The European Union (EU) provides a wide range of financial funding. It is often allocated through content-related EU action programs and through the EU Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds which implement the EU regional policy.
Within the framework of EU regional policy, the funding from the European structural and investment funds (ESIF) ist jointly managed by the European Commission and the EU countries, by means of partnership agreements. The fuding is increased with further funds from the federal and regional levels.
The EU action programs are primarily managed through the so-called executive agencies, which are contracted by the Commission. These include, for example, the EU program for education, youth and sport Erasmus +, the EU cultural program Creative Europe, the EU environmental program LIFE and the EU research framework program Horizon Europe.
New programs, funding instruments and funds are planned for the funding period 2021 – 2027, accompanied by changes concerning the executive agencies. Please find further information at the competent authority.
Erasmus + is the European Union’s education program for the period 2021 to 2027. It promotes numerous mobility and cooperation opportunities across Europe in the areas of vocational training, adult education, school and university education and sports. The current program focuses on social inclusion, green and digital change and promoting the participation of young people in democratic life.
The LIFE program is the EU's financial instrument for environment and climate policy. It is intended to contribute to the implementation and further development of environmental policy and to promote sustainable development in the EU. The political agreement on the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027 provides for € 5.4 billion for the LIFE program. This corresponds to an increase of almost 60 % compared to the previous program LIFE 2021 to 2027.
Horizon Europe is the successor program to Horizon 2020 for the period from 2021 to 2027. It is one of the largest funding programs for innovation and research worldwide. The forms of financing and funding range from basic research to innovative product development. Horizon Europe combats climate change, contributes to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and strengthens the competitiveness and growth of the EU.
RescEU was established in 2019 and is an additional asset to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. It has the objective of enhancing both the protection of citizens from disasters and the management of emerging risks.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, RescEU has established a new European strategic reserve of medical resources, to better respond to health emergencies. The RescEU reserve also includes a firefighting fleet to address forest fires. When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the possibilities of a country to respond on its own, it can request assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument
The Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI - Global Europe) will support the EU's external action for the period 2021 to 2027, with an overall budget of € 79.5 billion in current prices. The budget is allocated into geographic programmes (Neighbourhood; Sub-Saharan Africa; Asia and the Pacific; Americas and the Carribeans), thematic programmes (human rights and democracy; civil society organisations; stability and peace; conflict prevention and global challenges), and rapid response actions. Moreover, a “cushion” of unallocated € 9534 million will be earmarked for unexpected events and could be used to top-up any of the above-mentioned programmes.
Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III)
IPA aims to prepare candidate and potential candidate countries for EU membership. Its general objective is to support those countries to adopt and implement all reforms (political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic) required to comply with EU's values and to progressively align to EU rules, standards, policies and practices on their path towards EU membership. Its beneficiaries include the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia) and Turkey. For the period from 2021 to 2027, the legislative process still ongoing, awaiting Council’s first reading position.
European Solidarity Corps
The European Solidarity Corps programme helps young people between 18 and 30 years old to take part in volunteering projects that benefit communities, either abroad or in their own country. The ESC funding is provided in the form of grants to organisations through call for proposals and is implemented on the ground by a variety of bodies: the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), the National Agencies in each participating country, the SALTOs and the European Solidarity Corps resource centre. Projects are offered in a wide range of fields – education and training, citizenship and democratic participation, environment and natural protection, migration, culture, and many others.
Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
The renewed Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) for 2021 to 2027 should contribute to strengthening the common asylum policy, develop legal migration in line with the member states’ economic and social needs, support third-country nationals to effectively integrate and be socially included, and contribute to the fight against irregular migration. The structure and the name of the new programme are under discussion.
Justice, Rights and Values Fund
The new Justice, Rights and Values Fund aims to support the promotion and strengthening of justice, values and rights in Europe and contains the new Justice Programme and the Citizenship, Equality, Rights and Values Programme. The Fund will support the activities of various actors such as NGOs, equality bodies, public administrations, justice networks or universities, but no additional funding will be provided.
The Justice Programme aims to foster mutual recognition and trust between Member States by promoting judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, helping to train judges and other legal practitioners and facilitating effective access to justice for individuals and businesses across Europe. The programme is put in place to ensure that EU law is fully and consistently applied and also supports EU action to combat drugs.
Citizenship, Equality, Rights and Values Programme
The programme aims to protect and promote Union rights and values as enshrined in the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. With an overall budget of € 1.55 billion for the next 7-year period, it represents the biggest-ever EU fund for promoting and protecting fundamental rights, rule of law and democracy inside the EU. The structure of the programme consists of four strands: Union Values, Equality, Rights and Gender Equality, Citizens' engagement and participation, Daphne (related to fighting violence). This programme forms part of a new Justice, Rights and Values Fund together with the Justice Programme.
The Innovation Fund (IF) supports highly innovative technologies and big flagship projects in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by focusing on innovative low-carbon technologies and processes in energy intensive industries; carbon capture and utilisation (CCU); construction and operation of carbon capture and storage (CCS); innovative renewable energy generation; energy storage. The IF is financed by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and by any unspent funds of the NER300 programme.
The Digital Europe Program (DIGITAL) is the first financial instrument of the EU focused on bringing digital technology to businesses and citizens. It focuses mainly on supporting projects in following sectors: Artificial Intelligence; Cybersecurity; Quantum / HPC.
It will also aim to build up and strengthen the EU’s supercomputing and data processing capabilities, as much as fostering the creation of European Digital Innovation Hubs, with a planned overall budget of € 7.5 Billion.
EU4Health is EU’s response to COVID-19, which has had a major impact on medical and healthcare staff, patients and health systems in Europe. By investing € 5.1 billion, therefore becoming the largest health program ever in monetary terms, EU4Health will provide funding to EU countries, health organisations and NGOs. Funding will be open for applications in 2021. The EU4Health program will pave the way to a strong European Health Union that will improve and safeguard the health of all EU citizens.
The InvestEU program will bring together, under one roof, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and 13 other EU financial instruments. The program aims to give an additional boost to sustainable investment, innovation and job creation in Europe. It will aim to mobilise, over the period 2021 to 2027, more than € 372 billion of public and private investment through an EU budget guarantee of € 6.2 billion that backs the investment of implementing partners such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and other financial institutions.
The Single Market is Europe's best asset to generate growth and foster competitiveness of European companies in globalised markets. It aims to do that by supporting: Consumer protection and empowerment; Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; A high level of human, animal and plant health; Cooperation between Member States and the Commission; Fair competition in the digital age; High quality European statistics. It will try to reach these goals with a budget set to be around € 4 billion.
Connecting Europe Facility
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is the EU funding instrument for strategic investment in transport, energy and digital infrastructure. In the transport sector, CEF is dedicated to the implementation of the TEN-T and aims at supporting investments in cross-border connections, missing links as well as promoting sustainability and digitalisation. The European Commission, as part of proposals for the next long-term budget (2021 - 2027), proposed adapting the CEF program to support investment in Europe’s transport, energy and digital infrastructure networks.