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EU Cohesion Policy: €42.7 billion for Italy to support sustainable growth, employment and modernization while reducing regional disparities – Regional Policy

The Partnership Agreement sets out the jointly agreed investment priorities for Italy’s green and digital transition while supporting the most fragile socio-economic areas and vulnerable groups. Together with national co-financing, the total Cohesion Policy allocation is €75 billion.

More than €30 billion from the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) will be allocated to the less developed regions in Southern Italy. This stronger targeting is crucial to reduce the (still large) gap among regions in terms of economic activity, employment opportunities, education and access to services and healthcare.

Strengthening sustainability and fighting climate change

Over €8.7 billion under the ERDF will aim at making energy more affordable, clean and secure at investing in low-carbon and circular economy as well as energy-efficient renovations in public buildings.

Moreover, ERDF resources will be invested in strengthening sustainable mobility and in making regions, cities and infrastructures more resilient to impacts of climate change and natural risks.

Italy will invest in measures for climate change adaptation, risk prevention and resilience to phenomena such as storms, floods and drought. For example, €1.2 billion from the ERDF will improve the efficiency of the national water network, whilst promoting its digitalization and smart monitoring including in the area of ​​wastewater treatment.

€1 billion under the Just Transition Fund (JTF) will help cushioning the impacts of the green transition and support the diversification of the economic activities currently based on carbon intensive industries. The most affected areas in the country are ‘Sulcis Iglesiente’ in Sardinia and the area of ​​Taranto in Apulia.

Smart growth and employment for women and the youth

Italy will dedicate €9.5 billion to enhancing the competitiveness of industry in all regions, the digitalisation and productivity of small and medium-sized businesses and to supporting research, development and innovation.

€15 billion from the ESF+ will be invested in social inclusion measures and active labor market and training measures to boost youth employment under the Youth Guarantee, for instance by apprenticeships, as well as self-employment and entrepreneurship.

To address the skills shortages and increase the flexibility of the labor market, Italy will invest in up-skilling and re-skilling of workers. Substantive efforts will be undertaken to help the most deprived, in particular, to lift children out of poverty, in line with the European Child Guarantee.

Funding will also address the gender gap in the employment rate, which is the highest in the EU, by supporting female entrepreneurship, facilitating access to conciliation services, encouraging greater involvement of men in care duties, and promoting innovative corporate welfare solutions.

Sustainable fishery

€518 million from the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) will help building a sustainable and low-carbon fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean, strengthening the sustainable exploitation and management of aquatic and maritime resources and boosting innovation. It will also promote the decarbonisation of blue economy sectors, the protection of the marine environment and biodiversity. Special attention will be given to local coastal communities.

Members of the College said:

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreirasaid: “Over the next years, Italy will have an unprecedented amount of resources available. Under the framework of this joint Partnership Agreement, Italy will invest in creating jobs, increasing competitiveness, strengthening sustainable economic growth, modernizing the public sector and much more. Reducing territorial disparities is crucial for a balanced growth that benefits all.”

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmitadded: “Thanks to this Partnership Agreement, Italy will build a fair and resilient labor market open to all. With an envelope of almost €15 billion, the ESF+ in Italy will invest in people to address some of its main employment, social, education and skills-related challenges. This is a tangible contribution to achieving Italy’s national European Pillar of Social Rights targets for 2030 on employment, adult learning and poverty reduction.”

Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkeviciussaid: “Europe’s blue economy plays a crucial role in supporting coastal communities and in decarbonising our economy. This is even more important for countries like Italy that has an important role to play in the Mediterranean. This Partnership Agreement creates the conditions for the harmonious deployment of maritime and coastal activities and to further develop this sector.”


The Partnership Agreement for Italy covers the ERDF and the ESF+, the JTF and the EMFAF and it paves the way for the implementation of these funds on the ground.

The Partnership Agreement for Italy covers 49 programs (11 national programs and 38 regional programmes) and 19 INTERREG programs (concerning territorial cooperation). Moreover, it establishes the eligibility and implementation of the JTF in the regions with carbon-intensive industrial facilities most negatively impacted by the climate transition.

Moreover, the Partnership Agreement reflects Italy’s strong commitment to the objectives of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Cohesion Policy investments for 2021-2027 are planned in strong coordination with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Under Cohesion Policy, and in cooperation with the Commission, each Member State prepares a Partnership Agreement, a strategic document for programming investments from the Cohesion Policy funds and the EMFAF during the Multiannual Financial Framework. It focuses on EU priorities, laying down the strategy and investment priorities identified by the Member State, and it presents a list of national and regional programs for implementation on the ground, including the indicative annual financial allocation for each programme.

The 2021-2027 Partnership Agreement with Italy is the 17th to be adopted following those of Greece, Germany, Austria, Czechia, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal, Estonia and Slovakia.


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