EU Programmes

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EU Programmes with link to social innovation

The European Commission deploys programmes in achieving its political priorities. While the EU can have legislative powers in certain areas such as the internal market, some of the policy priorities cannot achieved without the involvement of external stakeholders. To reach this end, the European Commission has a set of thematic programmes that aim to contribute to the political goals set by the EU.

The programmes are aimed at all types of societal actors, thus benefitting a wide range of stakeholders. Each programme has however its own beneficiaries.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.

It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

It creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area.

Legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate.


New elements in Horizon Europe

European Innovation Council: Support for innovations with potential breakthrough and disruptive nature with scale-up potential that may be too risky for private investors. This is 70% of the budget earmarked for SMEs.

Missions: Sets of measures to achieve bold, inspirational and measurable goals within a set timeframe. There are 5 main mission areas as part of Horizon Europe.

Open science policy: Mandatory open access to publications and open science principles are applied throughout the programme Factsheet: Open science in Horizon Europe

New approach to partnerships: Objective-driven and more ambitious partnerships with industry in support of EU policy objectives.

How the Horizon Europe programme was developed

International cooperation in the programme

Creative Europe
The creative Europe programme intends to back strategic, dynamic and interactive processes implemented by cultural and creative organisations. In doing so, it aims to make culture widely accessible and engage people through various means such as co-creation, partnerships, volunteering or digital tools. The programme also supports innovative business models relying on digital technologies, which contribute to empowering artists, including approaches such as ‘do-it-yourself’ and ‘direct-to-fan’.

In general terms, the programme underlines the importance of policy dialogue and networking in the field of cultural and media literacy. It also aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors, the cross-border circulation of culture and the adaptation of the sector to the digital shift.

In this perspective, and with a view to promoting innovation (including with social innovation), the programme supports the mobility of artists, works of art and films, transnational exchanges of experience and know-how about new business models, peer-learning activities or testing of new and cross-sectoral business approaches to funding.

Europe for citizens
The Europe for Citizens Programme adopted for the period 2014-2020 is an important instrument aimed at getting the Union’s 500 million inhabitants to play a greater part in the development of the Union. By funding schemes and activities in which citizens can participate, the Programme is promoting Europe’s shared history and values and fostering a sense of ownership for how the Union develops.

The Programme is implemented through two strands: the second strand (closer to social innovation) encourages democratic and civic participation of citizens at Union level. In this regard, the programme has a strong emphasis in promoting societal engagement and solidarity in the light of having European citizens execute their rights and responsibilities towards themes of common interest through gathering of opinions such as debates/campaigns/actions as well as volunteering activities promoting solidarity among the Union’s citizens and beyond.

Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme
The Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme promotes and protects specific rights and freedoms of persons deriving from EU law. In this regard, it combats all forms of discrimination and fights racism. The new proogramme also continues to provide funding for Roma inclusion. In essence, the programme helps EU citizens and consumers to exercise their rights, such as those deriving from the citizenship of the Union, from the consumer acquis or from the data protection legislation. The promotion of children’s rights and fighting violence against women, young people and children will also be funded by this programme.

Overall, the programme finances actions with a European added value, including national and small-scale projects. Actions that can be supported include awareness-raising campaigns, training activities (such as workshops and seminars), collection of data, surveys and cross-border cooperation.