InvestEU & Other Funds

These funds are currently under negotiation. Once agreement has been reached, a comprehensive summary will be provided on this page. Content available on this page was developed in June 2020.


It is the challenge of public health policy makers and health promotion managers to develop investable proposals for improving health equity through accessing InvestEU and other investment funds. This e-guide provides initial ideas, contacts and tools on how that can be done.


InvestEU was originally announced in 2018 as the successor to the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI, or the ‘Juncker Plan’), which provided an EU budget guarantee to support investment and access to finance in the EU. InvestEU will bring together the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the 13 EU financial instruments that are currently available (2014-2020). InvestEU's suggested benefits are simplified and streamlined investment support and a single set of rules and procedures with one point of contact for advice. The main aim is to make EU funding simpler to access and more effective. InvestEU will run from 2021-2027.


InvestEU consists of the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub, the InvestEU Portal, and blending operations. It will mobilise public and private investment through an EU budget guarantee of €75 billion that will back the investment projects of financial partners such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group, national promotional banks and other private finance institutions, thereby increasing their risk-bearing capacity, achieving the economies of scale, and increasing the visibility of EU action.

What is InvestEU?

The InvestEU Programme aims to give an additional boost to investment, innovation, and job creation in Europe. New is the Social Investment and Skills window of InvestEU which shall facilitate projects implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights. In particular, actions under this window shall aim at upwards convergence, reducing inequalities, and increasing resilience and inclusiveness through promoting employment, social enterprises, social inclusion, improving citizens' health, well-being and overall quality of life and supporting a just transition to a low carbon economy.

The InvestEU Fund investments will come under five policy areas which represent important policy priorities for the Union and bring high EU added value. The first four windows and their budget guarantees are:

  1. Sustainable infrastructure - €20 billion
  2. Research, innovation and digitisation - €10 billion
  3. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps - €10 billion
  4. Social investment and skills - €3.6 billion (further described below)

A fifth window – Strategic European Investment – has been added since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. The budget guarantee for this window is €31 billion.


The InvestEU Advisory Hub will provide technical support and assistance for the preparation, development, structuring and implementation of financed projects, including capacity building.

The InvestEU Portal will bring together investments and project promoters through an easily-accessible and user-friendly database.


InvestEU’s public guarantee is intended to help secure further investment from private and institutional investors The idea is that investors feel more secure in investing with the knowledge that money has been guaranteed to repay them if necessary. The guarantee will be provisioned at an average of 45%, meaning that €34 billion of the EU budget is set aside in case calls are made on the guarantee. InvestEU will also offer blending operations with grant funding. This blending will ensure complementarity with other EU funding programmes, notably for the European Structural Investment Funds under shared management or covered by the EU ETS Innovation Fund.  InvestEU Fund will be a market-based and demand-driven instrument. However, it will also be policy-focused. As a policy tool, by diversifying the sources of funding and promoting long term and sustainable finance, InvestEU will contribute to the strengthening of the Single Market while also contributing to the implementation of the European Green Deal, the European Green Deal Investment Plan, the Strategy on shaping Europe’s digital future, and the European Pillar of Social Rights. Financing and investment operations shall be screened to determine whether they have an environmental, climate or social impact.

A key element of InvestEU – and a new addition in comparison to EFSI – is the dedicated Social Investment and Skills policy window. Support under the Social Investment and Skills window will facilitate financing of projects that strengthen the social dimension of the European Union (e.g., as described in the European Pillar of Social Rights). In particular, actions under this window shall aim at upwards convergence, reducing inequalities (including gender), and increasing resilience and inclusiveness through promoting employment including entrepreneurship and self-employment, social enterprises and social economy and innovation, social inclusion, improving citizens' health, well-being and overall quality of life and supporting a just transition to a low carbon economy.


The window will target investments in social enterprises, microfinance, training, social housing, social innovation, integration of migrants, and other sectors within the social sphere. Projects may target education, training, and health and long-term care, amongst other related themes. The window will have a special emphasis on inclusion of vulnerable people and their access to quality services. Where applicable and possible, supported services will be delivered at the local level, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ approach of moving from institutional care to community-based care.


The window will particularly target projects with a reasonable degree of (prospective) financial viability but which are not (sufficiently) delivered by the market due to higher risks, lack of collateral, not achieving optimal scale without public sector support or other market barriers. The supported projects should add additionality (e.g., not crowd out market-based offerings of the targeted social services). Given that many social sector projects are too small to attract interest from traditional private investors, grouping or ‘bundling’ of smaller projects will be encouraged. For example, bundling healthcare reforms occurring in different locations under the jurisdiction of a national or regional authority.


Organisations within EU member states are available to apply for the funding via their national managing authority and can receive technical assistance through the InvestEU Advisory Hub. In addition to financial products provided by traditional financial intermediaries, providing in-kind services may also qualify organisations, such as education institutions, or health and social care providers, to benefit indirectly from the EU guarantee through an implementing partner. Combination with contributions from donors, philanthropists, foundations and other private sector actors will also be allowed.


The InvestEU Fund shall seek to strengthen private sector engagement to help deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights, supporting, inter alia, quality employment, education and training, health, social inclusion and active participation in society. InvestEU operations will support projects from private sector organisations active in the social investment space (or who could directly benefit from social investment). Such organisations include, among others, SMEs, large corporations, cooperatives, foundations, venture philanthropists, social impact investors, education and training institutions. Private sector actors will also have the possibility to contribute to the InvestEU Fund either through direct contributions (donations, repayable and non-repayable forms of support) for increasing the provisioning of the EU guarantee or through contributions to and/or co-investments into the projects or financial intermediaries supported indirectly by the InvestEU Fund.


For more information about InvestEU and the Social Infrastructure and Skills window, please click here.

Available funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has an enormous impact on health and wellbeing of communities, has led to over-stretched health services and has serious consequences for our economies. The European Union has responded by making funding and financing available to mitigate direct and indirect impacts of the crisis. Here, we provide a quick overview of available funding and financing on the EU level, some of which may be available for strengthening health promoting services.


Click here for an overview of:

  • Emergency funds
  • Temporary Funds
  • Other initiatives for recovery investments

The EU Multiannual Financial Framework

The current EU long term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), will come to an end in 2020. Negotiations regarding the new MFF for the period 2021-2027 are under way. An overview and analysis of the latest MFF proposals will be added to this e-guide in the Summer of 2020.


European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)

The European Social Fund Plus will be the main financial instrument to strengthen Europe’s social dimension, by putting the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights into practice. It is the new 'simpler but stronger’ version of the existing European Social Fund. In the revised EC proposal in May 2020, health was separated from the ESF+ Programme and converted into EU4Health, with a nine-fold increase in funds.

ESF+ resources will be allocated to key political priorities and citizens’ concerns:

  • ESF+ programmes and projects will have to concentrate on related challenges identified under the European Semester.
  • Member States with a substantial number of young people not in employment, education or training will have to dedicate at least 15% of the ESF+ funding to measures in support of youth employment and activation of young people
  • Member States should allocate at least 25% of ESF+ funding to measures fostering social inclusion and targeting those most in need
  • A target of 4% is also set for supporting the most vulnerable.

ESF+ will be complementary to other Funds such as Erasmus, the Asylum and Migration Fund, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the Reform Support Programme.



In response to the current COVID-19 situation, the European Commission updated the MFF proposals from 2018 and proposed a new stand-alone EU Health ProgrammeEU4Health. The new much enlarged programme (compared to the previously proposed Health Strand under the ESF+) will contain two main strands:

  • Health security: a boost to EU’s preparedness for major cross-border health threats and crisis response and recovery, reinforcing national systems and strengthening of the role of the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC);
  • Resilience of health systems: supporting member states’ efforts in long-term improvements for health outcomes via a One Health approach including health promotion, disease prevention, surveillance, noncommunicable diseases, access, diagnosis and treatments, challenges of an ageing population and inequalities in health status.

The total allocated is €9.4 billion (2021-2027), with large proportion “front loaded” to be spent as soon as in the first 4 years in a context of post-pandemic recovery plans. €7.7 billion funding will come from the NewGeneration EU recovery borrowing measures, while up to €1.7 billion will come from the MFF budgetary scheme.


European Rural Development and Cohesion Fund

A modernised EU Cohesion Policy 2021-2027, the EU’s main investment policy, designed to put Europe’s countries and regions on a more equal footing by reducing disparities between the various EU regions, (will) include(s) several new key features as compared to the previous funding period. 


The European Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) (will) focus on key investment priorities, where the EU is best placed to deliver: innovation, digitisation and economic transformation (‘Smarter Europe’ and ‘Connected Europe’); greener, carbon-free Europe, implementing the Paris Agreement, the fight against climate change; delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights, quality employment, education, skills, social inclusion and equal access to healthcare (‘Social Europe’).


A focus will be placed on a more tailored, locally-led approach to regional development by investing in all European regions, according to the need (GDP-based), promoting economic, social and environmental convergence (‘Europe closer to citizens’). New criteria will be added to better reflect the reality on the ground – youth unemployment, low education level, climate change and the reception and integration of migrants. Local, urban and territorial authorities will be more involved in the management of EU funds, while increased co-financing rates for PO1 (smarter Europe) and PO2 (greener Europe) will improve ownership of EU-funded projects in regions and cities (6% of ERDF dedicated to sustainable urban development). In addition, it creates the European Urban Initiative.


Access to funds is to be simplified, with lighter control procedures, and with a single set of rules covering 7 EU funds implemented in partnership with Member States (‘Common Provision Regulation’/share management).


EU Cohesion Policy funds invest in health as a key asset for regional, urban and territorial development, in order to reduce economic and social inequalities. Investments may address a number of different areas such as ageing population, healthcare infrastructure (workforce and services), e-health, health coverage, and health promotion programmes. Specific focus may be given to support the reinforcement of crisis response capacities in health care (COVID-19-relevant).


Cohesion funding stands at 330 billion EUR, 10% less compared with 2014-2020 allocations. However, there’s also a 47.5 billion EUR top-up under a new ReactEU programme that’s part of the EU Recovery Fund.