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Assistance to the Member States with the implementation of Article 7.3 of Directive 2014/94/EU (Fuel Price Comparison)
Deadline: 30 Oct 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND

The "Multi Annual Work Programme 2014-2020 for financial assistance in the field of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) - Transport sector" adopted by the Commission on 26 March 2014 (C(2014) 1921), as last amended, offers technical assistance to the Member States for the implementation of Article 7.3 of Directive 2014/94/EU (thereafter "the Directive")

The "Innovation"- including the deployment of Alternative Fuels, are a horizontal priority of Annex I of the Connecting Europe Facility Programme, established by the Regulation (EU) 1316/2013 (thereafter the "CEF Regulation").

 

2. OBJECTIVE(S) – THEME(S) – PRIORITIES

The objective of this Programme Support Action (PSA) is to assist Member States with the implementation of Article 7.3 of the Directive. This Article establishes a number of requirements for Member States in the field of consumer information, which is considered key to accelerate the transition towards low and zero emission mobility.

In particular, Member States shall provide information on fuel prices to allow consumers to compare between the fuel/running costs of vehicles with different fuels in a common unit. For that purpose the method of "euros/national currencies per 100 km" will be applied, as established in the Commission Implementing Regulation on Fuel Price Comparison, which is expected to be adopted on 2 May 2018.

That draft Commission Implementing Regulation defines methodology (only the methodological part, and not the implementation issues) related to the Article 7.3 of the Directive.

The aims of this Programme Support Action ( PSA) are:

  • -  to support a consistent implementation of the provisions of Article 7.3 of the Directive in the Member States;

  • -  to define the format, contents and location of the information to be displayed at the filling stations on the basis of the methodology adopted by the Commission Implementing Regulation;

  • -  to carry out pilot actions to assess consumer understanding/feedback/behaviour concerning the format, contents and location of the information to be displayed at the filling stations on fuel prices for comparison and to provide recommendations/guidelines for a harmonized implementation of Article 7.3 of the Directive. These recommendations will be presented to the Commission, for further discussion with the Member States and coherent application in all Member States;

  • - to support Member States in making information available to consumer at the filling/charging stations and also via digital tools (such as for example, a dedicated website and/or user application) to ensure consumers/users can make a straightforward comparison between the fuel costs of vehicles with different fuel types. The portal/app shall be connected to the relevant filling stations to transmit the updated fuel prices;
  • - to inform and raise awareness of alternative fuel suppliers, media and consumers on the methodology described in the Commission Implementing Regulation.

 

3. TIMETABLE FOR SUBMITTING INDIVIDUAL APPLICATIONS FOR GRANTS

Invitation for this call for proposals shall be open to all Member States. Eligible proposals shall be submitted by a consortium representing at least 9 or more Member States, including a representative number of the Cohesion Member States.

a) Deadline for submitting applications
At the latest: Friday 15 June 2018, 16:00 p.m.

b) Indicative time for evaluation of proposals, clarifications with beneficiaries on outstanding issues and award decision
July 2018

c) Information to applicants
Within maximum of 6 months from the deadline of the submission of the application.

d) Preparation of the individual Grant Agreements
Indicatively: August 2018

e) Signature of grant agreements
Within maximum of 9 months from the deadline of the submission of the application.

 

During the period for submitting grants and until Friday 8 June 2018, if a need for clarification arises, a written question should be sent to the email address:

MOVE- PSAFPC-B4@ec.europa.eu

The responses will be sent to the applicant with a copy to the CEF Transport Committee Members for equal treatment.

4. INFORMATION TO APPLICANTS ON BUDGETARY ASPECTS 4.1. Budget available

Budget available for this Programme Support Action is up to 2 MEUR (‘two million euros’). The budget allocated to each Member State will be calculated dividing 2 MEUR by the number of Member States participating in the Program Support Action.

At least 9 Member States shall participate, including a representative number of the Cohesion Member States (see admissibility requirement under point 5).

The Commission reserves the right not to award all the funds available or to modulate the proposed funding of eligible activities based on Article 10(6) of the CEF Regulation.

2

4.2. Non-retroactivity of grant funding

The costs related to the eligible activities of the Programme Support Action shall be eligible as of the date of signature of the Grant Agreement by the last party.

5.

ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Participation of at least 9 Member States is required for this Action, including a representative number of the Cohesion Member States.

The application form (Annex II) and the budget form (Annex III) must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3.

Annex II- application form, should be submitted as one single document by the Coordinator Member State. However, specific information in that application form should be filled in by each Member State's authorised representative.

Annex III "budget form" should be filled in by each Member State individually. The Application form and the budget form must be submitted in writing (see section 14), using the appropriate forms.

 

6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

6.1 Eligible applicants

 

The Grant Agreement will be signed with the participating Member States and budget of the grant will be directly awarded to the Member States/or relevant bodies designated under their authority.

Due to technical nature of the activities (see below in section 6.2- eligible activities), legal entities having a legal or capital link with the Member States, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as:

 an Affiliated Entity [may declare eligible costs as specified in section 11.2], or

 as an Implementing Body.
For that purpose, Member States shall identify such an Affiliated Entity or an

Implementing Body in the application form.

In all cases, the beneficiary Member States, assume the responsibility for the oversight and execution of the activities and for the final deliverables to the Commission.

 

6.2 Eligible activities

Only the following types of activities are eligible:

Activity 1: Dissemination of the fuel price methodology in each of the participating Member State

This activity consists of organization of workshops/seminars in each Member State participating in this PSA to explain the methodology proposed in the Commission Implementing Regulation on Fuel Price Comparison, scheduled for entry into force on the twentieth day following the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It shall apply from 24 months after its entry into force.

 

– the representatives of the media,

  • –  to road user and/or consumer organisations such as the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, and other relevant Motor Clubs,

  • –  to the fuel industry including fuelling stations manager staff,

  • –  and other relevant stakeholders in the mobility sector.

    Member States can organise such workshops jointly.

    Activity 2 Definition of the contents, format and location of the information on fuel price for comparison, to be displayed at fuelling stations

2.1

– –

2.2:

2.1 Based on the methodology defined in the Commission Implementing Regulation, the participating MS will cooperate on:

  • the definition of possible options for the content, format, including the elaboration of different samples of representative models-segment of vehicles running with conventional and alternative fuels, and location of the information to be displayed at filling stations
  • an assessment of the vehicle types to be included in the sample in order to optimise the consumers' perception of the fuel cost of the different fuel options for each car/fuel type, and considering that the fuel consumption provided in the certificate of conformity of the vehicles will be based on the World Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP)1
  • an analysis of the costs and benefits of the different display and location options
  • Member States will cooperate, if appropriate, to establish a procedure to determine fuel consumption values for different biofuel blends with petrol or diesel for models of vehicles to be possibly displayed at the sample.

2.2 Elaboration and implementation of an online consumer questionnaire, and exploitation of the relevant results

  • Elaboration of an online consumer questionnaire in the languages of the MS participating in the PSA. This questionnaire will contain the options on content, format, samples of representative models –segment of vehicles running with conventional and alternative fuels, and location of the panels and screens to be displayed at the filling stations.
  • The online consumer questionnaire will be submitted to:
    • o at least 700 consumers in each of the participating MS.
    • o As regards the MS with more than 20 M inhabitants, it is recommended that the questionnaire be submitted to at least 1,500 consumers.
  • A coverage of consumers from different regions/cities is recommended.

Activity 3: Pilot action to test different the options concerning format, contents and location of fuel prices for comparison at the filling stations

Pilot actions testing different options, concerning the format, contents and location of fuel prices for comparison, will be carried out as follows:

  • – in at least 10 filling stations per MS, placed in: o urban areas,
    • o the TEN-T Comprehensive Network
    • o the TEN-T Core Network
  • – with the participation of at least 400 persons per MS.

It is recommended that as regards MS with populations of more than 20 M inhabitants, the test should be carried out with the participation of at least 15 filling stations and the involvement of 1,000 persons per MS.

The Pilot Action should cover as many regions as possible.

Activity 4: Consistent implementation of the provisions of Article 7.3 of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive in all MS

Based on the results of the online survey, and of pilot actions, MS will cooperate to draft recommendations/guidelines on the following elements:

  • o the content of the information to be displayed at the filling stations
  • o the format in which the information must be displayed
  • o the locations of displaying the fuel prices at the filling stations or in dealerships o defining in what type of filling stations/dealerships the information should be displayed (Art 7.3 indicates "where appropriate")
  • o the way of calculating the average fuel price per conventional unit

The recommendations/guidelines will be addressed to the Commission for further discussion in the Alternative Fuel Committee.

Activity 5: Development of a portal/online tool to display fuel prices/costs

MS should collaborate to establish a portal/online tool, containing the information on:

  • the methodology defined to calculate the average fuel costs for the different vehicles in euros/national currencies per 100 km;
  • the determination of the average fuel costs for both alternative and conventional fuels, expressed in euros/national currencies per conventional unit (eg. litre, kilogramme, kWh). Average fuel prices will be equal to the average prices over the last quarter prior to the time of calculation;
  • the fuel consumption data provided in the certificate of conformity of all vehicles existing on the market, based on the World Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP);
  • the average fuel prices – for both alternative and conventional fuels, expressed in euros/national currencies per 100 km, for all models of vehicles such as light duty vehicles (passenger cars and vans) and heavy duty vehicles). Average fuel prices will be equal to the average prices over the last quarter prior to the time of calculation;
  • the environmental performance of alternative fuels vehicles in relation to vehicles running with conventional fuels, based on applicable emission legislation (such as RDE).

 

The portal could also include information on the present-value of the lifetime costs of ownership (purchase price of the vehicle + fuel costs) of alternative fuels vehicles in relation to vehicles run by conventional fuels.

 

The National portal/online tools should be linked with the European Alternative Fuels

Observatory website.

MS should also cooperate in the definition of a system to transmit the updated fuel prices from the portal/online tool to the relevant filling stations.
The recommendations/guidelines on the development of the portal/online tool will be addressed to the Commission for further discussion in the Alternative Fuel Committee

The guidelines to develop the portal/on line tool shall be written in English.

 

Activity 6: Coordination
6.1 Coordination at national level:

  • –  designate a country coordinator, who will be the contact and coordination point with other Ministries or Implementing Bodies, stakeholders,

  • –  ensure all technical, IT and data collection activities, also, where relevant, with or to their Implementing Bodies or contractors designated to carry out part of the activities

6.2 Coordination by the "Grant Agreement Coordinator"

  • set-up appropriate cooperation structure with the MS and/ or their Implementing Bodies participating in the Grant Agreement
  • set-up monthly meetings/ video or calls/ appropriate workshops with the Member States participating
  • coordination of the technical activities of the Grant Agreement coordinate and organise the dissemination workshops
  • compile and review of the quarterly progress reports to the European Commission compile and review the final report
  • handling of the day to day Grant Agreement management

6.3 Ineligible  Activities

  • Project-related activities which are eligible under CEF calls;
  • All activities funded from the EU budget under different Programme Support Actions or from different co-funded EU Programmes;
  • Supplies of souvenirs;
  • Travel expenditure related to general study tours to other Member States; Lobbying.

 

7  EXCLUSION CRITERIA
7.1 Exclusion from participation in the Call for proposals

Applicants will be excluded from participating in the call for proposals procedure if they are in any of the following situations:

- they are bankrupt or being wound up, are having their affairs administered by the courts, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities, are the subject of proceedings concerning those matters, or are in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations;

 

  • -  they or persons having powers of representation, decision making or control over them have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgment of a competent authority of a Member State which has the force of res judicata;

  • -  they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authority can justify including by decisions of the EIB and international organisations;

  • -  they are not in compliance with their obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or the payment of taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established or with those of the country of the responsible authorising officer or those of the country where the grant agreement is to be performed;

  • -  they or persons having powers of representation, decision making or control over them have been the subject of a judgment which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity, where such an illegal activity is detrimental to the Union's financial interests;

  • -  they are currently subject to an administrative penalty referred to in Article 109(1) of the Financial Regulation2.

7.2. Exclusion from award
Applicants will not be granted financial assistance if, in the course of the grant award procedure,

they:

  • -  are subject to a conflict of interest;

  • -  are guilty of misrepresentation in supplying the information required by the Commission as a condition of participation in the grant award procedure or fail to supply this information;

  • -  find themselves in one of the situations of exclusion, referred to in section 7.1. The same exclusion criteria apply to the Affiliated Entities.

    Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation.

7.3. Supporting documents

Applicants must sign a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to above, filling in the form attached to the application form accompanying the conditions for awarding grants.

 

8. SELECTION CRITERIA

8.1. Financial capacity

As stated under Article 131 (3) of the Financial Regulation, the verification of the financial capacity shall not apply to public bodies.

8.2. Operational capacity
As stated under Article 131 (3) of the Financial Regulation, for public bodies, the authorising

officer has decided not to check the operational capacity.

 

9. AWARD CRITERIA

Eligible applications will be assessed on the basis of the following four criteria:

9.1 Criterion 1: Relevance (30 points/100). This refers to the contribution of the Application to address the objectives of the PSA to:

  • Contribute to the development of the TEN-T Network, and in particular, through the information on the alternative fuels prices, to the uptake and the deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructures in the Member States;
  • Increasing the consumer awareness about the alternative fuels in the Member States with an objective to increase the market uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles (EU added value)

9.2 Criterion 2: Maturity (20 points/100)

 

This refers to the readiness to start the implementation of the proposed activities, in all MS participating in the PSA:

  • –  identification of the main groups to participate in the workshops and pilot project in each MS participating in the PSA

  • –  identification of the filling stations to be part of the pilot projects

  • –  Proposal for the set-up of the online tool, describing its functions, components, and the

    content of the information to be displayed

9.3. Criterion 3: Impact (30 points/100).

This refers to the expected effect of the PSA on the:

  • Increase knowledge/ awareness on the advantages of the alternative fuels in the Member States, through the information on fuel price comparison provided to the consumers
  • Implementation of the harmonized methodology in all MS

9.4 Criterion 4. Quality (20 points/ 100)

 

Under this criterion, the capacity for the Action to be completed in accordance with the proposed timeline, implementation plans will be assessed.

  • -  Presentation of the human resources-principal staff involved – including the contact details of the national coordinators

  • -  Clarity and presentation of the proposed budget- Member State and per Activity as required in Annex III

  • -  Clarity and presentation of the proposed implementing contracts/ subcontracts

  • -  Presentation of timetable of the activities

  • -  Presentation of the monitoring mechanisms

  • -  Presentation of the key outputs as milestones to the European Commission

  • -  Presentation of the key outputs to other stakeholders (beneficiaries)

The criteria 1 and 3 will be given a score between 0 and 30 points (with 30 being the maximum). The minimum pass threshold for these criteria is 18 points each.
The criteria 2 and 4 will be given a score between 0 and 20 points (with 20 being the maximum). The minimum pass threshold for these criteria is 12 points each.

No grant will be awarded if the application does not meet the minimum threshold for each criterion.

No grant will be awarded if the application does not meet the minimum threshold of 70 points overall.

10. LEGAL COMMITMENTS

In the event of a grant awarded by the Commission, a grant agreement drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of funding, will be sent to the successful applicant, as well as the procedure in view to formalise the obligations of the parties.

 

11. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

General Principles

Non-cumulative award

An action may only receive one grant from the EU budget.

In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. To ensure this, applicants shall indicate the sources and amounts of Union funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action or for its functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.

Non-retroactivity
No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.

Co-financing
The maximum rate of co-financing is:

– 80% of the eligible direct costs for all Member States for all activities, except activity 6.2 carried out by the Member State acting as the Grant Agreement Coordinator

– 100% of the eligible direct for activity 6.2- carried out by the Member State acting as the Grant Agreement Coordinator

Indirect costs are not eligible (i.e in common terms, the proposal shall not include any general and administrative expenses).

Balanced budget

The estimated budget of the action is to be attached to the application form. It must have revenue and expenditure in balance.

The budget must be drawn up in euros.

Applicants, who foresee that costs will not be incurred in euros, are invited to use the exchange rate published on the InforEuro website available at http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm.

Implementation contracts/subcontracting

Where the implementation of the action requires the award of procurement contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must award the contract to the bid offering best value for money or the lowest price (as appropriate), avoiding conflicts of interests and retain the documentation for the event of an audit.

Entities acting in their capacity of contracting authorities in the meaning of Directive 2014/24/EU3 or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2014/23/EU4 shall abide by the applicable national public procurement rules.

 

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