Toolkit: Derelict Fishing Gear Retrieval, Funding for your project, Applying for EU funding

See also: Motivations for project sponsors

European funds may be provided through either direct grants or indirect grants. Direct grants include programmes that are managed by the European Commission and cover the whole EU. Indirect grants support national and regional objectives and are linked to national or regional programmes (often called ‘operational programmes’). They are managed by ministries or regional agencies. This distinction will affect your choice of funding in many ways:

Potential EU funds you can consider for your marine litter retention projects are:

When you consider which funding opportunity is the best option for your project, consider the geographical scope of your project. In some funding programmes, trans-nationality – that is, a project that operates across more than one country – is a requirement. In other programmes only national projects can be funded. For example, if you intend to set up a multi-country project, LIFE or transnational cooperation programmes may be appropriate, the EMFF is not. Other elements to consider are the minimum number of beneficiaries, eligible countries, or co-financing rates. 

A table comparing different EU funding options, as well as a flow chart to provide some guidance in a simplified format is available for download. Since some of the operational rules for the funding period 2014 to 2020 were not been finalised at the time of preparing this Toolkit, you should make sure you get the latest available information from websites listed below and national or regional contact points.

An important first point of contact is always your national contact points or the national/regional funding authority. They can provide you with more information about projects eligible for funding, and even help you with your proposal. Contacts are available on the internet:

Guidelines for applying to the funds managed directly by the EU are available on programme websites:


Identifying EU funding options for your project
Matrix of potential EU funding sources