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General rules

Financial rules

As with all Community grants, financial contributions awarded under the Europe for Citizens Programme are subject to some rules deriving from the Financial Regulations applicable to the General Budget of the European Union, such as the General Terms and Conditions of the European Commission. Their application is compulsory.

Specific or more detailed information can be found, if applicable, under each action .

Legal entity

Grants will only be awarded to organisations with a legal personality.

Type of grants

The Europe for Citizens Programme supports two types of grants:

  • grants for projects (for example, to support a project initiated by civil society organisations under action 2.3);
  • grants for the operating budget of a body promoting active European citizenship (for example, to support an NGO under Action 2.2).

Grant amount

It should be noted that the amount granted by the contract/decision is to be considered as a maximum which cannot be increased in any circumstances.
However, the final amount is only granted after analysis of the final report and can be reduced on inspection of the actual implementation of the project (for example, the final grants based on fixed amounts are calculated on the basis of the actual number of participants and not on the foreseen number of participants).


Grants awarded must not have the purpose or the effect of producing a profit for the beneficiary. In practical terms this means that:
if the total receipts of a project are higher than the final total costs of the project, the Community grant will be reduced accordingly after the analysis of the final report. However, grants calculated on the basis of flat-rate amounts and scales of unit costs are not affected by this rule.
a surplus balance on the operating budget of a body in receipt of an operating grant is not allowed.
Existence of a profit may bring about recovery of amounts previously paid.


The grant cannot finance the entire costs of the project. Promoters must show their commitment to the project by finding financing sources other than the Community grant. This can be done, for example, by running fund-raising activities, by adding own resources, or by requesting grants from other organisations (e.g.  local or regional authorities, foundations, etc.). Proof of cofinancing must be included in the final report. Grants calculated on the basis of flat-rate amounts and scales of unit costs are not affected by this rule.

Voluntary work and other in-kind contributions are often important elements in projects initiated by organisations active in the field of this Programme. The applicants are invited to provide information on all in-kind contributions in the grant applications, because they are important elements to be taken into account in the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the applications. However, in view of simplicity the value of such contributions is not to be formally included as eligible expenditure in the project budget.

No double-financing

Each individual project is entitled to receive one, and only one, grant from the Community budget for the same activity. A beneficiary may be awarded only one operating grant per financial year.

Projects or organisations which have applied or plan to apply for another Community grant under the Europe for Citizens Programme or under any other programme of the European institutions should indicate it clearly in their application and must inform the EACEA of the outcome of their parallel application. Projects which finally receive another Community grant are deemed ineligible.

For certain actions and measures, stricter rules may be applied, which are described under the relevant section of this Programme Guide.


The EACEA may require any organisation which has been awarded a grant to provide a guarantee first, in order to limit the financial risks linked to the prefinancing payment.
The purpose of this guarantee is to make a bank or a financial institution, third party or the other beneficiaries stand as irrevocable collateral security for, or first-call guarantor of, the grant beneficiary’s obligations.

This financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the Member States of the European Union.

The guarantee may be replaced by a joint and several guarantee by a third party or by a joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of an action who are parties to the same grant agreement/decision.

The guarantee shall be released as the pre-financing is gradually cleared against interim payments or payments of balances to the beneficiary, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement/decision.

This requirement does not apply to public bodies.


No grant may be awarded retrospectively for projects already completed.

A grant may be awarded for a project which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate the need to start the project before the agreement/decision has been signed. In such cases, expenditure eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

Starting the project before signing the agreement/decision is done at the risk of the organisation and does not make it more likely a grant will be awarded.

Other rules

Grant decision replacing the grant contract

The traditional grant contract will be replaced by a grant decision. The grant decision is a unilateral act awarding a subsidy to a beneficiary. The reason for replacing the contract by a decision is a simplification of procedures. Contrary to the contract, the beneficiary does not have to sign the decision and can start the action immediately upon receipt. The decision will thus speed up the process.

In order to be able to use a decision the Financial Regulation of the EU has to be amended. The Commission made a proposal for such an amendment to the Council and European Parliament in May 2006. The EACEA will use the decision as soon as the amendment has been adopted. If its adoption is delayed, the Agency may still have to use the traditional contract in the beginning of the year 2007. An example of the decision and contract can be found on the following website.


Subcontracting and award of procurement contract

If subcontracting is foreseen, the applicant must indicate, when introducing the grant application, which part(s) of the project will be subcontracted.

Where implementation of the action/project requires subcontracting or the awarding of a procurement contract, the coordinator and, where applicable, its co-beneficiaries must obtain competitive tenders from potential contractors and award the contract to the bid offering best value for money, observing the principles of transparency and equal treatment of potential contractors and taking care to avoid conflicts of interests.

In the event of subcontracting exceeding €13,800, the coordinator and/or co-beneficiaries must clearly document the tendering procedure and retain the documentation in case of an audit.


Beneficiaries must clearly acknowledge the European Union’s contribution in all publications or in conjunction with activities for which the grant is used.

Furthermore, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name and logo of the European Union, the European Commission, and the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the cofinanced project.

If this requirement is not fully complied with, the beneficiary’s grant may be reduced.
The logo of the European Union can be found on the following website:



Selected projects may be subject to audits. The responsible person in the organisation will undertake, with his or her signature, to provide proof that the grant has been used correctly. The EACEA, the European Commission, and the Court of Auditors of the European Communities, or a body mandated by them, may check the use made of the grant, at any time during the term of the decision and during a period of five years following expiry of the decision.

 For full information about the Financial Regulations, applicants should consult on the website of the Official Journal of the European Union (http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/search/search_oj.html)  the following documents: 
- Date: 09/2002. OJ L 248: Council Regulation No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities.
- Date: 12/2002. OJ L 357: Commission Regulation No.2342/2002 of 23 December 2002 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities.
- Date: 19.8.2006, OJ L 227: Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1248/2006 of 7 August 2006 amending Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2342/2002 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities.

Last update: 16/01/2014  Print | Top of page