Guide to EU funding

Funds from the European Union are great opportunities in order to extend the financial options for organizations throughout Europe. The EU offers financial resources to different type of actors (public authorities, non-profit organization, etc.) on different levels. The type of fundings available is the followings:

  • Grants

  • Loans, guarantees and equity

  • Subsidies

  • Prizes

For further information of each opportunity please visit this site.

EU funding sources can be managed directly by the European Commission alone or jointly by national and regional authorities, inside or outside the EU, depending on the nature of the funding concerned.


EU funds directly implemented by the Commission


In case of the programmes operated by the European Commission, there are no national quotas, actors from the different Member States and further eligible countries can withdraw as much resources in the form of non-refundable grants, as they can successfully apply to. Most of the programmes are available for the Balkan countries as well. For further information, please read the programme guides linked below.

Financial support coming directly from the European Union can be awarded in a wide range of activity fields. The concerned thematic programmes are the followings:

The main joint features of these programmes that they require a European wide partnership with 3-8 partners from different parts of the EU. In addition, there are several financial constructions for implementing a project with different co-financing rates (50-100%) and requirements for pre-financing by the partners which supposes financially stable and liquid project partners. However in several less developed member states there are national initiatives for enhancing the involvement of local actors by offering information on the programmes and call for proposals and financial support from national resources.


EU funds jointly implemented by the Commission and national authorities


The European Union provide over 2/3 of its financial resources through the European Structural and Investment Fund, containing the following 5 funds:

The wide range of programmes financed from the funds is managed by national authorities based on the Partnership agreements and the related operation programmes, which are the detailed plans of the Members States on how the EU funding will be spent in the given programming period. These programmes could cover the whole country or specific regions, even cross-border or transnational territories within the European Territorial Cooperation goal.


European Territorial Cooperation (ETC), better known as INTERREG

European Territorial Cooperation is one of the two objectives of the cohesion policy. Its main objective is to strengthen the European Union's economic, social and territorial cohesion by providing the necessary framework for the national, regional and local actors from different Member States, to realise their joint initiatives. ETC or INTERREG programmes support the cooperation of stakeholders on three levels: the ‘INTERREG A’ has a cross-border approach, ‘INTERREG B’ is transnational, while ‘INTERREG C’ supports interregional initiatives. In addition, INTERREG also supports cooperation along external EU borders in the form of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), supporting cross-border cooperation between candidate countries, potential candidate countries and EU Member States; and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) enhancing joint action along the external borders.

INTERREG A, IPA and ENI CBC programmes are the most relevant funding instrument for cross-border projects along the internal and external borders of the European Union. However national (’mainstream’ and INTERREG B and C programmes could be also used in a manner to ground or support cross-border developments. For further information on cross-border project management, please read our e-learning module on ‘Cross-border planning and project management.


Funding for SMEs

Beside the grants offered by the EU within the framework of the various programmes mentioned below, it is important to note that refundable forms of grants are also available mainly for SMEs. The European Investment Fund has created programmes for small and medium enterprises to improve their access to finance through a wide range of selected financial intermediaries. To read more about loans, guarantees and equity, please click here.







Project Partners




The project is supported by

Part-financed by the European Union and the City of Vienna