Written by Vasilis Margaras,
Finding the appropriate funding sources for a local authority, a public entity, a company or a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) can be a major problem. Information is scattered across many different sources and is often confusing and outdated.
The EPRS ‘Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020’ is a basic introduction to EU funding opportunities for regional and local authorities, NGOs, businesses, professionals and citizens. The objective is to provide an accessible list of the most important EU funds, and to provide potential beneficiaries with appropriate information on the opportunities the funding offers.
The guide’s main funding themes are divided in subsections to facilitate research. A number of hyperlinks are included in the text, giving easy access to the source of funding information. NGOs usually receive funding from a number of programmes, such as the European Social Fund, Creative Europe, Europe for Citizens, Horizon 2020, Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the Connecting Europe Facility Programme. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) may be able to secure funding from EU programmes such as COSME, Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon 2020, Regional and Agricultural Policy funds, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The guide, however, also points to funding opportunities to be found in other areas. Possibilities also exist for funding through a combination of different financial resources – much depends on the nature of the project submitted, its scope and priorities.
Applying for EU funds can be a bureaucratic and difficult process, which may require specialist advice. It requires considerable effort, resources and advanced planning. For instance, the application form needs to correspond to the main priorities of the funding call and to underline clearly its planned actions in great detail. Due to the high level of competition for funding, potential beneficiaries also need to prove that their submitted projects have an added value. Even if successful, it may take time for the competent authorities to disburse allocated funding for a project. This often implies that beneficiaries may need to spend part of their own resources to run the submitted projects in their initial stage. Furthermore, as EU funding is subject to various audits, it is important to follow the rules carefully and to respect the amounts stated in the funding bid proposed.
A list of major potential beneficiaries is mentioned at the end of each section of the guide to help the reader, but the list is not exhaustive. As new funding elements emerge on a continuous basis, the guide will be updated regularly.