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European Urban Initiative

Overall budget available

The European Urban Initiative has a total ERDF budget of €450 million

What is the goal of the funding programme?

The overall objectives of the European Urban Initiative (EUI) are to strengthen integrated and participatory approaches to sustainable urban development, and to provide a stronger link to EU policies, and to Cohesion policy and investments in urban areas. The initiative aims to offer coherent support to cities to overcome the landscape of manifold initiatives, programmes and instruments in support of cities under Cohesion policy, and, by maximising synergy and complementarity with the interregional cooperation programme URBACT IV.  The EUI will also support the multi-level working of the Urban Agenda for the EU and intergovernmental cooperation on urban matters.

How is the funding programme structured?

The EUI is structured around different levels of assistance:

  • Supporting urban authorities with up to 80% direct co-financing and up to €5M ERDF, allowing EU cities to experiment as testbeds for their innovative idea and transferring it to other cities
  • Strengthening capacities of cities in the design of sustainable urban development strategies, policies and practices in an integrated and participative way
  • Providing a knowledge environment for cities to ensure easier access to horizontal and thematic knowledge and share the know-how on sustainable urban development

What thematic areas are covered?

This ground-breaking initiative serves as a key resource for cities of all sizes, supporting their efforts to increase capacity and knowledge, foster innovation and develop adaptable and scalable solutions to address EU-relevant urban challenges.

The programme is well suited to a wide range of economic sectors, in particular social enterprises proposing innovative urban solutions.

What is in it for the social economy?

The EUI supports urban areas of all sizes with innovative actions, capacity and knowledge building, and policy development and communication on sustainable urban development. Social economy organisations interested in testing and/or scaling up social innovations that address issues related to sustainable urban development are well placed to apply for EUI funding. The initiatives could be a charity working to develop affordable and sustainable social housing, or a social enterprise researching and producing inclusive and accessible street furniture. Harnessing talent in shrinking cities | EUI ( could be an interesting call for your organisation!

Who is eligible to apply?

Any actor bringing innovative solutions to strengthen cities could be eligible:

  • Policy makers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Urban decision-takers

How to apply?

  1. Understand the programme: Familiarize yourself with the objectives and priorities of the EUI programme. This will help you determine if your project aligns with the programme's goals.
  2. The online guide is a practical tool designed to facilitate access to the funds, providing comprehensive information on each stage of the process.

Where to find more information?

There are many sources to get support or to be inspired :

How to contact organisations who manage the programme?

The European Urban Initiative (EUI) Permanent Secretariat has its headquarters in Lille, France. The team carries out the day-to-day management of the Initiative and provides support to applicants, project partners and the general public across Europe.

The online guide | EUI ( is the main point of entry to get in touch with the permanent secretariat.

Organisations who provide support?

  • The European team in your local authority or chamber of commerce can provide tailor-made information.
  • Your national or regional authorities, networks, and incubators are the best entry points to access tailor-made information regarding your needs!

Background information

History of the programme

During 2014-2020, some €115 billion from the Cohesion policy funds were invested in cities. Of these,€17 billion was implemented locally through more than 980 sustainable urban development strategies managed directly by urban authorities. In parallel with these significant urban investments, the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative provided direct support for cities to experiment with innovative solutions.

The Urban Development Network (UDN) was set up with the mission to support the dialogue and information exchange between the ‘Article 7 cities’, Urban Innovative Actions cities and the European Commission (hereinafter ‘the Commission’).

The URBACT III programme built the capacities of cities to work together and develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges by transnational networking, learning from experiences and identifying good practices to improve sustainable urban development policies and strategies.

The EUI is a novel initiative that will build on these past experiences by going a step further to offer coherent support to cities; foster city led innovation, sharing of urban knowledge, practices and to build capacities.

Responsible Directorate-General in the European Commission

The European Urban Initiative (EUI)  is an instrument of the European Commission managed by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy via indirect management.

The Commission has delegated the implementation of the Initiative to the Hauts-de-France Region. An effective governance structure is established for a transparent and balanced management of EUI.

You can find more information about EUI Governance, here.


2021 - 2027