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Frequently asked questions

1. I have a project. How can I get EU funding to carry it out?

Check the Beginner´s Guide to EU funding. It offers basic information on funding opportunities.
In case you are looking for a grant in a specific area, see Getting a grant. Relevant areas include culture, education, farming, rural development, research and the environment.

Related information
How EU funding works
European Commission grants

2. How can I find out who gets EU grants and how much is paid out?

Check the EU's financial transparency system, which lists recipients of EU funding managed by the European Commission (about 20 % of the EU budget).

Related information
EU budget management
EU contractors & beneficiaries of funding from the EU budget

3. What does my country contribute to the EU budget? What does it get back?

Check EU expenditure and revenue. In 2014, fewer than half of national governments paid more into the EU budget than they received. But this doesn't reflect all the financial benefits that EU countries get from EU membership. For instance, access to the single market generates major returns to individual countries that far exceed national contributions to the EU.

4. What does your country contribute?

  • A standard percentage (around 0.7 %) of its gross national income (GNI)
  • A percentage (around 0.3%) of its standardised value added tax (VAT) base
  • On behalf of the EU, your country also collects customs duties on imports from outside the EU and sugar levies ('traditional own resources').

Related information
EU budget in my country
Financial report for 2014


5. How much do I have to pay the EU?

There is no direct EU tax. As an individual EU citizen, you don't contribute directly to EU finances.

Related information
EU Budget: myths and facts
Where does the money come from?

6. Where does the money go?

There are 6 broad types of expenditure ('headings' and ´subheadings´), divided up into some 45 programmes. Each year, the Council and the European Parliament agree on the maximum amounts that can be spent. About 94% of the EU budget funds programmes and projects in EU countries and beyond, benefiting scientists, farmers, students, small businesses and many others. For examples, see the EU budget in my country.

Related information
Multiannual Financial Framework: structure & content
EU budget programmes

7. How much goes on administration?

Administrative costs account for just 6% of the budget, with EU civil servants' salaries accounting for under 3%. This share has remained stable for some years and steps have been taken to keep costs down. Commission is committed to 1% staff cuts annually (5% in total over 5 years) and decided to apply longer working hours.

Related information
EU budget for 2015: documents & figures
EU budget: myths & facts

8. Is the Commission politically accountable for its management of the EU budget?

Yes, to the European Parliament and to the Council. It is the Parliament which votes on whether to approve the EU accounts. Where necessary, the Parliament calls for improvements in budget management. The European Court of Auditors – the EU's external audit body – examines the EU's accounts each year. Every year since 2007, the Court has confirmed that the accounts have not been tampered with and that they correctly reflect how the EU budget was spent. The auditors also check whether payments have been made on time and according to the rules. They also reserve their approval for cases where the error rate is 2% or lower.

Related information
What is budget discharge?
EU budget: myths & facts

9. Who is in charge of spending the money?

The Commission is not the only organisation that manages EU spending. Most payments from the EU budget to beneficiaries are made by authorities in EU countries on the Commission's behalf. A smaller amount is spent under the sole management of the Commission. Some expenditure is managed by non-EU countries and international organisations.

Related information
Who manages the EU budget?

10. How is the EU budget decided?

The decision-making procedure is similar to those of most national governments:

  • The Commission proposes the annual budget.
  • The Council (representing EU governments) and the European Parliament examine the proposal and negotiate the budget. The final figures are agreed by all Member States by consensus and the amounts of resources ratified by all national parliaments.

The EU budget is therefore adopted by European citizens' elected representatives in the Council and the European Parliament.

Related information
How is the EU budget decided?
EU budget: myths & facts

11. What is the EU doing to ensure future budgets don't explode and are focused on real priorities?

The multiannual financial framework provides for long-term financial planning. The current one runs from 2014 to 2020, for a total of 908 bn (in 2011 prices). For each budget, maximum amounts (ceilings) are set for spending on each broad area (heading). These frameworks are proposed by the Commission. A framework is legally binding – following approval by the European Parliament, the Council (Member States representatives) adopts it as an EU regulation.


More information
Multiannual financial framework explained

12. Where can I find figures on past budgets?

What? Where?

Figures on EU revenue & expenditure dating back to 2000

EU expenditure & revenue (2007-2013); Detailed data 2000-2008 (annexed to the 2008 Financial Report)

Budgets since 2003

The Budget online

Official documents on budgets adopted from 1998 on

The relevant issues of the Official Journal in the EUR-Lex database

Pre-1998 documents

EU Publications Office

Related information

The European Court of Auditors' annual reports on budget implementation

About the EU Budget: key information, documents & figures

EU Budget website