European Funding Opportunities

The political and social priorities defined by the European Institutions in the framework of the Strategy for Growth and Competitiveness  Europe 2020  are implemented through different kinds of financial instruments: 

  • Indirect Fundings
  • Direct Fundings
  • Financial Instruments

Indirect funds are managed jointly by the European Commission and the public authorities at national, regional and local level, which implement the Partnership Agreement drawn up with the Commission and manage the financial resources and the related calls.

Indirect Fundings

They are principally addressed to the less developed regions in Europe in order to reduce the economic imbalances among territories in the Eu.

Indirect funds are distinguished as follows:

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • European Social Fund (ESF)
  • Cohesion Fund (CF)
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
  • Every EU region may benefit from the ERDF and ESF. However, only the less developed regions may receive support from the Cohesion Fund.

    Direct fundings are managed directly by the Commission and its General Directorates and Executive Agencies competent for specific thematic areas (research, education, environment, transports etc.) through:

    • Calls for Proposals
    • Calls for Tenders

    Through calls for proposals the Commission assigns grants to finance innovative project ideas which implement the Eu objectives defined in the different thematic programs.

    These grants are contribution to cover the expenses related to the project proposal; therefore when the Eu contribution is lower than 100% it has to be integrated by own resources of the beneficiary.

    Calls for tenders are instead public procurement of services, goods and works related to the functioning of the European Institutions; in this case the Commission signs public contracts with the selected beneficiaries.

    Project proposals to be financed by direct funds have to be innovative and realized in most of cases in cooperation with European partners in order to ensure the European dimension of the project and of its results.

    The principal EU thematic programs are:

    • HORIZON 2020   for research and innovation.
    • COSME   dedicated to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
    • ERASMUS+   for education, youth and sport.
    • LIFE+   for environment.
    • EaSI   the new European program for employment and social initiatives.
    • CREATIVE EUROPE   that supports the culture and media sectors.
    EN - Direct Fundings

    European Union supports entrepreneurs also through proper financial instruments as loans, guarantees, risk capital which are managed by financial intermediaries (banks, risk capital funds, financial institutions).

    EN - Financial Instruments

    The main EU financial instruments are:

    Financial instruments defined in the Thematic Programs:

    • Financial Instruments in HORIZON 2020 to facilitate access to sources of debt and equity financing by innovative companies of all sizes, research centres and universities, public-private partnerships.
    • Financial Instruments in COSME managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) in cooperation with financial intermediaries in EU countries.
    • Progress Microfinance in EaSI addressed to micro-credit intermediaries in EU.

    Financial Instruments in the sphere of the Cohesion Policy with the aim to help mobilise additional public or private co-investments in order to address market failures in line with Europe 2020 and cohesion policy priorities


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