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Eligibility: who can get funding?

Common beneficiary profiles and the funding opportunities available to them.

Funding programmes

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. Funding opportunities are also available through programmes that will be implemented directly by Member States, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility or the Just Transition Fund. 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.

Young people

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.

Funding opportunities for young people


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.

The EU's principal funding programme for research is Horizon Europe, the successor of Horizon 2020. It supports research projects in numerous fields, carried out by organisations or individuals.

Funding programmes and open calls


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.

Funding opportunities for farmers


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.

Every year the EU supports more than 200,000 businesses. You may apply for a grant or participate in a procurement procedure 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.

Companies interested in a large industrial procurement contracts may be interested by the calls for tender launched under programmes such as ITER, Copernicus or Galileo.

Furthermore, a wide range of financing is available for companies: business loans, microfinance, guarantees and venture capital.

EU programmes are specifically supporting Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined as:


  • fewer than 10 employees
  • an annual turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €2 million

Small enterprise

  • fewer than 50 employees
  • an annual turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €10 million

Medium-sized enterprise

  • fewer than 250 employees
  • an annual turnover that does not exceed €50 million, or an annual balance sheet not exceeding €43 million

Note: 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:

User guide to the SME Definition

Funding opportunities for small businesses

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.

Funding opportunities for public bodies


Non-governmental and civil society, non-profit organisations are eligible for EU funding where their areas of activity relate to EU policies.

Funding opportunities for NGOs


Accession to the European Union

The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) invests in the future of EU candidate countries and the EU itself by supporting reform in areas linked to the enlargement strategy, such as democracy and governance, the rule of law, growth and competitiveness.

Farmers in candidate countries are helped through a specific Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development (IPARD), which is part of IPA II.

Economic crisis

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) supports people who lose their jobs as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns (globalisation) — e.g. when a large company shuts down or production is moved outside the EU — or of the global economic and financial crisis.

The EGF can co-finance projects that help people find a job, provide career advice, education, training and re-training, mentoring or coaching, or promote entrepreneurship and business start‐ups. The EGF does not co‐finance social protection measures such as pensions or unemployment benefit.

Only EU countries can apply to the EGF. Individuals, representative organisations or employers affected by redundancies and wishing to ensure that redundant workers benefit from EGF support should get in touch with the EGF contact person for their country.