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EU Funding

Overview of the opportunities

Under the EU Cohesion Policy:

  1. European Structural and Investment Funds




  5. Innovative actions in sustainable urban development

Under the European Investment Bank:

  1. Loans and guarantees

  2. ELENA


  4. European Energy Efficiency Fund


  1. LIFE

  2. Connecting Europe Facility funds

  3. Horizon 2020

  4. European Fund for Strategic Investments

  5. Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for H2 mobility related projects


1. European Structural and Investment Funds (ERDF, ESF, Cohesion Fund)

Urban mobility can be supported by the ESI funds in accordance to the following objectives and articles:

  • Thematic Objective 7 "Sustainable transport" aims at promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks by investing in TEN-T, environment-friendly and low-carbon transport systems and interoperable railway systems;

  • Thematic Objective 4 "Low-carbon economy" aims at supporting a shift towards a low-carbon economy by promoting low-carbon strategies, incl. sustainable urban mobility;

  • Article 7 of the EBRD regulation also foresees support to sustainable urban development through strategies for integrated action.


Over 2007-2013, €7.9 billion were spent from the ESI funds on urban mobility. For 2014-2020, we expect a minimum of €12 billion to be spent, representing an increase of +40% compared to the previous financing period.

24 Member States are benefiting, including all 15 cohesion countries.

The ESI funds are managed in a decentralized way: the Commission and the Member States develop Partnership Agreements on national level and Operational Programmes on regional level. The funds are then managed by a specific Managing Authority in each Member State. In addition, cities can spend directly 5% of the funds on urban development.

For sound delivery, we advise cities to make use of technical assistance tools such as JASPERS and ELENA, to use opportunities for peer-to-peer exchange such as the Covenant of Mayors and CIVITAS, to work across administrative boundaries and national borders and to use a Sustainable urban Mobility Plan to set an integrated strategic frame to their urban mobility projects.

Cities should contact the Managing Authority in their country to find out about the concrete opportunities in the region they are located in.

For more info:



The JASPERS programme gives technical assistance to prepare high quality major projects to be financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds in the new Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia).

JASPERS focuses on major projects with total eligible cost exceeding €75 million.

JASPERS' assistance may cover project preparation, independent quality review of project, capacity building including a Competence Centre and implementation of the projects.

Cities with a project in one of the 15 new Member States should contact JASPERS directly.

For more info:


3 INTERREG Europe 2014-2020

INTERREG Europe 2014-2020 supports interregional cooperation. It co-finances projects where public authorities from different regions work together for 3 to 5 years on a shared policy issue. Calls are launched regularly.

It also co-finances thematic platforms where public authorities can find information to help implement their policies in the four themes of the programme, including low-carbon and resource-efficiency.

Interested cities should follow up the calls.

For more info:



URBACT III supports interregional cooperation. It co-finances the creation of networks of cities to develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges, by learning from one another. The first call for the creation of up to 20 Action Planning Networks was open in 2015; other calls will open in the following years.

Interested cities should follow up the calls.

For more info:


5. Innovative actions in sustainable urban development"

This new programme will test new approaches, through pilot projects, to the challenges faced by cities. Projects will be selected through calls for proposals; the first call is to be published beginning 2016.

Interested cities should follow up the calls.

For more info:


6. European Investment Bank loans and guarantees

The EIB offers either direct loans and guarantees for large-scale projects (> 25 million Euros) or intermediated loans and guarantees for small and medium-scale projects, in that case via national and regional intermediary banks.

Cities should contact the EIB directly or via their bank depending on the size of their projects.

For more info:



The ELENA programme covers up to 90% of the technical cost to prepare large energy efficiency and renewables projects. This can helps get financing especially from private investors. Noteworthy, the Commission is giving ELENA €15 million for the transport sector over 2016-2020.

Cities should contact ELENA directly.

For more info:



The JESSICA programme supports sustainable urban development through financial engineering mechanisms.

Concretely, Member States can choose to invest some of their EU structural fund allocations in revolving funds. Contributions from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) are then allocated to Urban Development Funds (UDFs) which invest them in public-private partnerships or other projects.

This tool is for the Member States to decide using, not directly for the cities.

For more info:


9. European Energy Efficiency Fund

This is an investment fund focusing on energy efficiency, small-scale renewable energy, and clean urban transport projects. It is targeting municipal, local and regional authorities and public and private entities acting on behalf of those authorities.

Cities should contact the EEEF directly.

For more info:


10. LIFE programme

LIFE is the EU financing instrument for the environment and climate action. The 2014-2017 work programme includes a thematic priority on "Air quality and emissions, including the urban environment". Calls are published regularly.

Interested ities should follow up the calls.

For more info:


11. Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funds for TEN-T projects

The TEN-T forms the backbone of the European transport system with nine corridors across the EU. Since 2014, there is specific financing for the "urban nodes" i.e. the cities on the core network.

The 2014 call has been evaluated and seven urban nodes proposals were retained for around €50 million.

The 2015 call will be published in November also covering the cohesion countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).

Up to €300 million will be spent in total over 2014-20 on urban nodes.

Cities on the core TEN-T should follow up the calls.

For more info:


12. Horizon 2020 - "Smart, Green and Integrated Transport"

Under Horizon2020, the EU Research Framework Programme, all projects require cooperation between minimum 3 countries.

The part called "Mobility For Growth" is actually the CIVITAS initiative, consisting of city-led demonstration projects, knowledge-generating projects and horizontal support projects.

The call for the city-led demo projects for 2017-20 was in 2015. The Call for the horizontal support project for 2017-2020 was also in 2015.

For 2016, calls are open for knowledge-generating projects for:

  • Facilitating public procurement

  • New ways of supporting neighbourhood-level innovations

For 2017, calls will open in 2016 for knowledge-generating projects for:

  • Increasing the take-up and scale-up of innovative solutions

  • Supporting smart electric mobility

  • Innovative approaches for integrating urban nodes

Cities should follow up the calls.

For more info:


13. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)

This is the tool set up for the "Juncker Investment Plan":

It consists in a €21 billion guarantee from the Commission and the EIB. This guarantee allows increasing EIB's lending capacity with €60 billion for more risky projects, which in turn gives extra assurance to other public and private investors, resulting in an extra financing capacity of €255 billion. The total extra investment capacity in the EU economy is thus €315 billion.

Cities should partner and group their projects to be more attractive in terms of scale. Cities and projects promoters should engage with the EIB and the National Promotional Banks to benefit from the EFSI. An Advisory Hub has been created and regional hubs are likely to be created in the future: There is also FI-Compass advisory service: Last, a website will be set up in January 2016 for matching projects and investors.

Cities should make direct contacts with the Advisory Hub.


Other Financing Opportunities for Urban Mobility

Beyond local, regional, national and European funding opportunities, more creative sources of financing may exist. We encourage you to review the brochure from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development:

Financing Mechanisms for Sustainable Mobility-SMP2.0:

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