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Oct 30, 2014

For NGOs

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If you represent an NGO whose activity complies with the aims of EU policy towards the Eastern neighbourhood you may try to receive a grant from the EU. The EU awards grants as donations to third parties that are engaged in external aid activities to implement projects or activities that relate to the EU’s external aid programmes. There are two types of grants:

  • Grants for actions are the most common form of grantsawarded by the EU. They aim to achieve an objective that forms part of an external aid programme.
  • Operating grants are awarded rarely. They finance the operating expenditures of an EU body that is pursuing an aim of general European interest or an objective that forms part of an EU policy.

Grants for actions are based on the reimbursement of the costs incurred by the beneficiaries which are necessary for carrying out the given project. The results of the action remain the property of the beneficiaries. As a general rule they require co-financing by the grant beneficiary. Since grants cover a very diverse range of fields, the specific conditions that need to be fulfilled are determined in specific calls for proposals.

There is a number of EU programmes or financial envelopes in the framework of which the EU awards grants to NGOs. The most relevant programmes for NGOs are:

  • European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument
  • European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights
  • Investing in People
  • Migration and Asylum
  • Non-state actors and local authorities in development

Every year the European Commission publishes Annual Action Programmes and Annual Work Programmes for Grants, in which it states priorities for actions, and an indicative amount for grants to be awarded within the frameworks of the above mentioned programmes. Click here to see what are the EU’s goals for this or next year, and whether your organisation could help achieve them.

To see current and forecast calls for proposals, follow EU commission website, or this link to our website where we update calls for proposals and procurement notices related to EU activities in the Eastern neighbourhood on a weekly basis.


Your NGO may be also interested in applying for a contract. In contrast to grants, in the case of  contracts, the EU receives the product or service in return for payment. Although most of contracts are awarded to business organisations, some are also available to NGOs. Perhaps the most relevant form of a contract for an NGO, would be a contract for a service in form of a technical assistance, studies, provision of know-how or  training. To see open and forecast procurement notices click here

To lear more about tendering procedures, consult the 'Practical Guide to Contract procedures for EU external actions'.