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European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in 2016

2014 2020

At the end of December 2015, the EU closed the negotiations on the new European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF 2014-2020) programmes with all 28 Member States. This marks the end of a process that last for more than 3 years of intense preparations. It also paves the way for more than 450 billion EUR to be injected in the EU economies by 2020.

Read below a brief guidance on what are and how the ESIF work. At the end, you can find examples of concrete opportunities that will soon be available in different EU countries. Or check this Schuman Associates infographic.

What are the EU Structural and Investment Funds and how do they work?

ESIF are the EU's largest funding instrument dedicated to creating economic growth and jobs in the EU countries. Here are some interesting facts about ESIF 2014-2020:

  • All EU countries are entitled to receive ESIF. Poland (85.9 billion EUR), Italy (42.7 billion EUR), Spain (37.4 billion EUR), Romania (30.8 billion EUR), but also Czech Republic (24.2 billion EUR) and Greece (20.3 billion EUR) are among the biggest recipients.
  • In order to use the funds, each country prepares and agrees with the EU a list of Operational Programmes detailing the sectors in which their allocated funds will be invested. There are more than 450 Operational Programmes approved by the EU across the 28 countries. These programmes are implemented on a multi-annual basis.
  • The most funding intensive sectors are R&D, environment & energy efficiency, transportation, education & employment, healthcare and agriculture.
  • The EU Member States and the European Commission are co-managers of ESIF, but the actual money is spent at national level. The countries are responsible for the implementation of the EU funded investments and for the selection of individual projects.
  • The disbursement of the funds takes place via calls for proposals to which eligible organizations (both public and private) respond by submitting project ideas.

For more information about ESIF 2014-2020, you can visit European Commission Regional Policy website.

What are the opportunities for 2016?

All EU countries will launch significant parts of their ESIF budgets in series of calls for proposals all throughout 2016. Here are some examples of such expected calls:


  • ICT call (software and hardware) worth 355 MEUR to be invested in the creation or development of public e-services as well as the development of internal services for administration necessary for the public e-services. Deadline: 31 March 2016.

Czech Republic:

  • Healthcare call (equipment, training) worth 148 MEUR for the follow-up care in the country. The call is expected to be activated in April 2016.


  • R&D call (equipment, training) worth 53 MEUR for private companies to create their internal R&D departments. The call is expected to be activated by April 2016.


  • Employment & education calls worth 50 MEUR to train employees, help unemployed to find a job, awareness raising campaigns. The calls are expected to be activated progressively in 2016.

You can access further information about the ESIF policy in the Member States here.

For all ESIF opportunities and calls for proposals, our team of experts in Brussels and at country level is ready to talk to you and guide you towards getting your EU project idea funded.

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