All European citizens and many in other parts of the world benefit directly or indirectly from the EU budget. It helps millions of students, thousands of researchers and many cities, regions and non-profit organisations.
All EU citizens can apply for EU funding. The EU has several different funding programmes that you may be able to apply for, depending on the nature of your business or project. Before applying for funding, always consult the call guidelines to see if you are eligible.
Specific criteria are set out in each funding programme and individual call. For grants, if your proposal is admissible and eligible, the selection process usually starts with independent experts that will evaluate your proposal and score it against selection and award criteria.
Below you can find a selection of the most common beneficiary profiles that apply for EU funding.
The EU budget includes specific programmes to support young people to gain work experience or study abroad. There are also programmes targeting unemployment among young people.
Generally speaking, these programmes are open to
- young people (age 13-31)
- youth organisations
- other stakeholders working with young people
More detailed criteria can be found in the individual funding calls.
Research and innovation are so important to the EU's long-term strategy that special programmes and other sources of support are available for researchers across Europe.
As a farmer or land manager, it is likely that you will be eligible to receive direct payments under the common agricultural policy.
To qualify for funding, you must comply with certain requirements in the areas of public, animal and plant health, environment and animal welfare. Funding is channelled through the relevant national authorities in your country.
EU funding is available for any size of enterprise in any sector including entrepreneurs, start-ups, micro companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, and larger businesses.
You may apply for a grant if you run a business or a related organisation (business associations, business support providers, consultants, etc.) that runs projects that further the interests of the EU, or if you contribute to the implementation of an EU programme or policy. Furthermore, a wide range of financing is available for companies: business loans, microfinance, guarantees and venture capital.
Every year the EU supports more than 200,000 businesses. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for grants, loans and guarantees. They can also bid for procurement contracts to provide goods and services (see large industrial procurement contracts under programmes such as ITER, Copernicus, Galileo).
SMEs are defined as:
- fewer than 10 employees
- an annual turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €2 million
- fewer than 50 employees
- an annual turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €10 million
- fewer than 250 employees
- an annual turnover that does not exceed €50 million, or an annual balance sheet not exceeding €43 million
These figures apply to individual companies only. A small company might not qualify for SME status if it has significant additional resources because it is part of a larger group.
For further details on SME eligibility criteria, consult the:
Public bodies: cities and regions
Public bodies - whether local, regional or national - can benefit from many EU funding opportunities, including investments to support the development of institutional capacity and efficiency, and local infrastructure projects.
Non-governmental and civil society, non-profit organisations are eligible for EU funding where their areas of activity relate to EU policies.