European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The European Regional Development Fund aims to promote economic and social cohesion by correcting the main regional imbalances and participating in the development and conversion of regions, while ensuring synergy with assistance from the other Structural Funds.
The opening up of Structural Funds for energy efficiency in housing
As part of the European Economic Recovery Plan agreed in April 2009, an amendment to the regulation on the ERDF was adopted stating that energy efficient refurbishment and the use of renewable energy in existing homes can now benefit from up to four per cent of each member state’s ERDF allocation in all Member States.
Up to this point, only EU-12 countries could use Structural Funds for the renovation of the common parts of multi-family residential buildings and the delivery of modern social housing of good quality through renovation and change of use of existing buildings owned by public authorities or non-profit operators in the framework of an integrated urban development plan or an Operational Programme priority on urban development.
As a result of the change, from June 2009, the ERDF can be used to co-finance national, regional and local schemes related to the insulation of walls, roofing and windows, solar panels, and replacement of old boilers throughout the EU. Member States, which have the responsibility of defining the categories of housing which may benefit from the measure.
This should be done, according to the regulation, with the view “to support social cohesion”. This is a clear signal that measures should be targeted at housing owned or rented by low-income households.
There is no additional funding, however, which means that this new measure requires a shift in the priorities set at regional level.
It is up to Member States and their national and regional authorities to decide whether to make use of it.
Existing data reveals that very few countries have taken up this opportunity so far. More worrying is the fact that EU-12 countries, which had the opportunity to mobilise Structural Funds for housing since 2007, have a slow absorption rate of the funds.
It is now known that among the obstacles were: first, the lack of experience in developing integrated urban plans prior to designing housing projects (it was indeed one condition stipulated in the regulation).Second, the inadequacy of some geographical
eligibility criteria defined by the European Commission. A third obstacle, less known however, is related to state aid issues as, due to the high proportion of individual home owners in the EU-12 countries, it was difficult to exclude the possibility
that financial support be granted to persons which develop economic activities, thus affecting competition. Although those obstacles are being progressively removed, not all regions of the EU-12 countries see energy efficiency in housing as a priority.
Cecodhas- Housing Europe will actively support its memebers in the access of structural found and campaign at european level to tackle the existing obstacles to promote decent and affrodable housing for all.
The opening up of Structural Funds for housing inverventions in favour of marginalised communities, such as Roma communities
The European parliament agreed in April 2010 to open structural funds eligibility criteria to housing expenditure for marginalised communities. Firstly proposed for EU 12 only and mostly for Roma population, it has been open to EU 27 and to any marginalised community. This new rule fills a gap to tackle housing exclusion outside urban renewal integrated programmes as the current rules are implying and helps to cover in particular rural and peripheral areas.
The EU support to housing expenditure can reach a maximum of 3% of the ERDF allocation for each operational programme, as long as it does not exceed 2% of the total ERDF allocation (which is about EUR 198.77 billion in the period 2007-2013). Member states must cofinance the EU up to a level of 50%, the cofinancing rate depending of the measure.
Read the related European Regulation: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:132:0001:0002:EN:PDF
NEW ! : New legislative proposals for Cohesion Policy (2014-2020)