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EU funding

The EU provides funding and grants for a broad range of projects and programmes covering areas such as:

  • education
  • health
  • consumer protection
  • environmental protection
  • humanitarian aid.

Funding is managed according to strict rules to ensure that there is tight control over how funds are used and that funds are spent in a transparent, accountable manner.

EU funding is complex, since there are many different types of programmes managed by different bodies. Over 76% of the EU budget is managed by the member countries. This includes the structural funds - which finance regional policy, social and training programmes, as well as agriculture (including support for farmers).

Two main types of funding

Grants for specific projects, usually following a public announcement known as a 'call for proposals'. Part of the funding comes from the EU, part from other sources.

Public contracts to buy services, goods or works to ensure the operations of EU institutions or programmes. Contracts are awarded through calls for tenders (public procurement) and cover a range of areas: studies, technical assistance and training; consultancy, conference organisation, IT equipment purchases, etc.

As a group, the 28 EU Commissioners have the ultimate political responsibility for ensuring that EU funds are spent properly. But because most EU funding is managed at country level, national governments are responsible for conducting checks and annual audits.

Beneficiaries

Small businesses

Can obtain EU funding through grants, loans and guarantees. Grants provide direct support, while other funding is available through programmes managed at national level.

EU funding opportunities for small businesses

Non governmental & civil society organisations

May be eligible for funding, provided they are active in EU policy areas on a non profit basis.

EU funding opportunities for NGOs by policy area

Young people

Two main types of funding:

  • Lifelong Learning Programme - study opportunities through Erasmus, support for school goers nearing the end of secondary education, and vocational training in another country
  • Youth in Action Programme - co funding of projects which encourage civic involvement, volunteer work and a broader multicultural outlook.

Lifelong Learning Programme - funding for education and training
Get involved in the Youth in Action Programme

Researchers

Over €53 billion has been made available between 2007 and 2013 for research, mainly through the seventh framework programme (FP7). Grants are available in the form of co financing for research related to cooperation, ideas, people, capacities & nuclear research.

EU funding opportunities for research & innovation

Farmers

Most farmers in the EU are eligible to receive direct payments to support their income. Farmers must respect standards related to environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety.

Most support is not linked to production. But under certain conditions, EU countries may give less money and instead provide support linked to production.

National rural development programmes - contact details by country

European funding in your region

What projects are receiving EU funding near you?

Click on blue countries to see projects receiving grants from the

  • European Regional Development Fund
  • European Social Fund
  • Cohesion Fund
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
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