1. IPA II EUROPEAN INTEGRATION FACILITY 2014
Accession to the European Union is a key political objective for the Western Balkans and Turkey. This requires the negotiation and ratification of an Accession Treaty. However, the Treaty itself is not enough to make accession a success. As part of the process, candidate countries go through a complex transformation. New legislation and principles have to be agreed, implemented and monitored effectively in order to advance the country towards EU accession.
The role of civil society organisations in giving citizens a voice and holding governments accountable in the European Integration process is crucial. Their work contribute to the necessary institutional, political and economic changes within the pre-accession countries, ensure compliance with human rights, contribute to progress towards democratisation, and compliance with international standards, including stronger monitoring and watchdog on implementation of policies, decision making, transparency and accountability. In addition, the involvement of civil society in the pre-accession process can contribute to deepening citizens' understanding of the reforms a country needs to complete in order to qualify for EU membership.
Albania was granted EU candidate status on 27 June 2014.The positive response to Albania’s candidacy for membership in the European Union is to be leading the country into a new phase of negotiation preparations. Therefore further assistance is required to support EU Acquis alignment and further development of mechanisms and tools for improving organisational structures, efficiency and effectiveness of government bodies through changes and amendments of existing legislation as well as through their implementation.
The IPA II European Union Integration Facility Action Document aim is to strengthen capacity and accountability of the Albanian administration, in order to guarantee a sustainable role of the Government in the preparation for EU membership. It will support effective implementation of EU Acquis actions and improve the planning, implementation and monitoring of national sectors reforms. Activities under this action will also enhance cooperation and policy dialogue with the CSOs and increase awareness on EU Integration process in Albania.
There is a need to further increase knowledge on Albania's integration process and the implications for Albania having achieved Candidate Status, particularly among key target groups and to increase general understanding of the EU policies and programmes among the population at large including the close involvement and dialogue with the Albanian Civil Society.
The Government of Albania has been encouraged to step up the pace of EU related reforms towards EU accession guided by two complementary fundamental documents:
1. The Roadmap to address the five key priorities identified in the European Commission’s
Enlargement Strategy of October 2013 and endorsed by the Decision of the Council of Ministers No 330 of 28 May 2014 through short-term and tailored measures namely the public administration reform, justice reform, fight against corruption and organized crime and full respect for human rights, in order to move on to the opening of the accession negotiations;
2. The National Plan for European Integration (NPEI) 2015-2020, endorsed by Government of
Albania in March 2015, serving as a medium and long term planning tool for measures to meet the obligations arising from the Stabilization and Association Agreement to reach full legal approximation of the national legislation with the EU acquis and align all its sectors with standards set by the Acquis chapters.
In the process of European integration and reforms undertaken by the Albanian government, efforts are made to create an enabling environment for cooperation between the Albanian Government and civil society by preparing the legal basis for the establishment of structures that ensure and guarantee this cooperation:
Foundation of a Civil Society and Strategy Unit at the Ministry of European Integration following June 2013 elections, tasked with coordination of this sector with State institutions, and with taking initiatives that improve Government – CSOs relations;
Establishment of the National Council for European Integration3in compliance with the Law # 15/2015 “on the role of the Parliament of Albania in the integration process of the Republic of Albania into the European Union” providing in articles 6, 7 and 8 its establishment and functioning. As provided in this law, the National Council for European Integration is the highest advisory structure in European integration area, which monitors and provides strategic guidance on the process of accession to the European Union, guaranteeing consensus and cooperation between state institutions, political parties and civil society in this process. The National Council for European Integration in its activity aims to promote and accelerate the implementation of key reforms needed in the process of accession to the European Union and it is operational as of July 2015 and includes 8 CSOs;
Establishment of the National Council for Civil Society4on 6 November 2015, aiming to support the strong involvement of the CSOs in the European Integration process and in the decision- making processes, with reinforced focus on obtaining CSOs expertise and experience and channelling it to Albania’s integration processes;
Moreover, the EU Albania Report 2015 highlights that “Good progress has been made towards
establishing an institutional framework for cooperation with and consultation of civil society. Now it is important that existing mechanisms are fully implemented in practice. Cooperation between state institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs) has improved. In October, parliament approved a regulation on public consultations, and in December it passed a resolution which ratifies the charter on civil society, recognising the importance of civil society in the country’s democratic development. Following a wide consultation process, in May the government adopted a roadmap setting out its policy towards a more enabling environment for civil society. Civil society representatives participated in meetings of the National Council on European Integration, but are yet to take an active role. The law setting up the National Council for Civil Society, a consultative body to enable regular dialogue between the government and CSOs on civil society development, was adopted by the government, but is yet to be enacted by the parliament. At local level, cooperation remains weak.”
While the Government is engaged in EU related reforms, there is a lack of comprehensive information and public debate and dialogue about the EU integration and accession process and related reforms, its benefits and costs among key target groups, its real impact on the Albanian society and life of Albanian citizens.
To this end, and in line with the Civil Society Guidelines 2014-2020 (based on the Results
Framework that sets out objectives, results and indicators for the EU support to civil society), the Government Program 2013-2017, the new National Plan for European Integration and other sectoral strategies in place or to be developed, the Albanian Ministry of European Integration will support civil society and ensure cooperation of line ministries and other central institutions with CSOs in Albania.
This Call for Proposals is part of the IPA II European Union Integration Facility 2014 for the country.
As a candidate country, the Beneficiary country has achieved ‘conferral of management’ based on accreditation for Indirect Management.
According to indirect management procedures, the General Directorate for Financing and Contracting of EU, World Bank and Other Donor Funds/Central Financing and Contracting Unit (CFCU) will be the Contracting Authority for this Call for Proposals and will be responsible for all procedural and administrative aspects of the tendering process, contracting matters and financial management including payment of project activities. The General Director of CFCU will act as the Programme Authorizing Officer (PAO) of the project.
The Ministry for European Integration, Head of IPA Unit will be responsible for tasks connected with the technical implementation of the project, monitoring and reporting.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME AND PRIORITY ISSUES
The global objective of this Call for Proposals is to contribute to a better knowledge of EU accession among citizens of the Republic of Albania and the impact of the integration process on their daily lives, as well as to enhance policy dialogue between CSOs and the Albanian public administration.
Given this global objective, the present Call aims to provide support through grants to civil society organisations for the implementation of capacity building actions to increase policy dialogue and awareness on European Integration process.
The specific objectives of this Call for Proposals are:
To raise public awareness including schools, universities, academic institutions and citizens
on the general understanding of EU, its policies, programmes and actions;
To initiate and encourage informed public debates in the country about the costs, benefits and challenges of the European Integration process;
To enhance cooperation and evidence-based policy dialogue of CSOs and government through their expertise and experience in European Integration process;
To strengthen the capacities of CSOs through partnership building to engage in the European Integration process.
The types of action that stem from the above specific objectives are further specified in section 2.1.4. Moreover, if a project proposal within any of the specific objectives includes some of the following aspects it would be considered as a value-added element:
Action implemented in partnership with grass-root organisations reaching out to communities in rural/remote areas;
Actions in networks to strengthen common approaches and agendas;
Actions involving media and academia;
The value-added elements referred above are introduced in this Call to give weight in the technical evaluation undertaken by the Evaluation committee (Concept Note evaluation grid, evaluation criteria 1.4).
For information on the eligible type of actions for each of the priority areas please refer to section 2.1.4.
1.3 FINANCIAL ALLOCATION PROVIDED BY THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY
The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 1,000,000.00. The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.
Size of grants
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between one of the following three categories of minimum and maximum amounts:
Minimum EUR 20,000 - Maximum EUR 40,000
Minimum EUR 40,000 - Maximum EUR 70,000
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum percentages of total eligible costs of the action:
Minimum percentage: 60% of the total eligible costs of the action.
Maximum percentage: 95% of the total eligible costs of the action (see also section
The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the action and the amount requested from
the Contracting Authority) must be financed from sources other than the European Union Budget or
8 the European Development Fund .
2. RULES FOR THIS CALL FOR PROPOSALS
These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of the actions financed under this call, in conformity with the Practical Guide, which is applicable to the present call (available on the Internet at this address http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en).
2.1 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to: (1) the actors:
The lead applicant, i.e. the entity submitting the application form (2.1.1),
if any, its co-applicant(s) (where it is not specified otherwise the lead applicant and
its co-applicant(s) are hereinafter jointly referred as "applicant(s)") (2.1.1),
and, if any, affiliated entity(ies)to the lead applicant and/or to a co-applicant(s). (2.1.2);
(2) the actions:
• Actions for which a grant may be awarded (2.1.4);
(3) the costs:
• types of cost that may be taken into account in setting the amount of the grant (2.1.5).
be a civil society organisation, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and
be established in the Republic of Albania10, or in a Member State of the European Union, in an accession or official candidate country as recognised by the European Union or in Member State of the European Economic Area,and
be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co- applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary.
(2) Potentialapplicantsmaynotparticipateincallsforproposalsorbeawardedgrantsiftheyarein any of the situations listed in section 2.3.3 of the Practical Guide;
In Part A section 3 of the grant application form (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies)are not in any of these situations.
For grants between min EUR 20,000 – max EUR 40,000: the lead applicant may act individually or with co-applicant(s).
For grants between min EUR 40,000 – max EUR 70,000: the lead applicant must act with at least one co-applicant.
For grants between min EUR 70,000 – max EUR 100,000: the lead applicant must act with at least two co-applicants.
If awarded the grant contract, the lead applicant will become the beneficiary identified as the Coordinator in Annex E3h1 (Special Conditions). The Coordinator is the main interlocutor of the Contracting Authority. It represents and acts on behalf of any other co-beneficiary (if any) and coordinate the design and implementation of the action.
In case an applicant is not established in Albania, the involvement in the action of one co- applicant legally established in Albania is obligatory.
Co-applicant(s) participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the applicant.
Co-applicant (s) must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant himself.
Co-applicants(s) must sign the Mandate in Part B section 4 of the grant application form.
If awarded the Grant contract, the co-applicant(s) will become beneficiaries in the Action (together with the Coordinator).
The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies).
Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):
Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant) in particular a legal or capital link.
This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:
(i) Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:
Entities affiliated to an applicant may hence be:
- Entities directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant (daughter companies or first-
tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by the applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;
- Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;
(ii) Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.
The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.
By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so-called “sole applicants” or “sole beneficiaries”. A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members.
What is not an affiliated entity?
The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:
- Entities that have entered into a (procurement) contract or subcontract with an applicant, act as concessionaires or delegates for public services for an applicant,
- Entities that receive financial support from the applicant,
- Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of
understanding or share some assets,
- Entities that have signed a consortium agreement under the grant contract (unless this consortium agreement leads to the creation of a "sole applicant" as described above).
How to verify the existence of the required link with an applicant?
The affiliation resulting from control may in particular be proved on the basis of the consolidated accounts of the group of entities the applicant and its proposed affiliates belong to.
The affiliation resulting from membership may in particular be proved on the basis of the statutes or equivalent act establishing the entity (network, federation, association) which the applicant constitutes or in which the applicant participates.
If the applicants are awarded a grant contract, their affiliated entity(ies) will not become beneficiary(ies) of the action and signatory(ies) of the grant contract. However, they will participate in the design and in the implementation of the action and the costs they incur (including those incurred for implementation contracts and financial support to third parties) may be accepted as eligible costs, provided they comply with all the relevant rules already applicable to the beneficiary(ies) under the grant contract.
Affiliated entity(ies) must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant and the co- applicant(s). They must sign the affiliated entity(ies) statement in Part B section 5 of the grant application form.
The following entities are neither applicants nor affiliated entities and do not have to sign the "mandate for co-applicant(s)" or "affiliated entities' statement":
Other organisations may be involved in the action. Such associates play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs. Associates do not have to meet the eligibility criteria referred to in section 2.1.1. Associates must be mentioned in Part B section 6 — ‘Associates participating in the action’ — of the grant application form.
The beneficiaries and their affiliated entities are permitted to award contracts. Associates or affiliated entity(ies) cannot be also contractors in the project. Contractors are subject to the procurement rules set out in Annex IV to the standard grant contract.
An action is composed of a set of activities.
The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 12months nor exceed 18months.
Sectors or themes
All projects must be aimed at addressing at least one of the specific objectives identified for this Call for Proposals under Section 1.2.
Raising public awareness including schools, universities, academic institutions and citizens on the general understanding of EU, its policies, programmes and actions;
Initiating and encouraging informed public debates in the country about the costs, benefits and challenges of the European Integration process;
Enhancing cooperation and evidence-based policy dialogue of CSOs and government through their expertise and experience in European Integration processes (in specific areas of the EU policy...);
Actions must take place in the Republic of Albania.
Types of action
Projects should contribute to the raising of awareness and to a better understanding of the EU integration process of Albania, among Albanian citizens. Also, projects should contribute to educating Albanian civil society on EU values and better understanding of EU policies, all while enhancing dialogue and cooperation with the Albanian public administration.
Types of action which may be financed under this Call, which are eligible and may be financed, are those directly contributing to the achievement of the objectives and priorities (as per section 1.2 above):
raise awareness on the importance of EU integration process, steps and reforms for public at large;
raise awareness/advocacy on EU institutions, policies and programs and EU specific assistance/actions to Albania;
raise awareness/advocacy on EU values and culture;
raise awareness on benefits, costs and challenges of EU integration for (i) public at large, (ii) specific target groups (businesses, youth, public administration at central and local level, farmers) etc.), (iii) specific sectors (EU acquis, legislation approximation, public administration, economy, justice, human rights, environment, agriculture, transport, energy, education, etc.);
inform various categories of the public on the various possibilities of EU funds and management, specifically at local level (structural funds, regional cooperation, rural development, human rights, CS support);
actions that involve CSOs in monitoring and decision-making process of key priorities defined in Road Map and National Plan for EU integration process;
actions that support research, capacity building and advocacy activities on specific thematic areas of EU acquis, legislation approximation process, costs, implications and trade-offs to protect interests of the country targeting various target groups (youth, businesses, farmers, public administration at central and local level);
actions that promote policy analysis on costs of the adoption of laws and regulations related to EU legislation approximation,
actions that support dialogue platforms between the CSOs and local/public authorities, exchange of best practices with other EU and/or Western Balkan (IPA) Countries and application of model(s) in the country.
The following types of action are ineligible:
actions concerned only or mainly with individual sponsorships for participation in
workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses;
actions concerned only or mainly with individual scholarships for studies or training courses;
actions concerned only or mainly with academic research, feasibility studies and other one- off events with no direct impact on the target group;
projects for the exclusive benefit of individuals or restricted groups of individuals;
projects supporting political parties or of political/partisan nature;
core funding of the applicant or its partners;
retrospective financing for projects already in implementation or completed;
social service and humanitarian activities;
actions concerned with infrastructure investments;
actions concerned only or mainly with the procurement of equipment;
actions where a considerable part of the budget is planned for the provision of external services and do not involve the active participation of the lead applicant and co-applicant organisation(s).
Types of activity
The following types of indicative activities which may be financed under this Call for Proposals:
Public opinion polls and surveys on the perception on EU integration and related challenges;
Involvement of academia through publication of research and open seminars;
Facilitation of dialogue, consultations and discussions, i.e. through TV/community public debates;
Quizzes/competition regarding EU institutions and values;
Research-based documentaries on success stories related to reform;
Capacity building, including training modules, workshops etc.;
Trainings for youth in EU institutions, policies, programmes and actions;
Transfer of know-how and study visits to EU and/or IPA countries for sharing best practices and knowledge;
Seminars and public debates regarding benefits, costs and challenges of EU integration;
Information dissemination, through i.e. websites, to inform interested parties on the
possibilities of EU funds and management;
Dialogue focused on CSOs and their participation in the EU integration process;
Activities that support dialogue platforms between the CSOs and local/public authorities;
Networking and partnership building for information sharing and transfer of know-how;
Organisation of conferences and public debates involving decision makers and politicians;
Financial support to third parties
Applicants may not propose financial support to third parties.
The applicants must take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the European Union has financed or co- financed the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union must incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.
Applicants must comply with the objectives and priorities and guarantee the visibility of the EU financing (see the Communication and Visibility Manual for EU external actions specified and published by the European Commission at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/funding/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu- external-actions_en).
Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities
The lead applicant may not submit more than one application under this Call for Proposals.
The lead applicant may not be awarded more than one grant under this Call for Proposals.
The lead applicant may not be a co-applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not submit more than one application(s) under this Call for Proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be awarded more than one grant(s) under this Call for Proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be the applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.
(TRUNCATED - please visit the public link of the call)