EU programmes


Creative Europe is the European Commission’s framework programme for support to culture and audio-visual sectors. It was adopted in 2014 for a seven-year period, building on previous Culture Programme and MEDIA, which ran from 2007-2013.

Creative Europe is set to run from 2014-2020. With a budget of €1.46 billion (9% higher than its predecessors), it supports:

  • Culture sector initiatives, such as those promoting cross-border cooperation, platforms, networking, and literary translation;
  • Audio-visual sector initiatives, such as those promoting development, distribution, or access to audio-visual works;
  • A cross-sectoral strand, including a Guarantee Facility and transnational policy cooperation.

The programme consists of two sub-programmes; the Culture sub-programme to promote the culture sector, and the MEDIA sub-programme to support the audio-visual sector. There is also a department of cross-sectoral cooperation.

Culture sub-programme

Culture sub-programme offers opportunities for:

  • Cooperation between cultural and creative organisations from different countries;
  • Initiatives to translate and promote literary works from EU Member States;
  • European networks engaged in the area of culture; support is intended for networks of national cultural organisations that strive to establish cooperation on the issues of common interest;
  • Establishment of platforms to promote emerging artists and stimulate European programming for cultural and artistic works.

The Culture sub-programme helps cultural and creative organisations to operate transnationally and promotes the cross-border circulation of works of culture and the mobility of cultural players. It provides financial support for projects with a European dimension aiming to share cultural content across borders.

Funding opportunities cover a diverse range of schemes: Cooperation projects, Literary Translation, Networks or Platforms. Calls for proposals are divided into these four areas. The supported activities aim to enable cultural and creative players to work internationally.

Web-site of the Creative Europe programme can be found here.

Web-site of the Culture sub-programme can be found here.


The Republic of Serbia joined the Culture programme on 19 June 2014; Creative Europe Desk Serbia is an implementation body of Creative Europe, set up within the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.

The Desk supports cultural institutions and civil society organisations in Serbia wishing to participate in Creative Europe. Creative Europe Desk Serbia implements the sub-programme Culture. Its crucial activity is to provide expertise and advice about the application process and offer information on potential regional and European partners.

Sub-programme MEDIA

Sub-programme MEDIA of Creative Europe promotes development of audio-visual and multimedia sectors by providing support for: the development, distribution and promotion of feature films, animated films, documentaries and television drama; development and promotion of new media contents; professional training of film professionals; development of new technologies and platforms for distribution of audio-visual content; film festivals; and audience development.

Goals of the MEDIA sub-programme are:

  • To strengthen European audio-visual sector, by putting European identity, heritage and cultural diversity in focus;
  • To increase the circulation of European audio-visual works outside the European Union;
  • To strengthen innovation and competitiveness of the European audio-visual sector.

Funding is available in several categories, including: support for producers in developing innovative and competitive projects in areas of cinema, TV and video games; support for distribution of European audio-visual works; audience development and professional training; and networking.


Serbia joined the sub-programme in March 2016. MEDIA Desk Serbia is an implantation body of the MEDIA sub-programme set up within the Film Centre of Serbia.

The goal of MEDIA Desk is to support representatives of audio-visual and multimedia sectors who want to participate in MEDIA sub-programme. MEDIA Desk provides information on opportunities offered by MEDIA sub-programme through consultations, public events and educational activities, and offers support for and advice about the application process.


The EU’s Erasmus+ programme provides funding for cooperation projects in three areas: education, youth and sport.

The seven year programme has a budget of nearly €15 billion (€14.7) and is set to run from 2014-2020, replacing several previous programmes – Erasmus Mundus (higher education), Tempus (cooperation in higher education), Youth in Action (youth organisations) and Lifelong Learning Programme.

In the broadest sense, the Erasmus + programme in the field of education has the following priorities:

  • improve and support the development of all levels of education,
  • strengthen the relationship between formal, non-formal and informal learning,
  • strengthen the relationship between education and job market,
  • create added value for European Higher Education Area,
  • connect the member countries in defining educational policies.

In the focus of Erasmus + is strengthening of youth potential for active involvement in civil society, development of leadership skills, solidarity and intercultural understanding and competence.

In the field of sport, the priority is cooperation and networking of sport organisations and support for projects that can indirectly contribute to mitigating of social and economic aspects of physical inactivity.

Erasmus + promotes acceptance and valuing of acquired qualifications in education, an open approach to educational materials, documents and media content which are developed in financed projects and beyond, as well as an international dimension to activities, multilingualism, equality and inclusive approach to education.

The implementation of the programme falls under the responsibility of the European Commission, Education, Audiovisul and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), national agencies in participating countries and national Erasmus+ offices in partner countries.


In 2017, Erasmus+ marked the 30th anniversary as one of the most successful EU programmes. The programme, launched in 1987 as an informal cooperation programme among 11 countries in the area of education, became a unique European mobility network that, apart from yielding excellent results in science and education, significantly contributed to strengthening common European identity. According to estimates, some 10 million Europeans have participated in Erasmus programme.


The Republic of Serbia has been participating in the Erasmus + programme since its inception in 2014 as a partner country. In February 2019, the Republic of Serbia became a full member of the Erasmus + programme where interested parties can apply for all types of projects. Certain types of projects are reported to the Executive Agency for Education, Culture and Media Programs (EACEA), while other types are submitted to the Tempus Foundation, which is responsible for implementing Erasmus + programs in Serbia.


Europe for Citizens aims to promote European identity and citizenship and strengthen citizens’ participation in all segments of life of the Community.

The general objectives of the programme are: to contribute to citizens’ understanding of the European Union, its history and diversity; to foster European citizenship; and to promote civic and democratic participation at EU level.

Priority topics of the programme:

  • Raising awareness of remembrance, the common history and values of the EU and the EU’s aim – namely to promote peace, the values of the EU and the well-being of its peoples.
  • Enhancing understanding of civic participation in the EU policy making process
  • Fostering social and intercultural engagement and volunteering at EU level.

Each year, the programme sets new priorities in order to ensure efficiency and usefulness of approved and funded projects and to maximise the impact of project activities on local communities.

Programme components:

  • Chapter 1 – European remembrance
  • Chapter 2 – Democratic and civic participation
    Within this chapter, three actions are envisaged:

    • Town twinning
    • Networks of towns
    • Civil society projects.

Among potential participants in the programme are civil society organisations, local and regional self-governments, foundations, associations and associations’ networks, European networks and umbrella organisations, educational, research and cultural institutions, trade unions, think-tanks, etc.

The programme is centralised and implemented by the European Commission Directorate-General for Migration and Internal Affairs and Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EACEA). The budget of the programme for the period 2014-2020 is €185.486.000. The programme is open to all EU Member States and countries which had previously signed an international agreement (candidate and potential candidate countries as well as EFTA countries).


The Republic of Serbia joined the programme in November 2012, following the signature of the International Agreement signed with the European Commission. Up until 2017, over 200 Serbian civil society organisations, local self-governments, educational and cultural institutions have submitted their project proposals. More than 230 national stakeholders have created partnerships across Europe.

Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of the Republic of Serbia acts as the national contact of the Programme. The Office promotes the programme, organises info sessions and conferences. It also helps applicants to prepare project applications and find partners in other countries taking part in the programme.


Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest framework research and innovation programme, which has replaced three previous programmes. Horizon 2020 is the instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. Horizon 2020 is also focused on further development of the European Research Area as a single market for knowledge, research and innovation.

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges.

Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the European Parliament. They agreed that research is a key investment in our future and thus put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

The budget of the programme amounts to nearly €80 billion over the period 2014-2020, in addition to private investment that this money will attract. Horizon 2020 is open to all natural and legal persons from EU Member States and associate countries registered on the Participant Portal. Horizon 2020 is implemented in line with European Commission’s work programmes which lay out research areas to be funded as well as research topics.

Horizon 2020 replaces three previous initiatives – Framework Programme 7 (FP7), Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP) and EU’s contributions to European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Under Horizon 2020, the EIT will receive more funding, whereas more attention will also be paid to areas with underdeveloped scientific structures and SMEs. Their participation should also be increased. The bulk of Horizon 2020 budget, nearly 40%, is spent on addressing the so-called “major challenges,” including challenges in the areas of health and climate change.

Horizon 2020 is built around three main pillars:

  1. Excellent Science – funding for the most interesting scientific research, secured via open applications procedure, through four programmes:
    • European Research Council
    • Research infrastructures, including e-infrastructures
    • Future and emerging technologies
    • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.
  1. Industrial Leadership – including a programme aimed at SMEs, a programme facilitating access to funding for companies and organisations, and a programme aimed at fostering development and industrial technologies.
  2. Societal Challenges – support for research in areas such as health, climate, food, security, transport and energy.


Serbia joined the programme in July 2014. Horizon 2020 falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, which provides support for any of the topics through a network of national contact points.

The programme is open to Serbian university research groups, research institutes, individual researchers, SMEs, big companies, as well as government, non-government and private organisations and institutions.

They participate under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU Member States.

(The text was partially taken from the web-site of the University of Belgrade:


COSME (Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs) is an EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises running from 2014 – 2020 with a budget of €2.3 billion. SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy, providing as much as 85% of all new jobs. The European Commission aims to promote entrepreneurship and improve the business environment for SMEs, to allow them to realise their full potential in today’s global economy.

COSME supports SMEs in the following areas:

  1. Access to finance

One of COSME’s main objectives is to provide enhanced access to finance for SMEs in different phases of their lifecycle: creation, expansion or business transfer. In order to achieve this objective, the EU will mobilise loans and equity investments for SMEs:

  • Through the Loan Guarantee Facility, the programme will provide guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions (e.g. guarantee societies, banks, leasing companies) so they can provide more loan and lease finance to SMEs. It is expected that COSME will enable between 220 000 and 330 000 SMEs to obtain financing for a total value of between €14 and €21 million.
  • Through the Equity Facility for Growth, the programme will provide risk capital to equity funds investing in SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth-stage phases. The Facility should help between 360 and 560 firms to receive equity investment with an overall volume invested ranging from €2.6 to €4 billion.
  1. Access to markets

COSME provides support to SMEs so that they can benefit from the EU’s single market and make the most of opportunities offered by markets outside the EU.

COSME funds the European Enterprise Network – EEN consisting of over 600 offices in more than 50 countries helping SMEs find business and technology partners, understand EU legislation and access EU financing.

COSME also funds two web tools specifically designed for enterprises development:

COSME finances the ASEAN, China and MERCOSUR Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) SME Helpdesks that offer advice and support to European SMEs facing difficulties in IPR issues.

  1. Creating better framework conditions for competitiveness

COSME supports actions to improve the framework conditions in which enterprises operate, in particular SMEs, by reducing unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens. Such actions may include measuring the impact of relevant Union law on SMEs, developing smart and business friendly regulation for them and reinforcing the use of the “Think Small First” principle for policy-making at national and regional level.

COSME supports the emergence of competitive industries with market potential, by helping SMEs to take-up new business models and integrate into new value chains. The programme complements the actions of Member States in areas with high growth potential such as the tourism sector.

COSME promotes the development of world-class clusters in the EU, fostering cluster excellence and internationalisation with an emphasis on cross-sectoral cooperation, notably in support of emerging industries. The programme also aims at accelerating the digitalisation of the business community and promoting e-skills and e-leadership.

  1. Encouraging entrepreneurship

COSME backs the implementation of the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan through a wide range of activities. These include mobility exchanges, research, best practices diffusion and pilot projects in areas such as entrepreneurship education, mentoring or the development of guidance and support services for new and potential entrepreneurs, including young, women and senior entrepreneurs.

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border exchange scheme which aims to help new and aspiring entrepreneurs acquire relevant skills to run and grow a business by working with an experienced entrepreneur in another country for one to six months. It increases their know-how and fosters cross-border transfer of knowledge and experience between entrepreneurs.

COSME especially focuses on digital entrepreneurship to help European businesses drive their digital transformation and fully benefit from the unprecedented new opportunities created in the digital era, which are crucial for their competitiveness and growth.


Serbia joined COSME on 1 January 2016, upon the entry into force of the previously signed agreement with the EU. The Ministry of Economy is in charge of coordination of COSME activities.

National coordinator of COSME in the Republic of Serbia:

Milica Zatezalo, the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia (Kneza Miloša 20, 11000 Beograd)


(The text was taken from the Ministry of Economy web-site)


Customs 2020 is an EU cooperation programme providing national customs administrations with the possibility to create and exchange information and expertise. It allows developing and operating major trans-European IT systems in partnership and establishing various human networks by bringing together national officials from across Europe. The programme has a budget of €547.3 million and will run for 7 years starting from 1 January 2014.

The programme falls under the responsibility of the DG TAXUD – Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union.

The goal of the programme is to offer support and guidance to customs administrations in order to increase the efficiency of the EU internal market through cooperation among participating countries (i.e. their customs administrations and officers).

Specific objectives of the programme Customs 2020:

  • Support customs authorities in protecting the financial and economic interests of the Union and of the Member States, including the fight against fraud and the protection of intellectual property rights
  • Increase safety and security, protect citizens and the environment
  • Improve the administrative capacity of the customs authorities
  • Strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses

The programme is primarily aimed at EU Member States. However, under certain conditions, candidate and potential candidate countries may also join the programme and receive support in building capacity to carry out customs procedures prior to and after the accession. The support entails assistance in improving the understanding of EU customs rules and procedures, fostering experience exchange and regional cooperation among customs administrations, modernisation of customs formalities and improving information systems in the area of information exchange and fight against fraud.

Apart from EU Member States, the programme is currently participated in by EU candidate countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.

Programme activities can be divided into three separate groups:

  • IT capacity building
  • Joint actions
  • Improving human resources management


The Republic of Serbia joined the programme Customs 2020 on 19 November 2014, upon the entry into force of the International Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Serbia on the participation of the Republic of Serbia in Customs 2020 programme.

The implementation of the programme in Serbia falls under the responsibility of Customs Administration of the Republic of Serbia (, which has appointed a programme coordination team.

Customs 2020 is the successor of Customs 2007-2013 programme in which Serbia had participated from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2014. Over the course of five years, 212 events took place with participation of 420 officers, 163 of whom have taken part in 38 working visits.

National coordinator of Customs 2020 programme is Ivan Milosevic, independent advisor at the Department for international cooperation and European integration (+381 11 2015 945,

(The text was taken from the Customs Administration web-site)


Fiscalis 2020 is an EU cooperation programme enabling national tax administrations to create and exchange information and expertise. It enables development and operation of major trans-European IT systems in partnership, as well as the establishment of various person to person networks by bringing together national officials from across Europe. The programme has a budget of €234.3 million and will run for seven years from 1 January 2014.

Apart from EU Member States, the programme is participated in by EU candidate countries as well – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.

The implementation of the programme falls under the responsibility of the European Commission, assisted by the Fiscalis 2020 Committee, composed of delegates from each EU Member State.

General objective of the programme is to improve the proper functioning of the taxation systems in the internal market by enhancing cooperation between participating countries, their tax authorities and their officials.

Specific objective of the programme is to support the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning and the implementation of Union law in the field of taxation through:

  • ensuring exchange of information
  • supporting administrative cooperation and, where necessary and appropriate
  • enhancing the administrative capacity of participating countries with a view to assisting in reducing the administrative burden on tax authorities and the compliance costs for taxpayers.

Operational objectives and priorities of the programme:

(A) to implement, improve, operate and support the European Information Systems for taxation;
(B) to support administrative cooperation activities;
(C) to reinforce the skills and competence of tax officials;
(D) to enhance the understanding and implementation of Union law in the field of taxation;
(E) to support the improvement of administrative procedures and the sharing of good administrative practices.

The Republic of Serbia joined the programme in 2015.


Employment and Social innovation ProgrammeEaSI is a financing instrument at EU level to promote a high level of quality and sustainable employment, guaranteeing adequate and decent social protection, combating social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions.

Structure and funding

EaSI is managed directly by the European Commission. The total budget for 2014-2020 is €919.5 million.


EaSI brings together three EU programmes managed separately between 2007 and 2013: PROGRESS, EURES and Progress Microfinance.

As of January 2014, these programmes form the three axes of EaSI. They support:

  • The modernisation of employment and social policies with the PROGRESS axis (61% of the total budget);
  • Job mobility with the EURES axis (18% of the total budget);
  • Access to micro-finance and social entrepreneurship with the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis (21% of the total budget).


  • Strengthen ownership of EU objectives and coordination of action at EU and national level in the areas of employment, social affairs and inclusion;
  • Support the development of adequate social protection systems and labour market policies;
  • Modernise EU legislation and ensure its effective application;
  • Promote geographical mobility and boost employment opportunities by developing an open labour market;
  • Increase the availability and accessibility of microfinance for vulnerable groups and micro-enterprises, and increase access to finance for social enterprises.


Serbia joined EaSI programme in August 2015.

EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans

In the context of the Berlin process and in the framework of the European Union’s Connectivity Agenda for the Western Balkans, the European Commission launched in 2016 a pilot action for a regional executive programme and exchange component for young civil servants from the Western Balkans, namely the EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans (YPS). Thirty (30) young civil servants (5 from each WB6 beneficiary) benefited from an executive programme implemented in partnership with Science Po and an exchange programme implemented with host administrations in all six Western Balkans countries, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[1], the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia (hereafter WB6).

This pilot action delivered last year, has had a positive impact on facilitating and improving two cornerstones of the EU accession process in the Western Balkans: Public Administration Reform – PAR and regional cooperation. Based on the encouraging results of the pilot project presented in the context of the Trieste Summit held in July 2017, the European Commission, following a positive opinion of the IPA Committee (Member States), decided to continue the EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans (YPS) for a further two years.

The overall objective of this follow up Action is “to contribute to progress in the accession process and deepen regional cooperation in the Western Balkans”.

The Action’s specific objectives are as follows:

  • To build professional capacity and prepare the next generation of public administrators and policy makers in the six Western Balkan countries who will be in charge of the accession process and drive and lead future change in their societies, in particular those required under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) implementation and accession negotiation process;
  • To promote the regional cooperation element of the European Union integration process at the level of civil service by making cross-border connections between these leaders and agents of change and facilitating peer learning and the sharing of best practices.

The Action is eligible for Civil Servants with between 2 and 5 years of working experience in Public Administration in one of the six countries of the Western Balkans. Civil servants eligible to apply will be those involved in policy formulation and strategic planning within the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Finance, strategic units of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of European Integration/Governmental Directorates/Bodies of European Integration as well as civil servants from other line Ministries involved in European Integration process.

The Action has foreseen a 4 week-long tailor-made training programme split between two training institutions: Sciences Po in France (Dec 2017) and College of Europe in Belgium (Jan/Feb 2018). Upon completion of the training programmes, civil servants will participate in a regional exchange component which will involve each of them spending 2 weeks (March/April 2018) in the public administration of a neighbouring WB6/IPA II beneficiary country. This regional cooperation component of the Action will facilitate peer review and learning and the sharing of good practices and help participants to understand better the neighbouring “other” thus contributing also to reconciliation efforts in the region.

[1] This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence