How a European grant works: conditions, criteria, procedures and steps
Company, start-up, association, NGO, farmer, you have an innovative project and wish to obtain European funding? Do you have questions about what a European grant is, the conditions for applying for this financial aid and how to finance your project? To clarify the subject for you, our team of experts with 20 years of experience in European Union (EU) project funding explains.
A grant is a “direct financial contribution, by way of donation or payment of a non-commercial nature to a specified beneficiary“. It finances actions in line with the objectives defined in the European funding programmes of EU policies. Grants cover the costs actually incurred by the beneficiaries for the implementation of the activities concerned. The results of the project remain the property of the beneficiaries.
Two forms of grants exist:
The grant is used to reimburse the operations carried out. Once the project has been selected, a financing agreement is signed between the beneficiary and the authority responsible for managing the fund (European Commission, national or regional authority). This signature conditions the payment of a pre-financing of the project amount. The balance is only reimbursed once the project has been completed, and the accounts must be sent to the responsible authority and evaluated a few months after the end of the project (often between 6 and 12 months after the application).
Your organisation’s cash flow guarantees must be able to support the implementation of the project. Obtaining other funding (public and/or private) is highly recommended, and in some cases essential.
In the case of grants, co-financing will depend on the type of funding programme applied for. For intra-EU programmes (Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, LIFE, European Interconnection Mechanism – EIM), the EU generally only offers co-financing, up to 50 or 60% of the total budget (sometimes 95%). For the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESF) such as the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), the ESF+ (European Social Fund Plus), or the EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development), the co-financing rate is between 40% and 85%, depending on the EU region concerned.
In order to apply for grants and subsidies under the 2021-2027 programming period, it is necessary to meet the eligibility conditions. They vary according to the type of funding requested. For your grant application, the procedures and steps to follow are:
To apply for an EU grant, you need to contact the regional or national authorities. For example, for EAFRD, you should contact your country’s Ministry of Agriculture. Funding for maritime affairs and fisheries under the European Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMAF), on the other hand, is managed by a National Contact Point (NCP).
Several search engines are also available, such as the European Commission’s, to enable you to find the relevant actors for funding to address regional policy development issues.
EU funding for your project brings real added value to your project and increases its visibility. The process of obtaining these grants can be complex and discouraging at first sight if the project has been poorly prepared. Applications to calls for proposals for funding must be carefully prepared. Welcomeurope assists project leaders at all stages (project approach, construction and consolidation of your application, submission, post-submission project monitoring, supervision of project implementation, etc.).
Do not hesitate to contact us for assistance with European funding and project management.
Find the calls for projects of the different European programmes on our EUROFUNDING database.