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Partnerships are a key element to EU Funding. Almost all EU programs require you to have partners from different countries. Finding partners who are willing to work with you to achieve common goals can be a complicated and lengthy process. Once you have found partners and established a working relationship these partnerships can be very rewarding and beneficial well beyond the lifetime of the project. Achieving the goals of the project can also be much easier with partners as often they will have the solution to your problems and vice versa.
European financed projects require match funding to support the project. In other words they do not pay 100% of the costs. Match finance can come from a range of different sources either in kind contributions, from your core resources or you can use other streams of money like Lottery or Heritage Lottery to provide the match finance.
Each program has its own criteria covering every different legal, accountancy and financial aspect you can think of. The important criteria to check before applying for EU funding is whether you organisation can apply for EU support. There would be nothing worse than submitting an application and having it rejected because your entity was not eligible to apply in the first place.
The process for obtaining EU money takes at least a year. Often the longer the process takes the more sound your project will be as you have more time for building strong partnerships. As frustrating as it can be the system works quite well in the sense that projects which are weak to start with, often do not stand the test of time.
With the next 7 year round of EU Programs started it is becoming clear that projects that submit a successful phase 1 application can almost say for certain that their projects have been approved for funding providing they submit a strong phase 2 application.