2021-2027
categorisation information system

1. Why do we need a categorisation system? 

In the 2021-2027 programming period, Member States will structure the programmes delivering cohesion policy investments according to the "specific objectives" listed in the relevant fund regulations. However, aggregated financial data at the level of specific objective does not provide information about what is financed, how investments are financed and where they take place. 
To collect this type of information, programme managing authorities provide financial data on 8 dimensions (categorisation data) at the level of specific objective, fund and category of region. The categorisation information system provides data on the financial inputs of a programme, contributing to the assessment of its intervention rationale, and allowing the monitoring of investment progress.
The cohesion policy categorisation system will cover the following funds and investment strands: ERDF, ESF+, Cohesion Fund, Just Transition Fund,  Interreg, NDICI and IPA III. 

2. What does the 2021-2027 categorisation system look like?

The categorisation dimensions are listed in Annex I to Regulation (EU)  2021/1060 (Common Provisions Regulation, CPR). They are: 
  1. Intervention fields (*): 182 codes identifying the scope of investments;
  2. Form of support (*): 6 codes identifying whether investments are delivered through grants or financial instruments;
  3. Territorial delivery mechanism and territorial focus (*): 33 codes identifying the territorial context (urban neighbourhood, mountainous area, ...) of the operation and the territorial tool applied;
  4. Economic activity: 26 codes identifying the sector ultimately benefitting from the support; 
  5. Location: Indicates the location of the operation using the NUTS nomenclature;
  6. ESF+ secondary theme (*): 10 codes identifying the secondary objectives of ESF+ interventions;
  7. Gender equality (*): 3 codes indicating the intensity of support to gender equality measures;
  8. Macro-regional and Sea-basin strategies: 11 codes indicating the contribution of the investments to these strategies.
(*) The CPR establishes that, at the beginning of the programming period, programmes must set out indicative financial allocations for dimensions 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7. 
Financial allocation and spending are reported on all dimensions during implementation (5 times per year), to monitor progress and compare implemented activities with the original plans. 

3. What is it for?

The categorisation system tracks financial inputs of the operational programmes: planned and delivered investments. Associating financial reporting with the categorisation codes allows to gather in-depth information about the activities financed by the programmes supported by cohesion policy, mapping expenditure in structured categories that are comparable across programmes. The categorisation system therefore provides a crucial source of reliable information, that is at the heart of monitoring, evaluation  and policy analysis, and is widely used in reporting to stakeholders. 
Since the 2014-2020 period, intervention fields have been used to track cohesion policy investments in climate-related activities, allowing to measure the contribution of the policy to the European Green Deal. In 2021-27, the contribution of each intervention field to climate and environmental objectives is set out by Annex I of the CPR. Similarly to the 2014-20 period, in 2021-27 intervention fields will also be used for informal tracking, such as tracking of biodiversity and clean air investments. 

4. The evolution of the categorisation system

2000-06

Single-dimension categorisation system and irregular reporting concerning planned values only. 

2007-13

  • The categorisation system was composed of 5 dimensions;
  • Categorisation information was only collected with reference to planned investments;
  • No formal tracking systems; 
  • Allocations to categorisation dimensions and codes reported in the 2007-2013 Final reports: 
    Data set.

2014-20

2021-27

  • The categorisation system is still composed of 8 dimensions, but the two territorial dimensions were merged, and thematic objectives abandoned. The "Gender equality" and "Macro-regional and Sea-basin strategies" were added. 
  • Information on categorisation of selected investments and declared expenditure will be reported five times per year. 
  • Formal climate and environmental tracking established by
    CPR Annex I 
    Informal biodiversity, clean air and digital tracking. 

5. Find out more about cohesion policy's categorisation system 2014-2020

2014-2020 categorisation 
2014-20 climate-related investments
2014-2020 use of financial instruments
2014-20 support to rural areas
2014-20 clean air investments
2014-20 biodiversity investment

6. More information

The metadata on the 2021-2027 categorisation system is available in this dataset
The first financial categorisation data from the adopted programmes (planned investments) is expected to be published in 2022. 
Once programmes are adopted they will then begin to report categorisation data on implementation, that will be uploaded regularly on the Open Data Platform.
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Date of text: first published in July 2021. 
Author: Caterina SCARPA