What to expect for 2021

2021-2027 long-term EU Budget

It is evident how the world has been negatively affected by the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has surprisingly hit our lives in this past year. Even though the recent start of vaccinations has given a glimpse of light for our future, we are still far from “ordinary life” and even more from experiencing the real outcomes of the crisis.

Needless to say, the European Union has been overwhelmed with responsibility in dealing with an unprecedented situation and has come up, after a troubled and long process, with the largest package ever financed through the EU Budget. On December 17th the EU faced the last step of the next long-term EU budget (2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework), approving a budget of €1.8 trillion, with €1.074 trillion under the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 and €750 billion under NexGenerationEU. The package will help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe in a greener, more digital, more resilient way, in order to address the most critical current challenges and it will exceptionally include an additional funding program, named “Next Generation EU”, a temporary instrument designed to boost the recovery from the crisis.

The EU’s long-term budget will address students, researchers, cities, businesses, regions and NGOs. It will contributes to healthier and safer food, new and better roads, railways and airports, a cleaner environment and better security at the EU’s external borders.

The budget will be allocated as follows: 30.9% will be devoted to the Common Agricultural Policy, while funds for economic, social and territorial cohesion make for 30.4%. Roughly half of the total amount that combines the long-term budget and NextGenerationEU, will be allocated to the following funding programs: Horizon Europe, which aims at supporting modernization through research and innovation; the Just Transition Fund and the Digital Europe program for fair climate and digital transitions; the Recovery and Resilience Facility, rescEU and a new health program aimed at boosting preparedness, recovery and resilience. Finally, 30% of the EU budget, under both the long-term budget and NextGenerationEU, will be spent to fight climate change, the highest share ever of the largest European budget ever. The package also pays specific attention to biodiversity protection and gender-related issues.

European Funds are issued by the European Commission in a direct or indirect way, depending on whether they are directly allocated to the beneficiary or managed by national and regional authorities of each Member State.

Indirect funds count for nearly 80% of the EU budget and are aimed at boosting local development. There are 5 big funds that come under the umbrella of the European Structural and Investment Funds:

The allocation of Direct Funding is managed by the European Institutions on a multi-annual financial framework basis. Grants are given to specific projects that relate to EU policies, following a public announcement known as a call for proposals. It is possible to apply for European Direct Funding for European citizens running a business or a related organization and want to implement projects in the interests of the EU, which contribute to the implementation of an EU program or policy. Contracts are issued by EU institutions to buy services, goods or works that they need for their operations – such as studies, training, conference organization or IT equipment. The main funding programs will be:

There are high expectations related to the approval of the new long-term budget, especially generated by the exceptional historical moment we are facing. It is important to boost the awareness of European citizens about the opportunities offered by European Union in terms of funding, in order to contribute to the recover from the crisis as well as to the achievement of the important goals set for the next future.