The current programming period for Structural Funds commenced in 2007 and will end in 2013.
Regulations concerning the allocation of the new Funds were approved and published in the European Union's Official Journal at the end of 2006. Each EU Member State then began to develop its own National programming documents in order to use these Funds.
The European Regional Policy is funded by:
With the adoption of new EC Regulations, the cohesion policy reform for 2007-2013 has introduced significant innovations. In particular the development strategy and the resources allocated to it have three main new objectives:
The EU cohesion policy for 2007-2013 is compatible with each Member State's National Strategy. This compatibility is achieved because each Member State draws up and adopts a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) in accordance with the indications contained in Articles Nos. 27 and 28 of Regulation (EC) 1083/2006.
The Operational Programmes (OPs) originate from the NSRF, in accordance with Article No. 32 of Regulation (EC) 1083/2006. In Italy, most of the NSRF strategy will be implemented through 42 Regional Operational Programmes (ROPs). Half of these programmes are entirely financed through the ERDF the other half is financed entirely through the ESF.
In addition to the 21 ERDF ROPs and the 21 ESF ROPs, the following are also provided for: 8 National Operational Programmes (NOPs) (seven of which relate exclusively to the Convergence areas and one to areas of Competitiveness), two Interregional Operational Programmes (IOPs) and 14 Operational Programmes part of the "European Territorial Cooperation" objective- a total of 66 Operational Programmes: 42 funded by ERDF and 24 funded by ESF.
The 66 OPs can be grouped according to their objectives: 19 are part of the Convergence objective, 33 are part of the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective and 14 are included in the European Territorial Cooperation objective.