Union Programmes

Union Programmes represent a set of integrated measures aimed at strengthening cooperation between EU Member States and candidate countries in different areas. The Union Programmes are financed from the common EU budget, with funds intended for the development of different priority areas: environmental protection, energy, transport, entrepreneurship development, competitiveness, etc.

The Republic of Serbia has signed the Framework Agreement on participation in European Union Programmes on 22 November 2004. Participation in the Union Programmes is an opportunity for the Republic of Serbia to become familiar with EU policies, European institutions, laws and their application in practice, as well as with the value systems and mechanisms of the functioning of the EU.

For participation in each individual Union Programme, it is necessary to sign an international agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the European Commission. The EC has centralized the management of Union Programmes (except for the Erasmus+ Programme, which is managed by the National Agency in each of the EU Member States and candidate countries), which means that a specific directorate of the European Commission or Executive Agency is responsible for each programme. To published calls for each of the Union Programmes one can apply directly by going to the website of the specific programme.

For the participation of the Republic of Serbia in Union Programmes according to the rules of the European Commission, the competent national institutions shall be responsible - ministries, associations, organizations, offices - according to their mandate. Co-ordination of participation in each individual Union Programme, for which the Republic of Serbia has paid financial contributions to the general EU budget, is entrusted to National Contact Points from the respective national institutions.

The Republic of Serbia participates in the following Union Programmes:

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the largest integrated EU Research and Innovation Programme, which has consolidated all programmes previously funded by the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP7) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). By merging innovation and research, the Programme seeks to make progress in three priority areas:

  • Excellence in Science,
  • Industrial Leadership and
  • Societal Challenges.

The Programme is aimed at building society and economy in the EU, based on knowledge and innovation. It is planned that - by mobilizing additional funds for research, development and innovation, including the allocation of 3% of GDP for research and development throughout the EU by 2020 - the research and development goals will be achieved. The ultimate goal of this financial instrument is the creation of an innovative Union - by supporting the development of world science, removing barriers to innovation, and facilitating cooperation between the public and private sectors.

More information can be found at:


Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

The Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises is a programme for promoting the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. The Programme goals are: strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, encouraging entrepreneurial culture and promoting the establishment and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Measures that also support this Programme include training for project proposal writing, activities that enable access to new markets, as well as the promotion of as many transnational partnerships as possible. The Programme also supports educational exchange between the entrepreneurs (Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs). Under this Programme, EUR 1.4 billion from the enterprise budget was allocated to facilitate access to loans. This goal is implemented through direct financing or granting loan guarantees.

More information can be found at: https://ec.europa.eu/easme/en/cosme


The largest education support programme that enables students, scientists and teachers to stay abroad is the European Erasmus Programme, which marks its 30th anniversary this year. Within the existing Erasmus+ Programme and its predecessors, up until now, nine million people across Europe have had the opportunity to study, train, volunteer or gain professional experience abroad. The Erasmus Programme has commenced in 1987, in order to increase student mobility within the European Community. Initially, the aim was the student exchange; however, the Programme was later extended to scientists, trainees, young entrepreneurs, active athletes and pedagogues. Since 2004, students from non-EU countries have become eligible for postgraduate scholarships at universities in the countries participating in the Erasmus Programme, hence Serbia also joined this Programme. Erasmus+ inherited and consolidated the EU Programmes that used to exist before it - Tempus, Lifelong Learning Programme, Youth in Action and Erasmus Mundus (some of these programmes continue to be implemented) and brought a harmonised and simplified application of rule 39 and procedures. It is intended for individuals, institutions and organizations. This Programme supports Serbian students and professors to participate in exchange programmes at universities in Europe. Since 2014, almost EUR 27 million have been granted to Serbia for this purpose, more than to any other country in the Western Balkans region.

More information can be found at:


Creative Europe Programme

Creative Europe is an EU Programme for support to the sectors for culture and media. The Programme consists of two sub-programmes: Culture - for promoting the sector of culture and the Media Programme - to support the audiovisual sector.

Through the sub-programme Culture, the cooperation of cultural and creative organizations between different countries is promoted and the initiatives to translate and promote literary works across the European Union are supported, as well as the development of networks that enable competitiveness and international activity of the cultural and creative sector. The platforms for the promotion of new artists and incitement of European programmes for cultural and artistic works are also being established. The sub-programme Culture includes four competitions:

  • Cooperation projects,
  • European platform projects;
  • European networks; and
  • Literary translation projects.

The Media programme funds the activities which include: developing the European audiovisual sector, respecting and displaying the European cultural identity and heritage, promoting of European audiovisual works inside and outside the EU, strengthening the competitiveness of the audiovisual sector, facilitating access to financing and promoting the use of digital technologies.

This fund will finance the European Capital of Culture and European Heritage Labels, as well as the European prizes for literature, architecture, heritage protection, cinema and pop and rock music.

More information can be found at:



Europe for Citizens

The Europe for Citizens Programme aims to promote European identity and European citizenship. It is intended for citizen associations, civil society organizations and local self-government units. The overall objectives of the Programme are the funding of projects aimed at better understanding of the EU, its history and diversity, and the promotion of European citizenship and the improvement of civic and democratic participation at the EU level.

 The Europe for Citizens Programme is divided in two areas: European remembrance and Democratic engagement and civic participation. The aim of the first area is the awareness of historical continuity, common European values and goals. The purpose of the second area is to support the democratic participation of citizens in life and development in Europe.

More information can be found at:


Third EU Health Programme

The Programme is the main instrument used by the European Commission for implementing the EU Health Strategy. The main objectives of the Programme are to improve the health system and reduce inequalities in providing/receiving health care.

The Programme provides support in four areas:

1. Promoting health, fostering healthy lifestyle and preventing disease;

2. Protecting EU citizens from serious cross-border health threats;

3. Contribution to the creation of innovative, efficient and sustainable health systems; and

4. Facilitate access to high quality and safe healthcare for EU citizens.

More information can be found at:


Fiscalis 2020 Programme

Fiscalis 2020 is a programme that deals with the exchange of information and experiences between tax authorities in European countries. The Programme's aim is to develop, in partnership with other European countries, a trans-European IT system and build person-to-person networks by bringing together national officials.

The Programme supports the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion, tax policy planning and the implementation of EU laws in the field of taxation. This is achieved through information exchange, support to administrative cooperation and increasing the administrative capacities of the participating countries, with the aim of reducing administrative burdens on tax authorities and harmonising the costs for taxpayers.

More information can be found at:


Customs 2020 Programme

Customs 2020 is a programme that supports the cooperation of customs authorities between EU Member States and candidate countries. The aim is to improve their efficiency by achieving better cohesion, in order to avoid damaging the Customs Union. The Programme supports the following measures: joint actions, seminars and workshops, project groups, expert teams, administrative capacity building in customs administrations, studies, information campaigns, IT skills development, trainings for development of necessary professional skills and knowledge in the field of customs.

More information can be found at:


EU Civil Protection Mechanism

The aim of the EU's activities in the field of civil protection is to support the efforts to prevent disasters and ensure the readiness of civil protection units to act in the event of disasters - at the national, regional and local levels.

The European Union Civil Protection Mechanism offers numerous opportunities for cooperation to the Republic of Serbia, such as: use of European monitoring tools and early warning systems, participation in joint trainings and exercises, exchange of experts, participation in disaster prevention projects, direct communication with other civil protection bodies involved in response to emergencies, exchange of information and best practices, coordinated operations of the EU to mitigate and eliminate consequences, co-financing the transport of teams and other assistance.

More information can be found at: