- Objective 1 promotes the catching-up of the economies of regions whose development is lagging behind. It is “regionalised” in that it applies to statistically demarcated regions. Only those which per capita GDP is less than 75% of the Community average are eligible. In all, Objective 1 covers over ninety regions in nineteen Member States. Transitional support is also available over a seven- ear period for the regions previously eligible between 1994 and 1999. Basic infrastructure, the development of human resources, investment in research and innovation, and the information society are the four main priority areas.
- Objective 2 contributes to the economic and social conversion of geographical regions faced with structural difficulties. It too is regionalised, the demarcation of eligible areas depending both on national and European population ceilings (18% of the Union’s population) and on specific socioeconomic criteria. Four categories of eligible area are defined: areas undergoing economic change in industry and the service sector, declining rural areas, urban areas in difficulty and depressed areas dependent on fisheries.
- Objective 3 supports the adaptation and modernisation of educational, training and employment policies and systems. It serves as the reference framework for all measures taken on the basis of the new employment title in the Treaty of Amsterdam and for the resulting European strategy. It is not regionalised: all regions falling outside Objective 1 are eligible.