European Funding Programs
The EU has developed many funding programs over the years on several topics (SMEs, Education, R&I, …) and organizations, on the basis of their needs, can apply for these funding opportunities. These programs follow the EU policies directives and objectives and, are enclosed in the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, known also just as MFF. The MFF reflects the EU’s political priorities and sets the annual maximum ceilings that the EU can spend in various strategic sectors called headings. As a matter of fact, on the basis of this instrument, bodies and individuals are able to understand the objectives and strategies that the EU has set for itself. The MFF, which is proposed by the European Commission and discussed by the Council and Parliament, is a very useful planning tool and it is designed also as a guarantee for potential beneficiaries of EU funding, for the co-financing authorities and for the national Treasures. This framework currently has a duration of 7 years and its objective is, indeed, to fix the spending ceilings for each category of expenditure for each of the 7 years considered. It should be understood as a framework for financial planning. The EU’s annual budget for a specific year is set by the Commission, Council and Parliament in the previous year. During each budgetary procedure and when implementing the budget for the year concerned, the 3 institutions shall comply with the annual expenditure ceilings set out in the MFF.
Have a glance at the main important programs offered by the EU such as the Erasmus +, COSME, LIFE and Creative Europe.
First, the Erasmus+ is a program supporting the fields of education and training, sport and youth. The program has the aim of reducing unemployment among young people, promote learning for adults and encourage young people to participate in European democracy throughout cooperation and mobility between the EU countries. The budget for the new edition 2021-2027 has triplicated and is over 30 billion. Moreover, the next programme will provide learning and mobility opportunities to 12 million people, the next programme will be substantially strengthened, extended and more inclusive as well. It will further promote activities which foster knowledge and awareness of the EU, opportunities in forward-looking knowledge fields e.g. climate change, robotics etc. and better outreach and inclusion of people with fewer opportunities.
Secondly, COSME is a program that promotes competitiveness among small and medium-sized enterprises with regard to their specific needs. EU offers 2.3 billion Euros to achieve 4 specified goals such as: help SMEs to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle (creation, expansion, or business transfer); support businesses to access markets in the EU and beyond; improve business conditions by reducing the administrative and regulatory burden on SMEs and to support entrepreneurs by strengthening entrepreneurship education and other support services. The budget offered by the program is divided in two financial instruments and call for grants and tenders. Exclusively financial instruments are managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) in cooperation with financial intermediaries in the EU countries, they facilitates access to loans and equity finance for SMEs where market gaps have been identified. Moreover, under COSME’s funding, with the aim of supporting entrepreneurs, European Commission offers the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, an interesting cross-border programme to facilitate the exchange and management experiences, which helps to create job and to transfer ideas, network, knowledge and cooperation between small firms.
The others two most interesting programs are Life and Creative Europe. Life is a UE funding tool for the environment and climate; it is a program with the definite purpose to support the implementation and development of the EU environmental and climate policy. The estimated budget is over 3,45 billions of Euro and at the beginning of April 2019 the new calls for proposals were published. Lastly, the Creative Europe program aims to support the European audiovisual, cultural and creative sector to reach new audiences and to develop the skills needed in the digital age. It covers a diverse range of schemes such as Cooperation projects, Literary Translation and Networks or Platforms. For further information you can check out our article published on the topic.