key priority areas: Research and Innovation, Digital Economy, SME Competitiveness and Low Carbon Economy. The ERDF also finances Interreg – cross-border, transnational and interregional co-operation under the Territorial Co-operation objective. Under the eleven thematic objectives the ERDF uses practically all 123 of the detailed "intervention field" codes. 
Explore using the chart below.

2. Cohesion Fund

The Cohesion Fund is available to 15 EU countries - Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Its funding is allocated to trans-European transport networks and to projects falling under EU environmental priorities. 

Explore using the chart below.

3. European Social Fund

The European Social Fund (ESF) is Europe’s main instrument for investing in people. It helps people find employment or create businesses, supports disadvantaged groups, improves education and makes public services more efficient. The ESF finances 4 of the 11 cohesion policy thematic objectives through 22 investment fields, as presented in the interactive chart below.

4. Reading the charts

4.1 What does the "Finances planned (details)" chart show

  • The "sankey" charts present the planned EU amounts 1) by country, 2) by "Themes" (thematic objectives) and 3) by "Theme details" (intervention field codes);
  • The EU planned amounts are taken from the programmes in force at the end of period covered (i.e. 31/12/2018); the decided and spent values are taken from the financial reporting by categorisation codes provided annually by the national, regional and Interreg programmes; 
  • The eleven thematic objectives are set out in the legislation governing cohesion policy funding 2014-2020.  Several other high level "themes" are presented in the chart, in particular "Technical Assistance" and the specific allocations to "Outermost and sparsely populated" regions;
  • The label "Multi-Thematic" represents those investment envelopes (priorities) in national, regional and Interreg programmes that mix thematic objectives;
  • The detailed themes shown on the right are the 123 intervention field codes; this information system allows a clearer understanding of the specific actions or sub-sectors funded under the eleven thematic objectives. 
  • Under "Theme details" the largest individual allocations are shown for the top "intervention fields"; the category "other" is the aggregation of residual allocations to other intervention fields (there are 123 in total) that individually are smaller again that the smallest value shown. You can find those specific allocations in the open dataset.

4.2 Interacting with the chart

  • The charts default to one of the thematic objectives funded by each fund. To see the full picture click on "Reset Selection";
  • Clicking directly on any elements in the chart leads to a filtering of the underlying data;
  • You can make combined filters within or across the three dimensions use the menu boxes provided at the top of the chart;
  • Choose a country name in the box, use the control key to select additional countries. 
  • A similar approach can be used to select multiple "Themes" (thematic objectives) or "Theme details" (intervention fields);
  • The chart may stop filtering after several selections from different boxes.  In which case "reset selection" and try again. 
  • If you float your cursor over a chart element it shows the filtered EU value planned / decided and spent with related percentages.

5. More information

  • Find out more about the cohesion policy categorisation system including the "intervention fields" - Categorisation data story
  • Find more #ESIFOpenData stories here.

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