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The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the programming period 2021-2027 has been voted on. It defines the budget allocated to the various actions that the European Union will carry out over this period. This budget will then be distributed, according to the priorities defined by the European institutions, across the different funds and instruments.

European Union Priorities

To give direction to the projects that the EU will finance, strategies are developed by the institutions. The official priorities of the EU are then chosen for a 5-year period.

For the period 2019-2024, the 6 main priorities of the EU are:

– A European Green Deal
– A Europe fit for the digital age
– An economy that works for people
– A stronger Europe in the world
– Promoting our European way of life
– A new push for European democracy

Types of Projects that European Funds Can Finance

Research project, infrastructure project, service project, humanitarian project, … there is a plurality of actions that the EU can finance. It does so through its various funds covering different areas by themes. However, all co-financed projects must fall within the priorities and European values that have been set.

Territorial Development Projects (Cohesion Policy)

To develop its territory, the EU has set up structural funds to reduce territorial development inequalities between the regions of the Member States.

– ERDF: this fund is open to many beneficiaries and themes such as innovation, SME competitiveness, or the transition to a decarbonized economy.
– EAFRD: it finances projects that enable rural development to improve the competitiveness of agriculture, taking into account issues of sustainable resource management and combating climate change.
– EMFF: it finances projects for sustainable, innovative, and competitive fishing and aquaculture.
– JTF: to counter the economic and social consequences that the ecological transition can bring to certain territories, the JTF operates a support action for industrial economies to modernize them, particularly on digital themes, energy technologies, rehabilitation of industrial sites, or worker training.
– CEF: this fund finances the areas of transport, energy, and digital to make Europe more connected.

Environmental and Biodiversity Protection Projects

Several funds can support this theme:

– LIFE: it is the only fund entirely dedicated to the realization of the European Green Deal, covering various themes such as nature, biodiversity, the circular economy, climate change mitigation, and the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy.
– ERDF: the ERDF can also co-finance projects related to the environment, such as projects to strengthen green or blue infrastructure.
– EAFRD: it finances agricultural development projects for sustainable rural development.

Cultural and Touristic Projects

– Creative Europe: it finances projects in the fields of information and communication but also culture and European languages.
– ERDF: projects supporting tourism businesses or co-financing tourist infrastructures.

Projects Promoting EU Values

– CERV (Citizenship, Equality, Rights and Values): this fund co-finances projects on the protection and promotion of rights and values carried by the EU.
– Social dimension projects: support for integration, assistance for vulnerable or fragile groups
– ESF+: with national and regional actions, the ESF+ aims to help people find jobs, improve job quality, especially for vulnerable groups or those far from the job market.
– AMIF: this fund aims to strengthen the common European asylum system, support legal migration, promote fair and effective return strategies, and share responsibility among Member States.

Health-related Projects

– EU4Health: a European program to develop projects for prevention, medical research, and health-related means.
– ERDF: part of the ERDF can also finance health-related projects, such as the creation or rehabilitation of health facilities.
– ESF+: the ESF+ can co-finance projects, particularly those promoting access to medicine.

Research Projects

– Horizon Europe: it co-finances collaborative projects. Project holders form consortia on projects covering various fields. It can also be scholarships for researchers.
– ERDF: it can finance doctoral scholarships.
– EU4Health: it can finance research projects in the health field.

Projects Related to Education and Knowledge Dissemination

– Erasmus+: in the field of education, training, youth, and sport, Erasmus+ is the fund that finances collaborative projects between universities, student mobility, the creation of common study programs, or staff mobility.
– ESF+: it can finance projects aimed at the inclusion of marginalized, weakened populations or those far from employment.

Economic Development

– CEF: focusing on the areas of transport, energy, and digital, this mechanism contributes to European economic development by increasing cooperation in these sectors.
– COSME: this program aims to facilitate the transition to an economy enhancing competitiveness, helping SMEs in their growth to strengthen economic cohesion.

Digital-related Projects

– Digital Europe: it aims to provide solutions to digital transition issues. It can finance projects in the fields of AI, infrastructure connectivity, cybersecurity, or data management.
– ERDF: projects aimed

at supporting smart and digital territory strategies can obtain ERDF funding.
– ESF+: the ESF+ can finance training actions on new digital tools.

Cooperation Projects

– NDICI – Global Europe: this fund finances actions outside the Member States, particularly in the fields of education and human development, climate change, digital tool development, sustainable growth including job creation, or the promotion of European values and the rule of law.

Thus, there are many areas that the European Union can finance with different funds and financial instruments. Each fund has its particularity, and it is therefore important to know its nature and the actions that can be co-financed.


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