Article 160 of the European Union Act states that the European Regional Development Fund was established to help eliminate the major regional development differences within the European Community by taking part in the development and structural adjustments of underdeveloped regions and conversion of the industrial regions where economic situation is worsening.
ERDF was established in 1975. The Fund offers help to underdeveloped regions by focussing on productive investment, improving infrastructure and developing common market.
Regulation (EC) No 1783/1999 lists the activities the means of assistance are provided for:
- development of business environment and competition by measures that specifically support activities of small and medium-sized enterprises;
- development of local economy and employment, including employment in the areas of tourism and culture;
- research and technological development;
development of local, regional, and/or trans-European networks in the areas of transportation, telecommunications and energy, and related infrastructure;
- protection and improvement of the environment;
- ensuring equality between men and women in the field of employment.