10-03-2021 (updated 21-09-2021)

Many municipalities in the EU are busy developing their climate and energy action plans. They can apply for subsidy support at the European City Facility (EUCF). With this subsidy, they can further investigate an ‘investment concept’ and develop it into a fully-fledged ‘business and financial plan’. In 2021, two new EUCF application rounds are launched (and there are more to come).

Municipal climate and energy plans: obstacles

Municipalities and local authorities play a key role in the European energy transition. For example, they often act as a driver for large investment programs for sustainable energy, the smart ‘bundling’ of projects, and in mobilizing the necessary financing. However, they encounter two major obstacles. The first: finding financing. The second: finding suitable ‘investment concepts’ (ideas and plans for investment projects). Many new investment concepts are still too unclear, too uncertain and too premature. Even concepts with a clear project plan and good motivation often still raise many questions. For example: how do the plans score in terms of feasibility, impact, risks and efficiency? For a proper assessment, further research is first required. And until then, tapping into financing options is virtually impossible.

The European City Facility offers a solution

The European City Facility offers a solution to this stalemate. Municipalities can apply to the EUCF for a grant (of 60,000 euros) to investigate and develop relevant investment concepts into a fully-fledged ‘business and financing plan’. The grant is a fixed amount (lump sum) that municipalities can for example use for: carrying out a feasibility study, risk analysis, market research, stakeholder analysis, technical research, legal or financial analyses. To be clear, the costs of the final energy investments themselves fall outside the scope of the grant.

What does EUCF mean by ‘investment concepts’?

The EUCF defines an investment concept as a document that translates an idea or plan for an investment project into ‘financial language’, in order to mobilise funding for its realisation. It bridges the gap between the project idea and the further business and financial plan. The aim is to provide investors and financiers with the first preliminary information they need to be able to assess the intended investment project in a quick and easy way. In this way, EUCF helps municipalities/local authorities to convert climate and energy plans (or measures included therein) into concrete investment packages, and to facilitate access to financing for them.

Grant contribution and call budget

EUCF grants are for municipalities and local authorities only. Applications from consortia (of municipalities and local authorities) are encouraged. Grant applications can only be submitted within official ‘calls for applications’:

  • the fourth call round: deadline will be 3 March 2022.
  • the third call round: open from 15 October to 17 December 2021.
  • the second call round: 29 March to 31 May 2021.
  • the first call round: 25 May 2020 to 2 October 2020.

All applications submitted will be compared with each other: only the best projects will receive funding.

Is your municipality looking for assistance with an EUCF application? EGEN can tell you more about the conditions and assessment criteria, and assist you in preparing and writing an optimal proposal. Our experts were involved in drawing up the European ‘Circular City Funding Guide’ of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and many other innovation projects in the field of the environment and climate!


EGEN has years of experience in the field of innovation, climate, energy transition and relevant incentive schemes. Do you want to know more about our services or about the EUCF call in this article? Send us a short message with your question or plans. We’ll get in contact ASAP.