An operator searching for EU support might feel lost when facing the many possibilities leading to EU funding. Depending on the field of activities (energy, environment, ICT…), the nature of the operator (SME, university, NGO…) and its internal capacity to deal with EU funding programmes requirements (administrative issues, philosophy of a policy…), some paths appear as relevant and others should be left behind. In that context, every situation is specific and should be examined as a unique case. Nevertheless, the first step to reduce the complexity is to make the distinction between non repayable supports (grants) and repayable supports (financial instruments) in the EU funding labyrinth.

European Commission defines grants as a direct financial contribution in support of projects or organisations which further the interests of the EU or contribute to the implementation of an EU programme or policy. Interested parties can apply by responding to calls for proposals. Grants must be seen as:

  • Suitable for investments involving infrastructures and early R&D activities
  • Non repayable by the beneficiary
  • A way to trigger innovation in a sector

Financial instruments facilitate access to finance through the use of repayable instruments such as loans, guarantees and equity. Each encompass instruments that differ in their target market, the terms on which they are operated and the mechanisms by which they are governed. Financial instruments must be seen as:

  • Sustainable because the support is repaid (relieving the public budget)
  • Efficient because they may attract private finance
  • Able to enhance the quality of the investment because of the due diligence
  • More flexible in terms of eligibility criteria

For more information on the EU Funding Instruments and opportunities don’t hesitate to contact our team experts via email