1. BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
The general context for this call for proposals is defined in section 3.4 of the 2017 CEF Telecom Work Programme1 as published on the call page on the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) website.2 The background and rationale for this call for proposals are defined in section 3.4.1 of the 2017 Work Programme.
2. PRIORITIES & OBJECTIVES
2.1 Priority outcomes
The priority outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in section 184.108.40.206 of the 2017 Work Programme. The call aims to promote the uptake of compliant eInvoicing solutions by public and private entities, which will facilitate the implementation of the European standard (EN) on electronic invoicing and the set of ancillary standardisation deliverables, as mandated by the eInvoicing Directive.3
Three activities will be supported under this call:
All proposals should address eDelivery for the purpose of document delivery by deploying the eDelivery Building Block or proving the use of eDelivery through a service provider for cross-border communication as the minimal accepted scope. Support for the integration of eDelivery services will only be awarded if carried out in conjunction with activity 1 or 2.
If the deployment of eDelivery is included in the proposal, support will be given to activities aiming to:
deploy access points and/or to operate access points for one year;
deploy Service Metadata Publishers and/or to operate Service Metadata Publishers
for one year;
upgrade data exchange solutions (Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS), Open-Source
Software (OSS) and other) to support, and therefore fully comply with, the CEF eDelivery standards. A typical upgrade involves adding or configuring functionality to the data exchange solution to support the CEF eDelivery standards (e.g. encryption algorithm, four-corner model support, support of dynamic discovery, etc.).
For the purposes of this call, an Access Point must be an implementation of the e-SENS AS4 Profile (developed by e-SENS and now maintained by CEF).4 The Service Metadata Publisher (SMP) must be an implementation of the SMP Specification developed by e- SENS on top of the OASIS SMP Specification, also maintained by CEF.5
Results expected from the financial assistance
The benefits and expected outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in sections 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 of the 2017 Work Programme. In general, this call will help to increase the uptake and use of the CEF eInvoicing DSI by supporting public entities, especially regional and local authorities, in meeting the requirements of the eInvoicing Directive. An additional benefit is to support service providers to implement the EN into their solutions.
Date of publication of call for proposals
28 June 2017
Deadline for the submission of proposals
28 November 2017 (17:00.00 Brussels time)
Evaluation of proposals
December 2017-February 2018 (indicative)
Consultation of the CEF Committee
March 2018 (indicative)
Adoption of the Selection Decision
April 2018 (indicative)
Preparation and signature of grant agreements
by end of August 2018
The indicative amount to be allocated on the basis of this call for proposals to projects of common interest in the field of trans-European telecommunications for the eInvoicing generic services is €10 million.
5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
Proposals must be:
Submitted electronically in the TENtec Information System eSubmission module.6 In this respect, proposals or part(s) of proposals submitted by e-mail or hard copy will not be admissible.
Submitted by the submission deadline (see sections 3 on Timetable and 12.2 on Submission process).
Complete, i.e. no parts of the application form (A, B, C or D) are missing.
Duly signed by the applicant(s).
Failure to comply with any of these requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.
6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
6.1 Eligible applicants
In accordance with the 2017 Work Programme and pursuant to Article 9 of the CEF Regulation,7 only those proposals submitted by one of the following types of applicants are eligible:
One or more Member States;
organisations, Joint Undertakings,8 or public or private undertakings or bodies established in Member States.
Proposals must be submitted by consortia consisting of at least two entities from one or more Member State(s).
In accordance with section 4.3.1 of the 2017 Work Programme, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) may participate9 in the call for proposals, even when not explicitly mentioned in the Work Programme text, with the same rights, obligations and requirements as EU Member States. At the time of call publication, these conditions apply to Norway and Iceland only.10
Third countries and third country entities
Where necessary to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest and where duly motivated, third countries and entities established in third countries may participate in actions contributing to the projects of common interest. They may not receive funding under the CEF Regulation, except where it is indispensable to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest.
Acceding states and candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy may also participate in the sector of the CEF covering telecommunications infrastructure in accordance with agreements signed with the EU. As at the time of call publication no such agreements have been signed, the same conditions as for third countries apply to acceding states and candidate countries.
Third countries and entities established in third countries may only participate as part of a consortium with applicants from EU/EEA countries. The application must contain the agreement of the Member State concerned by the proposed Action and a declaration from the European partner involved in the proposal on why the participation of the third country applicant is indispensable. Applicants that are entities established in a third country must also provide proof of the support of the third country authorities concerned by the action.
Applicants without legal personality
Proposals may be submitted by entities which do not have legal personality under the applicable national law, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf and offer a guarantee for the protection of the EU's financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
Proposals submitted by natural persons are not eligible.
Applicants may designate affiliated entities within the meaning of Article 122(2)(b) of the Financial Regulation,11 for the purpose of supporting the implementation of the action submitted for funding. Such affiliated entities must comply with the eligibility criteria for applicants.
Member State agreement
Any applicant that cannot provide the agreement of the EU Member State or EEA country concerned will not be eligible.
6.2 Exclusion criteria
In line with Articles 106 to 108 and 131 of the Financial Regulation and Article 141 of the Rules of Application,12 applicants will be excluded from participating in the call for proposals procedure if they are in any of the following situations:
(a) the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;
(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;
(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:
(i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;
(ii) entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;
(iii) violating intellectual property rights;
(iv) attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission/Agency during the award procedure;
(v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;
(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:
(i) fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;
(ii) corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;
(iii) participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;
(iv) money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;
(v) terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;
(vi) child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;
(e) the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;
(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;
(g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to:
(i) facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;
(ii) non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;
(iii) decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations;
(iv) decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law;
(v) decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.
If an applicant/affiliated entity declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above, it should indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) above.
Rejection from the call for proposals
Grants will not be awarded to applicants who:
a) are in an exclusion situation established in accordance with the list above;13
b) have misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information;
c) were previously involved in the preparation of call for proposal documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.
The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities. Applicants and their affiliated entities, if applicable, must certify that they are not in one of the situations listed above.
Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation.
6.3 Eligible actions
In line with Article 7 of the CEF Regulation, only actions contributing to "projects of common interest" as identified in the Telecom Guidelines14 shall be eligible for support through EU financial aid in the form of grants.
Please note that failure to comply with any of the eligibility criteria indicated above will lead to the rejection of the application.
7. SELECTION CRITERIA
The selection criteria are referred to in Annex 2 of the Work Programme. The financial and operational capacity of applicants and designated affiliated entities will be assessed as specified below.
The requirement to demonstrate financial and operational capacity also applies to designated affiliated entities only where, according to the proposal, the affiliated entity(ies) will be the only one(s) implementing the proposed Action.
Exceptions: The requirement for applicants to demonstrate their financial and operational capacity does not apply to Member States, public sector undertakings or bodies established in the EU/EEA countries (Norway and Iceland), third countries, international organisations, European Economic Interest Groupings (EEIG)15 in which at least one member is a public sector body and Joint Undertakings.
7.1 Financial capacity
Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain the proposed activities throughout the period during which the action is being carried out and to participate in its funding.
Applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application, according to the amount of CEF funding requested:
Low value grants (≤ €60,000):
- a declaration on their honour.
Grants > €60,000:
- the completed Financial Capacity Check form;
- the profit and loss account, the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the
accounts were closed;
- for newly created entities and/or applicants that do not have financial data available for
the last financial year, the applicant must provide a letter of support from a third party (another company such as the parent company or from another applicant in the same proposal). The letter of support must also be accompanied by the Financial Capacity Check form completed by the party providing support, including the relevant annexes (financial statements for the last year) and showing a 'satisfactory' or 'good' ratio analysis.
Grants ≥ €750,000:
- the completed Financial Capacity Check form
- the profit and loss account, the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the accounts were closed;
- an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available
In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above thresholds apply by applicant.
7.2 Operational capacity
Applicants must have the professional competencies and appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed Action for which the grant is sought. To assess this capacity, applicants must provide the following documents:
description of the profiles of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the action (e.g. accompanied by a curriculum vitae);
the organisation's activity reports for at least the last year;
If compliant with the above-mentioned requirements, information submitted by applicants who have benefited from CEF Telecom support since 2014 may be taken into account in the evaluation of their operational capacity.
Alignment with the objectives and activities required for the deployment of the Digital Service Infrastructure described in Chapter 3 of the Work Programme and priorities set in section 2 of the call text.
8. AWARD CRITERIA
Proposals will be evaluated against the following award criteria, which are defined in Annex 2 of the 2017 Work Programme. These three criteria are Relevance, Quality and efficiency of the implementation and Impact and are described below:
Quality and efficiency of the implementation
Coherence and effectiveness of the work plan, including appropriateness of the allocation of tasks and resources.
Quality and relevant experience of the individual participants and, if more than one beneficiary, of the consortium as a whole (including complementarity, balance).
Extent to which the proposal demonstrates support from national authorities, industry and NGOs (when relevant).
Appropriate attention to security, privacy, inclusiveness and accessibility (when relevant).
Impact and sustainability
Quality of the approach to facilitate wider deployment and take-up of the proposed Actions.
A score will be applied to each of the three award criteria on a scale from 0 (insufficient) to 5 (excellent). The threshold for individual criteria is 3. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, is 10. Only proposals with a score on or above these thresholds (individual and overall) may be recommended for funding.
At the end of the evaluation by independent experts, all evaluated proposals will be ranked, according to the scores obtained for each of the award criteria as indicated above.
If necessary, a priority order for proposals which have obtained the same score within a ranked list will be determined. The following approach will be applied successively for every group of ex aequo proposals16 requiring prioritisation, starting with the highest scored group, and continuing in descending order:
Proposals submitted by organisations established in an eligible country which is not otherwise covered by more highly-ranked proposals, will be considered to have the highest priority (geographical coverage).
The proposals identified under (i), if any, will themselves be prioritised according to the scores they have been awarded for the Relevance criterion. When these scores are equal, priority will be based on scores for the Impact and Sustainability criterion.
9. COMPLIANCE WITH EU LAW
In accordance with Article 23 of the CEF Regulation, only actions in conformity with EU law, in particular in the area of public procurement, and which are in line with the relevant EU policies in the area of telecommunications infrastructure shall be financed.
10. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
Other sources of financing
Pursuant to Article 129 of the Financial Regulation, an action may only receive one grant from the
EU budget. Under no circumstances will the same costs be financed twice by the EU budget.
To ensure this, applicants must indicate in the application the sources and amounts of EU funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action, as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.
In this respect, any proposed Action or part(s) thereof that receives or has received EU funding under the CEF or other EU Programmes (e.g. European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), Horizon 2020, etc.) will not be funded under this call.
10.1.2 Non-profit principle
In accordance with Article 125 of the Financial Regulation, grants shall not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action. Where a profit is made, the Commission/INEA will be entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred by the beneficiary to carry out the action.17
Pursuant to Article 130 of the Financial Regulation, no grants may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed. A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun provided that the applicant(s) can demonstrate the need for starting the action prior to the signature of the grant agreement.
10.2 Form of the grant
10.2.1 Reimbursement of costs actually incurred
Grants to be awarded further to this call for proposals will take the form of reimbursement of a specified proportion of the eligible costs actually incurred.18
In line with Article 10(4) of the CEF Regulation, the EU financial assistance to be granted under this call for proposals shall not exceed 75% of the total eligible costs of the action.
The Commission reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant.
10.2.2 Eligible costs
Eligible costs are costs actually incurred by the beneficiary of a grant, which meet all the criteria laid down in Article 126(2) of the Financial Regulation.
The beneficiary's internal accounting and auditing procedures must permit direct reconciliation of the costs and revenue declared in respect of the action with the corresponding accounting statements and supporting documents.
The same criteria apply to the costs incurred by designated affiliated entities and implementing bodies.
Eligible costs may take the form of direct costs, (those specific costs that are directly linked to the implementation of the action and can therefore be attributed directly to it) and indirect costs (those costs which are not specific costs directly linked to the implementation of the action and can therefore not be attributed directly to it). Indirect costs are eligible for flat rate funding fixed at 7% of total direct eligible costs (minus subcontracting costs).
Applicants' attention is drawn to points (3) to (8) of Article 8 of the CEF Regulation concerning the eligibility of costs. The full costs of purchase of equipment and infrastructure which are treated as capital expenditure are eligible under this call.
Costs may be eligible at the earliest from the date on which an application is submitted.19
In line with the first subparagraph of Article 8(7) of the CEF Regulation and Article 126(3)(c) of the Financial Regulation, VAT paid by beneficiaries of grants awarded following this call for proposals is eligible except:
deductible VAT (VAT paid by the beneficiary for the implementation of taxed activities or exempt activities with right of deduction);
VAT paid for the implementation of activities engaged in as a public authority by the beneficiary where it is a Member State, regional or local government authority of a Member State or another body governed by public law of a Member State.
Financial support to third parties
The applications may not envisage provision of financial support to third parties.
Detailed information on eligible and ineligible costs is included in Article II.19 of the model grant agreement, which is available on the call webpage.
10.3 Payment arrangements
No pre-financing or interim payment will be made.
The final amount of the grant to be awarded to the beneficiary is established after completion of the action, upon approval of the request for payment including, where applicable, the supporting documents as described in the model grant agreement.
10.4 Indicative duration
The indicative duration of an action proposed under this call is 12 months.
11. GRANT AGREEMENT
Applicant(s) will be invited by INEA to sign a grant agreement drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of CEF funding, if the proposal is selected for funding. The standard model grant agreement, available on the call page, is not negotiable and will be signed in English.
Submitting an application implies the acceptance of the terms and conditions of the model grant agreement. Applicants are recommended to carefully read this document and its annexes before submitting an application.
A coordinator must be designated for multi-beneficiary actions. The coordinator will be the contact point for INEA and will have, inter alia, the responsibility for receiving the payment(s) and coordinating the reporting exercise(s). It is strongly recommended that beneficiaries sign an internal cooperation agreement regarding their operation and coordination, including all internal aspects related to the management of the beneficiaries and the implementation of the action.
12. PROCEDURE FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
All practical information on this call for proposals and the evaluation process is detailed in the Guide for Applicants. It is available, together with the application forms, model grant agreement, the 2017 Work Programme, and other relevant documents on the call webpage: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef-telecom/apply-funding/2017-cef- telecom-call-einvoicing-cef-tc-2017-3.
Applicants are requested to carefully read all call-related documents, including the detailed instructions given in the Guide for Applicants on how to complete their applications.
12.1 Application forms
Proposals must be submitted using the application forms provided on the call webpage at the link above. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications in English.
Proposals must be signed by the applicant(s) or its duly authorized representative and must be perfectly legible so that there can be no doubt as to words and figures.
The applicant(s) specified in application form part A will automatically be considered as the beneficiary(ies) if the proposal is selected for funding. If applicants designate affiliated entities within the meaning of Article 122 of the Financial Regulation to support the implementation of the submitted action, information on these affiliated entities must be encoded in application form part
A, and any relevant supporting documents must be provided.
Applicants who already received CEF funding under the 2015-1 and/or 2016-3 eInvoicing calls and/or the 2015-1 and/or 2016-2 eDelivery calls and who plan to apply again under this call must clearly explain in the relevant section of application form part D of their proposal (notably section 1 and 2.1) how their proposed Action will differ from the action funded under the previous call.
For multi-applicant proposals, a coordinating applicant must be designated.
12.2 Submission process
Proposals must be submitted electronically using the TENtec eSubmission module, accessible via the following link: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/tentec/grant/esubmission before the call deadline: Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 17:00.00 Brussels time (see also section 5 on Admissibility requirements).
Application form part A is automatically generated by the eSubmission module. Application form parts B, C and D must be downloaded from the call webpage at the link above and duly completed. Once final, these must be uploaded into the TENtec eSubmission module. The same applies to any other annexes or supporting documents accompanying the proposal.
Applicants' attention is drawn to the fact that for application form part A, only the information encoded in the TENtec eSubmission module will be taken into account for the evaluation (notwithstanding the requirement to upload signed versions of application forms part A2.2 and A2.3). For the other forms and documents, only the last version uploaded in the TENtec eSubmission module will be taken into account for the evaluation.
Any parts of the application that require signatures of applicants or relevant authorities must be scanned and uploaded into the TENtec eSubmission module. Applicants must be able to provide the original documents and send them to the Commission/INEA services upon request.
Advanced electronic signatures based on a qualified certificate20 as defined by the eIDAS Regulation21 and which comply with the signature formats specified in Commission Implementing Decision 2015/1506 will be accepted. If a document is e-signed, a printable version of the document must be uploaded in the TENtec eSubmission module.
13. INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS
Further information or clarifications on the call for proposals will be published on the call webpage. Please refer to all of the following documents, available on the call webpage, when preparing the application:
2017 Work Programme
Application form (Parts A, B, C and D)
Guide for Applicants
FAQs published on the call page
Model grant agreement
EU Financial Regulation and Rules of application
Commission Decision on the reimbursement of personnel costs
Applicants are recommended to consult the webpage and the INEA website/Twitter feed (@inea_eu) regularly until the deadline for submission of proposals.
Questions related to this call must be addressed to the call helpdesk: INEA-CEF-Telecom- Calls@ec.europa.eu.
The answers to submitted questions will be published in a FAQ list accessible via the call webpage, to ensure equal treatment of all potential applicants. Questions related to the call should be submitted at the latest by 14 November 2017 to ensure sufficient time for the last update of the FAQs by 21 November 2017. However, individual technical questions related to TENtec eSubmission module will be treated until the call deadline.
Questions which are specific to a particular proposal and for which the answer would provide a comparative advantage to the applicant will not be answered.
Please note that proposals must not be sent to the helpdesk e-mail address.
14. PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA
The reply to any call for proposals involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and CV). Such data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.
Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested will be processed solely for the purpose of evaluation of proposals in accordance with the call for proposals and in case of successful applications, for the purpose of grant management including evaluations of the CEF by INEA as data controller for this purpose. Personal data included in the application (name, title, organisation, contact information) may be shared within the limits set forth by Regulation 45/2001 with external experts whose contribution is necessary for evaluation of proposals and grants and with the concerned Member State representatives in the CEF Coordination Committee on a need to know basis in view of their role in the approval of proposals selected for funding, as well as responsibilities under the CEF Regulation.
Details concerning the processing of an applicant's personal data are available in the privacy statement on the call webpage: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef- telecom/apply-funding/2017-cef-telecom-call-einvoicing-cef-tc-2017-3.
An applicant's personal data (e.g. name, given name if natural person, address, legal form, registration number and name and given name of the persons with powers of representation, decision-making or control, if legal person) may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES) established by the Commission, should the beneficiary be in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106(1) and 107 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, as amended by Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 2015/1929 (OJ L 286, 30.10.2015, p. 1).
For more information on EDES (including the grounds for being registered in the database), please see http://ec.europa.eu/budget/explained/management/protecting/protect_en.cfm
and the privacy statement at http://ec.europa.eu/budget/library/explained/management/protecting/privacy_statement_edes_en. pdf.
Applicants are informed that, to ensure that the EU’s financial interests are protected, their personal data may be communicated to internal audit services, the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors, the body specialising in financial irregularities (Financial Irregularities Panel) or the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).