What are major projects?
Major projects are generally large-scale infrastructure projects in transport, environment and other sectors such as culture, education, energy or ICT. They also concern big productive investments and research & development projects.
Major projects benefit from financial support of the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund. They cost more than €50 million and therefore are subject to an appraisal and a specific decision by the European Commission.
Major projects in detail
‘Major Projects’ are usually large-scale infrastructure projects in transport, environment and other sectors such as research, energy or ICT. They also involve large productive investments that in the next period will be possible only under thematic objective 1. Financial instruments are not considered major projects.
Major Projects benefit from financial support from the European Regional Development Fund and/or the Cohesion Fund. Their eligible cost must be more than € 75 million for projects under thematic objective 7 ("Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructure") and more than € 50 million in other thematic objectives and therefore are subject to the quality appraisal by the European Commission.
What is the application process?
Member States apply to the European Commission for financial support for a proposed project included in an operational programme. Their application must include information about:
- details concerning the body to be responsible for implementation of the major project, and its capacity;
- a description of the investment and its location;
- the total cost and total eligible cost;
- feasibility studies carried out, including the options analysis, and the results;
- a cost-benefit analysis (CBA Guide), including an economic and a financial analysis, and a risk assessment;
- an analysis of the environmental impact, taking into account climate change adaptation and mitigation needs, and disaster resilience;
- an explanation as to how the major project is consistent with the relevant priority axes of the operational programme concerned, and its expected contribution to achieving the specific objectives of those priority axes and the expected contribution to socio- economic development;
- the financing plan showing the total planned financial resources and the planned support from the Funds, the EIB, and all other sources of financing, together with physical and financial indicators for monitoring progress, taking account of the identified risks;
- the timetable for implementing the major project
Member States can choose between two procedures for submitting a Major Project to the Commission:
- via independent experts: when the project is positively reviewed by an independent quality review, the Member States can notify the project to the Commission. The Commission carries out a quality check within three months, based on the quality review report;
- directly to the Commission: it shall appraise the project on the basis of the application form in order to determine whether the requested financial contribution is justified. The Commission can interrupt the process of appraisal and request additional information from the MA.
Technical assistance for the preparation of major projects is available for new Member States via JASPERS.
Further information 2014-2020:
- European Parliament and European Council Regulation No 1303/2013 of 17 December 2013. Provisions relating to Major Projects can be found under Articles 100-103.
Further information 2007-2013:
Examples of major projects that have received funding are available via our database (see search fields below). More comprehensive information is available from the national and regional websites that provide details about the beneficiaries of EU regional funding.