Spending of the ESI Funds is under a framework of shared management between the Member States and the Commission.  The Certifying Authority in the Member State submits an application to the Commission requesting payment.  The Commission makes the payment to the Member State.  The Member State then distributes this money to the projects and beneficiaries (contractors) who were successful in their applications for funding via the calls published on the Managing Authority website.  Find your Managing Authority

The Commission makes three types of payments:

The Commission can also reallocate or withdraw funding from a Member State.  This is called the ‘decommitment’ of funding and can happen for example, if an Operational Programme is not achieving  its milestone targets.

More information on payments


Pre-financing payments

Initial pre-financing payments are made in 2014, 2015 and 2016 once the Commission has approved an operational programme.  If a programme is adopted in 2015 or later the earlier installments will be paid in the year of adoption[1]Initial pre-financing amounts for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are 1% of the amount of support from the funds for the entire programming period to the operational programme[2]If the Member State has been receiving financial support from 2010 under Article 122 and Article 143 TFEU or from the European Financial Stability Facility or is receiving financial assistance on 31st December 2013 in accordance with Articles 136 and 143 TFEU, the initial pre financing payment in 2015 and 2016 is 1.5% of the amount of support from the funds for the entire programming period to the operational programme[3].

[1] Article 134(1)(c) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[2] Article 134(1)(a), (b) and (c) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[3] Article 134(1)(a) and (b) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013


Interim payments

Before the first interim payment can be made, the Commission must be notified by the Member State of the designation of the managing authorities and certifying authorities[1].  In line with Article 124 of the CPR the designation of the managing authority and certifying authority is to be based on a report and an opinion of the audit authority[2]The certifying authority must submit on a regular basis an application for interim payment covering amounts entered in its accounting system in the accounting year[3]The final application for an interim payment is to be made by 31st July following the end of the previous accounting year and before the first application for interim payment for the next accounting year[4].  An interim payment cannot be made unless the annual implementation report has been sent to the Commission in accordance with the fund specific rules[5]Article 142 CPR sets out conditions for the suspension of all or part of interim payments at the level of priorities or operational programmes by the Commission. 

[1] Article 135 Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[2] Article 124(2) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[3] Article 135(1) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[4] Article 135(2) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[5] Article 135(4) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013


Payment of final balance

The final accounting year is from 1st July 2023 to 30th June 2024.  Documents outlined in Article 138 of the CPR must be submitted together with a final implementation report for each Operational Programme to receive final payment from the Commission[1].

[1] Article 141(1) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013


The ‘decommitment’ procedure encourages financial discipline in the Member States and is a necessary part of the mechanism for the allocation of the performance reserve[1]Under application of the performance framework in line with Article 22 of the CPR the Commission will decommit funding where priorities have not achieved their milestones[2].  The principles, procedure and exceptions to decommitment are set out in Articles 86 to 88 of the CPR.  If any part of the initial and annual pre-financing or interim payments have not been used by the 31st December of the third financial year following when those payments were first made to the Member State, the Commission shall decommit the unused funds[3].  In addition, if a payment application drawn up in accordance with Article 131 CPR has not been submitted in accordance with Article 135 CPR the Commission may decommit funding[4].

[1] recital 73 and 74 Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[2] Article 76 Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[3] Article 136(1) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013

[4] Article 136(1) Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013


More information on payments
  1. Legal Basis: Articles 129-136 Common Provision Regulation (EU) No. 1303/2013.

2. The website of the Directorate General for Regional Policy (DG Regio) publishes all the documents for calls for tenders and calls for proposals relating to Cohesion Policy.  DG Regio publish the annual work programme in the area of procurement and financing decisions, calls for expression of interest in the area of public procurement and a list of contractors and beneficiaries who are awarded contracts.

3. Briefing Note 3 ‘Spending the ESI Funds’

This informative paper provides information on how the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) are spent including the types of payments made by the European Commission and the role of the Member State management and control bodies. The large majority of ESI Funds are spent through public procurement. The process and procedure of public procurement in respect of the ESI Funds is set out together with new public procurement Regulations that introduce greater opportunities for small to medium enterprises and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to access 2014-2020 funding. Challenges encountered in the spending of ESI Funds in previous programming periods are highlighted, with special attention to the findings of the European Court of Auditors. Conditions on spending ESI Funds introduced by the Common Provision Regulation 1303/2014 and initiatives of the Commission to support better spending of the ESI Funds are presented.

Clarification of terms – Beneficiaries and Participants:

ESI Funding for projects are applied for and run by a wide variety of organisations known as beneficiaries, including public administrations, workers’ and employers’ organisations, NGOs, charities and companies.

The individuals who take part in an ESI Funded project are called participants; these include, for example, older workers training for new skills, young job-seekers getting work placements, or people seeking advice on how to set up their own business.