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European Union funding, grants and subsidies

What types of funding are available?

The EU provides funding for a range of projects and programmes. It applies strict rules, for tight control over how funds are used and to ensure money is spent in a transparent, accountable manner.

EU funding comes in many different forms:

  • grants – typically, people apply for grants by submitting ideas for projects following a ‘call for proposals’
  • subsidies managed by national or regional authorities
  • loans, guarantees and equity as forms of financial assistance to support EU policies and programmes
  • loans to EU Member States and non-EU countries
  • prizes for winners of Horizon Europe contests.

Management of EU funding

Programmes funded by the EU budget can be managed in three different ways:

  • direct management: EU funding is managed directly by the European Commission
  • shared management: the European Commission and national authorities jointly manage the funding
  • indirect management: funding is managed by partner organisations or other authorities inside or outside the EU

Direct management

Direct management of EU funding means that the European Commission is directly responsible for all steps in a programme's implementation. The Commission:

  • launches the calls for proposals
  • evaluates submitted proposals
  • signs grant agreements
  • monitors project implementation
  • assesses the results
  • makes payments

You can apply for this type of funding by answering calls for proposals.

See calls for proposals under direct management on the funding and tenders portal (SEDIA).

There are special arrangements for funds under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which seek to support the green and digital transformation of EU countries following the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the NextGenerationEU recovery instrument. EU governments prepare national recovery and resilience plans in consultation with the European Commission, and receive payments once they have met the targets outlined in the plan. 

Shared management

Shared management of EU funding means that responsibility for running a given programme is shared jointly between the European Commission and national authorities in EU countries. Around 70% of EU programmes are run this way.

National, regional and local administrations in EU countries choose which projects to finance and are responsible for their day-to-day management. The Commission works together with the EU countries to make sure projects are successfully completed, and the money is well spent.

Cohesion policy and agriculture are the main areas where shared management is used – chiefly through the following funds:

National websites (‘single portals’) for shared management funds

Regional and national funding authorities

Indirect management

Indirect management of EU funding means that the funding programmes are partly or fully implemented by third parties, such as national authorities or international organisations. Funding takes the form of subsidies, which you apply for at national level.

Most of the EU budget for humanitarian aid and international development is implemented under indirect management.

Indirect management programmes account for around 10% of the overall EU budget.

For information on where to apply for this kind of funding, see Application process – indirect management