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2019 CEF Transport call for proposals - Reduction of rail freight noise
Deadline: 24 Apr 2019   - 32 days

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1. SUBJECT

In the context of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)1 and on the basis of the annual work programme2, a call for proposals is launched under the general envelope of the CEF.

This call for proposals addresses the following objective of the CEF Regulation:

 Funding Objective 2: ensuring sustainable and efficient transport systems in the long run, with a view to preparing for expected future transport flows, as well as enabling all modes of transport to be decarbonised through transition to innovative low-carbon and energy-efficient transport technologies, while optimising safety.

 

2. OBJECTIVES AND PRIORITIES

This call for proposals addresses the priority "Reduction of Rail Freight Noise, including by retrofitting of existing rolling stock", as described in section 2.2 of the annual work programme, falling within Funding Objective 2 of the CEF Regulation described above.

 

3. RESULTS EXPECTED FROM THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

The results expected under this call are defined in section 1.4 of the annual work programme.

Regulation (EU) 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility, amending Regulation (EU) 913/2010 and repealing Regulations (EC) 680/2007 and (EC) 67/2010, OJ L 348 of 20 December 2013, p.129.
Commission Implementing Decision C(2018)6599 of 12 October 2018 on the financing of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) - Transport sector of and the adoption of the annual work programme for 2019.

 

4. INDICATIVE BUDGET

The indicative amount to be allocated on the basis of this call for proposals is EUR 35 million.

 

5. TIMETABLE

Date of publication of call for proposals
5 December 2018

Opening of submission
8 January 2019

Deadline for the submission of proposals
24 April 2019 (17:00:00 Brussels time)

Deadline for the submission of translations (if applicable)
2 May 2019 (17:00:00 Brussels time)

Evaluation of proposals
April 2019 – July 2019 (indicative)

Consultation of CEF Coordination Committee; information of European Parliament
September 2019 (indicative)

Adoption of Selection Decision
October 2019 (indicative)

Preparation and signature of individual grant agreements
As of October 2019 (indicative)

 

6. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Proposals must be:

  •   submitted electronically in the TENtec Information System eSubmission module. In this respect, proposals or part(s) of proposals submitted by email or in hard copy shall not be admissible.

  •   submitted by the deadline for submission of proposals (see sections 5. "Timetable" and 14.2."Submission process").

  •   complete (i.e. application form (A, B, C and D) are uploaded in the TENtec).

  •   submitted using only the application forms (A, B, C and D) provided on the call webpage or (for application form part A) generated by the TENtec eSubmission module.

  •   duly signed by the applicant(s).

Failure to comply with any of these requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.

 

7. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
7.1 Eligible applicants
General eligibility criteria
Pursuant to Article 9 of the CEF Regulation, only those proposals submitted by one of the following types of applicants are eligible:

  •   One or more Member States; and/or

  •   With the agreement of the Member State(s) concerned, international organisations, joint undertakings, or public or private undertakings or bodies established in an EU Member State.

Neighbouring/third countries and entities established in neighbouring/third countries

Neighbouring/third countries and entities established in neighbouring/third countries may participate in Actions contributing to projects of common interest where necessary in order to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest. They may not receive financial assistance except where it is indispensable to the achievement of the objectives of a given project of common interest.

In such cases and pursuant to Article 8(1) of the TEN-T Guidelines3, applications may be presented by neighbouring/third countries or entities established in neighbouring/third countries, with the agreement of a Member State concerned.

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 guarantee for the protection of the Union's financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.

Natural persons

Proposals submitted by natural persons are not eligible.

Affiliated entities

Applicants may designate affiliated entities within the meaning of Article 187 of the Financial Regulation, for the purpose of supporting the implementation of the Action submitted for funding. Such affiliated entities must comply with the eligibility criteria for applicants as specified in this section.

Member State agreement

Any applicant that cannot provide the agreement of the Member State(s) concerned shall not be eligible.

 

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.16.3.1 (a) (change of the legal situation of the beneficiary) of the grant agreement.

Regulation (EU) 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and repealing Decision 661/2010/EU, OJ L 348 of 20 December 2013, p.1.

 

7.2 Exclusion criteria4

An applicant shall be excluded from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

a)  the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national legislation or regulations;

b)  it has been established by a final judgement or a final administrative decision that it is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with applicable law;

c)  it has been established by a final judgement or a final administrative decision that it 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 intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

  1. 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;

  2. entering into agreement with other persons with the aim of distorting competition;

  3. violating intellectual property rights;

  4. attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Agency during the award procedure;

  5. attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

d) it has been established by a final judgement that it is guilty of the following:

  1. fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

  2. corruption, as defined in Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of EU Member States, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;

  3. conduct related to a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

  4. money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4)

  5. terrorist 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;

  6. child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as referred to 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 the 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 it has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;

g)  it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;

h)  it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);

i)  for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant for the is subject to:

  1. 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;

  2. 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;

  3. facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;

  4. information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;

  5. 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; or

  6. decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU Institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

Remedial measures

If an applicant/affiliated entity declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above, it must 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

A grant shall not be awarded to an applicant who:

  1. a)  is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with the list above; or

  2. b)  has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information; or

  3. c)  were previously involved in the preparation of calls for proposal documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

These same exclusion criteria also 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 sanctions may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.

7.3 Eligible Actions

General eligibility criteria

Only projects which can be qualified as projects of common interest as defined in Article 7 of the TEN-T Guidelines may receive Union financial assistance.

Only Actions addressing the priority "Rail Freight Noise" are eligible under this call. Projects have to comply with the following provisions of Article 7 of the TEN-T guidelines:

  1. (1)  contribute to the objectives falling within at least two of the four categories set out in Article 4 of the TEN-T guidelines;

  2. (2)  comply with Chapter II of the TEN-T guidelines;

  3. (3)  be economically viable on the basis of a socio-economic cost-benefit analysis;

  4. (4)  demonstrate European added value.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Pursuant to Article 10 of the CEF Regulation and in view of assessing the socio-economic and financial viability of the proposed Actions, all proposals for works or including both studies and works must be accompanied by a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA).

Proposals addressing the priority "Rail Freight Noise" do not have to be accompanied by a CBA, as the amount of the financial assistance to be granted, taking the form of unit contribution, is determined in advance by the Commission, based on an overarching CBA included in the impact assessment carried out by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) as part of its recommendation on the amendment of Commission Regulation (EU) No

 

8. SELECTION CRITERIA

The selection criteria are detailed in section 2.3.2 of the annual work programme. The operational and financial capacity of applicants will be assessed as specified below.

The need to demonstrate financial and operational capacity does not apply to applicants which are:

  •   a Member State,

  •   a neighbouring/third country,

  •   a public sector body established in the EU (i.e. regional or local authority, body governed by public law or association formed by one or several such authorities or one or several such bodies governed by public law),

  •   international organisation6,

  •   a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) established in line with Council Regulation (EEC) 2137/85 of 25 July 1985, in which at least one member is a public body, or

  •   a Joint Undertaking in line with eligibility criteria established under Article 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

    The requirement to demonstrate operational and financial capacity also applies to affiliated entities only where, according to the proposal, the affiliated entity(ies) will be the only one(s) implementing the proposed Action.

8.1 Financial capacity

The applicant(s) 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.

Together with the application, applicant(s) must provide their financial statements certified by an external auditor for the last financial year for which the accounts have been closed.

If an applicant has been operating for less than one financial year, the financial statements may be replaced by a letter of support obtained from a third party (e.g. the applicant's parent company) or by another applicant of the proposed Action, accompanied by the financial statements of the party providing the support. The template for such letter of support is available in the form to be completed for the financial capacity check.

8.2 Operational capacity

The applicant(s) must have the operational and technical competencies and capacity required to complete the Action for which the grant is sought and must provide appropriate documents and information attesting to that capacity, such as:

  •   description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation (e.g. accompanied by curriculum vitae);

  •   the organisations’ activity reports for at least the last year;

  •   a list of previous Actions and activities performed in the field of TEN-T infrastructure

Actions of the same kind;

  •   an inventory of the technical equipment, tools or facilities and patents at the disposal of the applicant and relevant for the Action.

If compliant with the abovementioned requirements, the information submitted by applicants who benefited from TEN-T support as from 2004 or CEF support as from 2014 may be taken into account in the evaluation of these applicants' operational capacity.

 

9. AWARD CRITERIA

Proposals failing to comply with the admissibility and/or eligibility criteria will not be further evaluated.

The award criteria are outlined in Section 2.3.3 of the annual work programme. For the purpose of the evaluation these criteria are specified as follows:

Relevance: This refers to the contribution of the proposed Action to the TEN-T priorities as laid out in the TEN-T Guidelines, the funding priorities as laid down in the CEF Regulation and specific priorities and objectives described in the annual work programme and addressed by the call for proposals.

In addition, the following aspects will be assessed under the relevance criterion:

  • –  the European added value as defined in point (d) of Article 3 of the TEN-T Guidelines;

  • –  contribution to innovation, sustainable transport and decarbonisation.

Maturity: This refers to the state of preparation of the proposed Action and the readiness to start the implementation of the proposed activities. This will be determined by the degree of financial maturity and completion of preparatory steps as well as the conditions required for the start of the proposed Action. Proposed Actions that have received political commitments, completed a number of administrative procedures and committed financial resources, as well as proposed Actions which involve the final steps of implementation, can be considered as demonstrating strong maturity. Maturity will also be evidenced by low uncertainly/risks about the start of the Action. In particular the maturity of the Action in the project development will be assessed. Proposed Actions should be ready to start, at the latest, within eighteen months after the closure of the call.

When assessing the maturity of the proposed Actions particular attention shall be given to a balanced planning of the activities and budget spread over the duration of Action, in particular the planning of the number of wagons to be retrofitted per year.

 

Impact: This refers to the expected effect of the EU financial support on the financial viability of an economically and socially desirable investment. This assessment will be based on the information included in the application.

Quality: This refers to the soundness of the proposed Action. This will be determined by the coherence between the objectives of the proposed Action, the proposed activities, the planned resources, and the appropriateness of the project management processes. Under this criterion, the capacity for the Action to be completed in accordance with the proposed timeline, implementation plans and the technical specifications will be assessed. In particular, the soundness of the implementation plan proposed will be assessed. Other aspects related to the quality of the proposed Action include the soundness of control procedures, quality management and risk management during the implementation of the proposed Action; plans for monitoring, evaluation and internal/external audit of the proposed Action, and publicity regarding the financial support from the CEF. Additionally, the completeness and clarity of the information provided by the applicant(s) will also be taken into account during the assessment of this criterion.

Applicants are requested to answer to all the applicable questions in the application forms in order to provide relevant information for assessing the above blocks of award criteria.

Each block of award criteria will be given a score on a scale from 0 (insufficient) to 5 (excellent). A proposal must obtain at least 3 points for each block of award criteria to be recommended for funding.

 

10. FINAL SELECTION PROCESS

During the final selection process, the Commission will in particular take into account the following aspects, as appropriate:

  •   The contribution of the proposed Action to the balanced development of the network,

  •   The complementarity of the proposed Action with other Union funded projects, in view of optimising the impact of investments already made in the region/country/global project,

  •   The comparative Union added value of the proposed Action in relation to other proposed Actions,

  •   Any identified/identifiable risks of double-funding from other Union sources,

  •   Budgetary constraints.

In exceptional and duly justified cases, and on the basis of the above-mentioned aspects, the Commission may recommend for funding a proposal that has obtained less than 3 points in one or more blocks of award criteria. In the same way, it may decide to not recommend for funding a proposal that has obtained at least 3 points for each block of award criteria.

 

11. COMPLIANCE WITH EU LAW

In accordance with Article 23 of the CEF Regulation, only Actions in conformity with EU law and which are in line with the relevant EU policies, in particular, in the areas of interoperability, environmental protection7, competition and public procurement, shall be financed.

 

12. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
12.1 General principles
12.1.1 Non-cumulative award
An action may only receive one grant from the EU budget

Under no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. To ensure this, applicants shall indicate in the grant application the sources and amounts of Union funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action or for its (the applicant's) functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.

In that respect, any proposed Action or part thereof that receive or have already received EU funding under the CEF or other EU Programmes (i.e. TEN-T, Marco Polo II, Cohesion Fund, FP7, Horizon 2020, ESIF, etc.) will not be funded under this call.

12.1.2 No profit principle

For projects generating income, the no-profit principle applies, as defined in Article 192 of the Financial Regulation.

12.1.3 Non-retroactivity

A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate in the grant application the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed.

In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

12.2 Funding form

12.2.1 Unit contributions

Grants to be awarded further to this call for proposals will take the form of unit contributions, as provided in Article 125(1)(c) of the Financial Regulation. Unit contributions are authorised by the Commission decision adopted on 3 September 20188, which is available on the call page for information of applicants:

a) Per S-type wagon: EUR 250

b) Per SS-type wagon: EUR 600

The Commission reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant.

The wagon retrofitting related tasks will be eligible, at the earliest, from the last date on which an application is submitted and, at the latest, to the date of completion of the Action, which should be 31 December 2023 at the latest.

12.2.2 Payment arrangements

A single pre-financing payment corresponding to 40% of the maximum grant amount awarded will be made within 30 days after the last party signs the grant agreement. No interim payment may be made.

In the event that the beneficiary's financial capacity is not satisfactory, the pre-financing payment(s) may be subject to the receipt of a financial guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre-financing payment to be made.

The financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the EU Member States. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, INEA may agree that a bank or financial institution established in a third country may provide the guarantee if the bank or financial institution is considered to offer equivalent security and characteristics as those offered by a bank or financial institution established in a Member State. Amounts blocked in bank accounts will not be accepted as financial guarantees.

The guarantee may be replaced by a joint or several guarantees provided by third parties or by a joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of an Action that are parties to the same grant agreement. The guarantee will be released when the pre-financing is cleared against the interim payment, if applicable, and/or the balance of payment(s) made, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement.

In the event that the beneficiary's financial capacity is not satisfactory, a limited joint and several financial liability for recoveries may be applied in accordance with the terms and conditions of the model grant agreement.

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.

For multi-beneficiary Actions, a coordinator must be designated. 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 proposed Action. Such internal cooperation agreements shall not undermine, under any circumstances, the terms and conditions of the model grant agreement.

 

13. MODEL GRANT AGREEMENT

Applicant(s) will be invited to sign the grant agreement if a proposal is selected for funding. The standard model grant agreement 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, available on the call page. Applicants are invited to carefully read this document and its annexes before submitting an application.

 

14. 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 annual work programme, the CEF Regulation, the TEN-T Guidelines, and other relevant documents, on the call page, accessible via the following link:

https://ec.europa.eu/inea/connecting-europe-facility/cef-transport/apply-funding/2019-cef- transport-calls-proposals.

Applicants are requested to carefully read all call-related documents, including the instructions given in the Guide for Applicants and other guidance documents and information, in particular the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), and use the checklists.

Documents available on the call page may be updated while the call is open. Applicants are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the call updates, via the form available on the call page itself, in order to receive a notification whenever the call page is updated.

14.1 Application forms

Proposals must be submitted using the application forms provided on the call page at the link above. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications in the English language as the evaluation of proposals is entirely conducted in English.

Notwithstanding, applicants also have the possibility to submit their proposal in another EU official language together with an English translation9. The latter will be used for the evaluation.

The applicant(s) specified in the 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 187 of the Financial Regulation to support the implementation of the proposed Action, the information on these affiliated entities must be encoded in the application form part A, and any relevant supporting documents must be provided.

14.2 Submission process

Proposals must be submitted electronically using the TENtec eSubmission module at the following link: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/tentec/grant/esubmission/ before the call deadline: 24 April 2019 at 17:00.00 Brussels time (see also Section 6. "Admissibility requirements").

Application form part A is automatically generated by the TENtec eSubmission module. Application form parts B, C and D must be downloaded from the call page at the link above and duly completed. Application form part D may not exceed 40 pages. Once final, these must be uploaded into the TENtec eSubmission module. The same applies to any 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 form that require signatures of applicants or relevant authorities must be scanned and uploaded into the TENtec eSubmission module. Information included in the uploaded forms must correspond to the information included in the TENtec eSubmission module. The signed forms must clearly indicate to which proposal and to which applicant they correspond and they must be perfectly legible so that there can be no doubt as to words and figures. Advanced electronic signatures based on a qualified certificate as defined by Regulation 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS Regulation) and which comply with the signature formats specified in Commission Implementing Decision 2015/1506 shall be accepted.

Applicants must be able to provide the original documents and send them to the Commission/Agency services upon request.



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