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Call for proposals for buffer capacities for addressing temporary shortcomings in extraordinary disasters
Deadline: 20 Feb 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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1. INTRODUCTION

Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 (hereafter "the Decision") establishes a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, hereafter "the Mechanism". The general objective of the Mechanism is to support, complement, and facilitate coordination of Member States’ actions in the field of civil protection and to facilitate rapid and efficient response in the event of disasters or imminent disasters, including European financial assistance for certain prevention, preparedness and response actions.

The protection to be ensured by the Mechanism covers primarily people, but also the environment and property, including cultural heritage, against all kinds of natural and man-made disasters, including the consequences of acts of terrorism, technological, radiological or environmental disasters, marine pollution, and acute health emergencies, occurring inside or outside the European Union.

Under Article 11 of the Decision, a European Emergency Response Capacity (hereafter "the EERC") has been established in the form a voluntary pool of pre-committed response capacities of the Participating States. Article 21(2) of the Decision sets out the eligibility for European financial assistance for developing the EERC. Specifically, Article 21(2)(d) of the Decision opens the possibility for European financial assistance to make available capacities, which would contribute to addressing temporary shortcomings of response capacities in extraordinary disaster situations (hereafter "buffer capacities"). The eligibility of European financial assistance for buffer capacities is limited to establishing and managing framework contracts, framework partnership agreements or similar arrangements to address temporary shortcomings in extraordinary disasters.

Furthermore, Article 21(2)(d)(i) of the Decision specifies that the European financial assistance for buffer capacities may cover the costs or fees necessary to design, prepare, negotiate, conclude and manage the contracts or arrangements, as well as the costs of developing standard operating procedures and exercises to ensure the effective use of buffer capacities. Such funding may also cover a maximum of 40% of the costs of ensuring rapid access to buffer capacities. Article 21(2)(d)(ii) of the Decision specifies that the European financial assistance shall not cover the costs of purchasing or developing new response capacities, nor the cost of operating buffer capacities in a disaster situation. The costs of operating buffer capacities in a disaster situation will be borne by the Participating State(s) requesting the assistance, unless otherwise agreed with the offering State.

Commission Implementing Decision 2014/762/EU of 16 October 2014 (hereafter "the Implementing Decision") lays down rules for the implementation of Decision 1313/2013/EU, including with respect to the financial arrangements for buffer capacities. Particularly relevant is Chapter 7 of the Implementing Decision.

More information on the legal basis can be found on the following web-site: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/en/what/civil-protection/mechanism.

The call for proposals for buffer capacities shall continue to be implemented in accordance with existing rules. In the event of the adoption of the Commission proposal to amend the Union Civil Protection Mechanism1, the Commission will re-assess the situation and existing grants may need to be terminated in accordance with Article II.17 thereof.

 

2. OBJECTIVES – RESULTS – ACTIVITIES - BUDGET

Based on the study commissioned by the European Commission to help inform the choice of buffer capacities and the interest of Participating States for the options proposed, the 2018 work programme identifies as priorities three types of response capacities for the 2018 call for proposals for buffer capacities.

The adopted WP 2018 can be found on the DG ECHO website:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/funding-evaluations/financing-civil- protection/calls-for-proposal_en

This Call for Proposals refers to Action 2.9 of the WP 2018 aimed at addressing temporary shortcomings.

The objective is to contribute to addressing temporary shortcomings in extraordinary disasters.

The expected result is:
To establish stand-by availability of certain response capacities and Participating States'2

rapid access to these capacities, in accordance with Article 21(2) (d) of the Decision. Activities related to the following response capacities are expected:

  •   Flood Containment

  •   Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

  •   Aerial forest fire fighting using planes

While the Participating States have the primary responsibility for all phases of disaster management (prevention, preparedness and response), the unpredictability, frequency and intensity of disasters make it necessary to arrange for buffer capacities in addition to the normal national preparedness efforts. In other words, buffer capacities co-financed by the Commission must top-up the existing response capacities that Member States have available as part of their national preparedness, and shall not substitute existing response capacities.


2 Participating States to the Mechanism include the 28 EU Member States, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.

In the case of the Aerial forest fire fighting using planes module (or equivalent), this response capacity will need to be made available in the EERC only during the critical months of the year (specified under Chapter 5, p. 15).

The response capacities should be strategically positioned to allow for quick and effective deployment to different risk prone areas, mainly inside Europe.

The expected activities related to the response capacities may include:

  1. preparatory work on the design, preparation, negotiation, conclusion and management of contracts or arrangements to ensure the stand-by availability of the necessary response capacities;

  2. development of standard operational procedures and exercises to ensure the effective use of these capacities.

The total budget earmarked in WP 2018 (internal budget line) for the co-financing of buffer capacities is EUR 2 000 000. It is intended to cover the full duration of the action (see Part II) and all of the types of costs specified below.

The Commission reserves the right not to grant all the funds available. The cost incurred in implementing the expected activities may include:

  1. Up to a maximum of 40% of the costs of ensuring rapid access3 to buffer capacities may be covered through the EU grant. Given the complementary nature of EU grants, at least 60% of the total costs of ensuring rapid access to buffer capacities must be funded from other sources (cost category A). F Form Budget A

  2. In addition, up to 100% of total costs of designing, preparing, negotiating, concluding and managing the contracts or arrangements, as well as the costs of developing standard operating procedures and exercises to ensure the effective use4 of buffer capacities may be covered under the EU grant (cost category B). F Form Budget B

The cost may not cover the costs of purchasing or developing new response capacities, or the cost of operating these additional capacities in a disaster situation. The costs of operating those additional capacities in a disaster situation must be borne by the Member States requesting the assistance (unless agreed otherwise with the State offering the assistance).

 

3. TIMETABLE
 

a)Publication of the call
19/12/2017

b)Deadline for submitting applications
20/02/2018

c)Evaluation period
March - April 2018

d)Information to applicants
April-May- 2018

e)Signature of grant agreement
May-June 2018

f)Starting date of the action
Depends on the Buffer Capacity proposed

 

4. BUDGET AVAILABLE

The total budget earmarked in WP 2018 (internal budget line) for the co-financing of buffer capacities is EUR 2 000 000.
The total budget is intended to cover the full duration of the action (see Part II) and all of the types of costs specified below.

The Commission reserves the right not to grant all the funds available.

 

5. REQUIREMENTS FOR BUFFER CAPACITIES UNDER THIS CALL

Buffer capacities should top-up the existing response capacities that Participating States have available as part of their national preparedness, and should not substitute existing response capacities. Proposals should demonstrate that the proposed buffer capacities satisfy this requirement. To this effect, a Statement (see A11 Form) should be signed and attached as one of the supporting documents to the grant application.

Inclusion in the voluntary pool:

The EU financial contribution shall be conditional upon the acceptance of conditions outlined in the Implementing Decision Article 25(2) – Article 25(9) related to the inclusion of the buffer capacities in the voluntary pool:

Member States shall make buffer capacities available as part of the voluntary pool.

Buffer capacities shall meet the necessary quality and certification requirements specified in this call for proposals.

Buffer capacities shall be registered in the voluntary pool for the full period defined in the relevant framework contracts, framework partnership agreements or similar arrangements5. Any conditions and limitations imposed by the Member State(s) registering the capacities shall be duly justified by operational requirements.

Buffer capacities shall not be eligible for the financial assistance referred to in Article 17 of the Implementing Decision (i.e. adaptation costs).

The Commission shall immediately inform all Member States through CECIS of buffer capacities registered in the voluntary pool.

Buffer capacities registered in the voluntary pool shall be available for Union Mechanism deployments under the same general terms6 as other capacities registered in the voluntary pool, in accordance with Article 11 of the Decision.

Following a request for assistance through the ERCC, the deployment of buffer capacities registered in the voluntary pool shall follow the operational procedures for the response to disasters outlined in Chapter 11 of the Implementing Decision.

 

  Buffer capacities registered in the voluntary pool shall be available for domestic use in the Member State(s) that co-financed the availability of the capacities. Prior to the domestic use, these Member States shall consult with the ERCC to confirm that: (i) there is no simultaneous or imminent extraordinary disaster that may lead to a request for deployment of the buffer capacity; and (ii) the domestic use does not unduly hinder the rapid access of other Member States in the event new extraordinary disasters arise.

In case of simultaneous requests for the buffer capacity, the decision about their use will be taken following consultation between the ERCC and the Participating State(s) making the buffer capacity available, applying the general procedures as for all other capacities registered in the voluntary pool. Specifically, the ERCC will take into account the criteria outlined under Article 35(7) of the Implementing Decision, as well as any other relevant criteria influencing the effectiveness of the intervention, such as the gravity of the situation, the meteorological situation, the geographical terrain.

Proposals should clearly indicate that all of the above conditions are accepted. To this effect, a Statement (see A11 Form) should be signed and attached as one of the supporting documents to the grant application.

Technical specifications:

The proposal should specify which type(s) of response capacity is/are proposed:

  • Flood Containment

  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

  • Aerial forest fire fighting using planes

The proposal should provide a justification for the suitability of the chosen response capacity for use in various scenarios of extraordinary disasters, its adaptability to a variety of geographic conditions and its ability to benefit other Participating States affected by extraordinary disasters, in particular by extraordinary floods, forest fires and CBRN attacks. In case of any limitations (e.g. geographic, technical) the proposal should clearly explain these and, where appropriate, propose possible mitigating measures.

The proposal shall explain how the response capacity will be made available. For this purpose, the proposal should explain:

  •   The decision making processes (e.g. how the Participating State(s) making the buffer capacity available will work with the ERCC and the requesting Participating State when the request for assistance and the decision for deployment have been made),

  •   The deployment procedures (e.g. which activities will need to be undertaken to send the buffer capacity to the requesting Participating State and ensure its return),

  •   The integration of buffer capacities into the national system (e.g. how the Participating State(s) making the buffer capacity available will ensure it is integrated,),

  •   Lessons learned process (e.g. how the Participating State(s) making the buffer capacity available will take account of lessons learned following the deployment).

Flood Containment

Flood events in Europe have the potential to be extraordinary due to their damaging nature and the anticipated future evolution of their intensity and frequency. Flood containment systems are mobile barriers able to contain flood water or spilled hazardous liquids. These flood containment systems either reinforce existing structures and/or create new barriers to prevent flooding of rivers, basins or waterways with rising water levels.

ERCC data recording on activations of the Mechanism evidences a number of requests by Participating States for flood containment that remained unmet.

The flood containment module defined in Annex II of the Implementing Decision gives indications of possible requirements for such modules.

In addition, two innovative systems have been identified as potential buffer capacities and were specifically considered during the discussions with Member States in the Civil Protection Committee as relevant for the purposes of this Call:

Component based systems are flexible structures that are interlinked with each other and form a solid, watertight barrier. They can take the form of weighted, self-filling plastic containers or metal shields that are enforced with foils/plastic sheets to make them water tight. The advantage is the comparatively low effort and the operational independence of the system.

Tube-based systems are filled with clean or flood water and block water effectively due to the weight of the filled tube. The main advantage is the longer distances that can be covered through the deployment of this system. Evidence of existing 16 km systems was found during the study. The downside compared to component-based systems is that tube-based systems require support technology such as water pumps to fill them, and possibly electric generators to power the water pumps.

For example, any of the following flood containment systems could be proposed:

■ Unitary component-based flood barriers with a capacity of at least 2, 5, or 10 km with a minimum height of 90 cm; field of application: to cover distances between existing barriers in urban areas along rivers/coasts.

■ Unitary tube-based barriers with a capacity of at least 10, 20, 30, or 50 km with a minimum height of 1 m; field of application: to surround and protect urban structures, villages, cities, etc. from approaching flood water.

■ Combination of component- and tube-based systems with capacities of 5 km respectively 10 km or more with a minimum height of 90 cm; field of application: to connect a number of small urban structures in close proximity to each other.

■ Regional/national hubs with storehouses for tens or even hundreds of kilometres of mobile flood barriers. Storage of flood containment modules in ready-to-dispatch transport containers.

Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS)

The use of RPAS can be effective in improving capacities for data and imagery collection to support better decision making for response in the midst of emergencies and crisis, particularly in dangerous and life-threatening situation, when situation awareness from land is limited, or when operational conditions do not allow the deployment of any other systems.

RPAS can be cost-effective and a safer way in extraordinary disasters, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wind storms and CBRN(e) disasters. Temporary shortcomings may include in particular situation awareness in (1) assessment missions (e.g. inspection of damaged structure, mapping of affected areas as stand-alone assets or in combination with other aerial devices including satellites), (2) urban search and rescue operations (e.g. providing live optical/thermal video/imagery during operations), and (3) CBRN disasters (e.g. detection of agents).

Buffer RPAS units should be able to execute at least one of the following tasks: (a) provision of accurate orthorectified imagery and digital surface models for rapid mapping purposes; (b) sharp, contrasted, undistorted photos that yield geometric precision and height data; (c) live HD video and thermal imagery during flight time; (d) sampling and assessment in CBRN disasters.

No single RPAS can fulfil the broad range of all possible civil protection tasks for which there are shortcomings today. Therefore, this call covers both multi-RPAS units composed by several types of RPAS (e.g. small and medium size RPAS, rotary and fixed wing) to perform several tasks, or single-RPAS units composed by a single type of RPAS to execute single tasks. It is recommended that each unit is composed by at least two RPAS to allow longer mission and flight time.

The RPAS unit should be able to be deployed within 12 hours of the request for assistance. Both the RPAS and the team manning the unit must have the sufficient resilience and autonomy to provide support to the intervention team during the entire duration of the mission.

The proposal should explain the feasibility of the use of the RPAS also in other Participating States. The explanation should cover regulatory, technical, and organisational feasibility aspects.

Aerial forest fire fighting using planes (*)

In case of a module: the requirements for an aerial forest fire fighting module using airplanes apply, as outlined in Annex II and Articles 12 and 13 of the Implementing Decision.

In case of an equivalent capacity: the requirements for an aerial forest fire fighting module using airplanes apply, as outlined in Annex II and Articles 12 and 13 of the Implementing Decision. However, the capacity can consist of one or two airplanes with a combined minimum capacity of 5 000 litres.

The proposed module or equivalent capacity shall be capable of carrying out the following types of interventions:

  •   Pre-positioning in appropriate locations to intervene in high forest fire risk areas in Participating States where requests for Mechanism assistance are likely in the following days. Pre-positioning should be completed within a maximum of 24 hours of the request for pre-positioning,

  •   Rapid intervention lasting a maximum of one day and including flight to and from the site where the buffer capacity is positioned (this could be 'home' airport or pre- positioning site),

  •   Detachment lasting several days. Detachment should begin within a maximum of 24 hours following the acceptance of the offer by the requesting State.

Minimum duration of the action:

(*)Aerial forest fire fighting using planes: this buffer capacity should be available at least from 15/06/18 to 31/10/18. Where necessary, this period may be extended in accordance with the relevant operational conditions.

All the other buffer capacities should be available for the period of at least one year between January 2019 and December 2020.

The specific period during which the buffer capacities will be available (i.e. stand-by period) must be clearly indicated in the project proposal.

Where necessary, the duration of the implementation period of the action may exceed the duration of the stand-by period.

Contractual arrangements – contracts with a private market service provider:

The proposal should demonstrate that the Participating State(s) making the buffer capacity available will be able to guarantee its availability (in case of a contract for buffer capacity with a private market provider) for the duration of the action. Contracts with providers should include appropriate penalties and redress mechanisms for non- compliance, if possible.

The proposal should demonstrate that the possibility to contract additional needs if necessary is available (in case of a contract for buffer capacity with a private market provider).

If already available and applicable, the proposal should also contain a model contract to be used in case of a contract for buffer capacity with a private market provider.

 

6. SELECTION OF PROPOSALS

After the proposals have been received by the Commission, an evaluation committee will be appointed, which will evaluate all the proposals against a set of criteria outlined below. First, the proposals must pass the admissibility requirements, then the eligibility criteria, the exclusion criteria, and the selection criteria.

Proposals that meet these requirements and criteria will advance further to the evaluation of the award criteria, in which the proposals will be awarded points. The minimum score required for the proposal to be selected is 70%.

The next chapters will present these criteria, and it is crucial that the applicants go through these chapters carefully. Honouring all of these criteria in the proposal is essential to be awarded a grant.

 

7. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  •   Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications.

  •   Two copies of the applications must be submitted in writing, accompanied by an electronic copy on USB stick, using the application form available at: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/en/funding-evaluations/financing-civil-protection/calls-for- proposal

  •   Except for dates and signatures, the information on the application forms may not be hand-written. Please note that the links in Forms A8 (Legal entities form) and A9 (financial identification form) lead to web applications that can be typed and printed.

  •   Applications must be submitted in an official language of the European Union.

However, in order to facilitate assessment by evaluators, an English translation should preferably accompany any proposal written in another language. In such cases, applicants should submit their applications both in hard copy (i.e. paper) and in electronic format in their own language and in English.

Applicants may request a different language version of any document published for this call, which is necessary for responding to the call. However, if such a request is made, the deadline for submission of proposals may have to be postponed until the translation of the requested document has been completed, which might considerably delay the whole process of submission and evaluation of proposals. Please note in this regard that it is of utmost importance that the evaluation and selection process under this Call for Proposals are completed in due time, as otherwise the available budget may be lost (at least partly), being that according to the EU Financial Regulation, budgetary appropriations available for this Call must be committed in 2018.

  •   All forms must be returned (if a specific form is not applicable, please mark "not applicable" or "N/A" on the form).

  •  All forms must be signed (where required, the application forms should be completed with dates and signature in such a way that the status and full name of the signatory are clearly identifiable).

Failure to comply with these admissibility requirements may lead to the rejection of the application.

 

8. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

8.1 Eligible applicants8

No minimum number of entities from different Participating States is set. The Commission will sign either mono-beneficiary or multi-beneficiary grant agreement(s) with applicants selected for co-financing under this Call.

In order to be eligible for a grant, applicants must:

(1) Be legal persons.

(2) Belong to one of the following categories: public entities or private entities. Private entities may only be eligible, provided that they have been authorised by the Member State pre-committing the response capacity to the EERC to request and receive financial support from the Commission on behalf of that Member State).9

(3) Be established in one of the 28 EU Member States, or in Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or Turkey.

4) Be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the project with their partners (beneficiaries), i.e. not acting as an intermediary.

The entity that has submitted the proposal to the Commission will become the coordinator of the grant agreement if the proposal is accepted for EU-funding.

The coordinator will be the single point of contact for the Commission and will also be the only beneficiary to report directly to the Commission on the action’s technical and financial progress. It receives the Union financial contribution and ensures its distribution. The coordinator must be involved in the technical implementation of the project. The coordinator cannot act, in the context of the action, as a sub-contractor to one of its beneficiaries.

The beneficiary(ies) must contribute technically to the action and hence be responsible for the implementation of one or several project activities. It cannot act, in the context of 

the action, as a sub-contractor to the coordinator or to other beneficiaries. It must do everything in his power to help the coordinator fulfil its obligations under the grant agreement. In particular, it must provide the coordinator with all the necessary documents and information (technical or financial) required for the reporting to the Commission.

Actions may have up to 3 other types of participants in their implementation and funding: − affiliated entities,
− co-financer(s) (other than the Union), and
− sub-contractor(s).

In addition, also entities affiliated to the coordinator/beneficiaries may take part in the action, provided that they also comply with the eligibility and non-exclusion criteria applicable to other applicants. Affiliated entities are legal entities having a legal or capital link with the coordinator/beneficiaries, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action. This may include, among others, members of the same association, federation, grouping etc.

In the public sphere, the notion of affiliation covers for example:
- The different levels of the administrative structure in case of decentralised administration (e.g. national, regional or local ministries in case of separate legal entities can be considered as affiliated to the State to avoid interference with the various institutional set-ups in the different Member States);
- A public body established by a public authority to serve an administrative purpose and which is supervised by the public authority. This condition is to be verified on the basis of the statutes or other act establishing the public body. It does not necessarily entail that the public body is financed, in full or part, from the public budget (e.g. national schools for the judiciary or for the police are affiliated to the State).

Such entities may also declare eligible costs and for that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the relevant application forms when submitting the proposal. (For further guidance on this please check chapter 19).

A project co-financer only contributes to the action with financial resources, has no technical responsibilities and cannot receive parts of the EU financial contribution. Furthermore it cannot act, in the context of the action, as a sub-contractor to any of the project beneficiaries.

For specific tasks of a fixed duration, an action may also provide for the use of sub- contractors. Sub-contractors cannot act as beneficiaries or vice-versa. Sub-contractors provide external services to the project beneficiaries, who pay in full for the services provided.

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.17 of the grant agreement.

 

8.2 Eligible activities

As stated is chapter 2 of this document, the overarching activity covered by this document is "buffer capacities".

The following response capacities are proposed as priorities under this Call:

  •   FloodContainment

  •   Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS)

  •   Aerial forest fire fighting using planes

    As detailed in the Work Programme 2018 the expected activities related to response capacities may include:

    1. preparatory work on the design, preparation, negotiation, conclusion and management of contracts or arrangements to ensure the stand-by availability of the necessary response capacities;

    2. development of standard operational procedures and exercises to ensure the effective use of these capacities.

    In order to be eligible, buffer capacities must satisfy the conditions specified in Chapter 5.

    (*)Aerial forest fire fighting using planes: this buffer capacity should be available at least from 15/06/18 to 31/10/18. Where necessary, this period may be extended in accordance with the relevant operational conditions.

    All other buffer capacities should be available for the period of at least one year between January 2019 and December 2020.

    The specific period during which the buffer capacities will be available (i.e. stand-by period) must be clearly indicated in the project proposal.

    Where necessary, the duration of the implementation period of the action may exceed the duration of the stand-by period.

 

9. EXCLUSION CRITERIA
9.1 Exclusion from participation10:

Applicant entities will be excluded from participating in the Call for Proposals procedure if they are in any of the following situations:

(a) the economic operator 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 economic operator 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 contracting authority 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 economic operator is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the economic operator 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:

  1. (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;

  2. (ii)  entering into agreement with other economic operators with the aim of distorting competition;

  3. (iii)violating intellectual property rights;

  4. (iv)attempting to influence the decision-making process of the contracting authority during the procurement procedure;

  5. (v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the procurement procedure;

(d)  it has been established by a final judgment that the economic operator is guilty of any of the following:

  1. (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 (1);

  2. (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 (2), and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA (3), as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the economic operator is established or the country of the performance of the contract;

  3. (iii) participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA (4);

  4. (iv)money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (5);
    (v) terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA (1), respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

  5. (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 (2);

(e) the economic operator has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract financed by the 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 economic operator has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95 (3).

Applicant entities will be excluded from participating in the Call for Proposals also in the following case:

(a) where a person who is a member of the administrative, management or supervisory body of the entity, or who has powers of representation, decision or control with regard to that entity, is in one or more of the situations referred to in points (c) to (f) listed above. Entities will also be excluded where a natural or legal person that assumes unlimited liability for the debts of that entity is in one or more of the situations referred to in points (a) or (b) mentioned above.

9.2 Rejection from the award procedure11

Applicants will not be awarded a grant if, in the course of the grant award procedure, they:

(a) are in an exclusion situation established in accordance with Article 106 of the Financial Regulation;

(b) have misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the grant award procedure or have failed to supply that information;

(c) have been previously involved in the preparation of grant award documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

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

9.3 Applicant Declaration12
Applicants must sign a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of

the situations referred to in articles 106(1) or 107 and, where applicable, whether they

have taken remedial measures as referred to in point (a) of Article 106(7) of the Financial Regulation of the European Union, filling in the form (A2) attached to the application form.

In addition to the elements referred in Chapters 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3, a possible exclusion and rejection from participation will be processed in accordance with Article 131(4) of the Financial Regulation.

 

10 SELECTION CRITERIA

10.1 Financialcapacity14

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the period during which the action is carried out or the year for which the grant is awarded and to participate in its funding.

In order to ensure this the Commission will assess individually the financial capacity of each of the beneficiaries against their estimated share of the requested EU grant.

The verification of the financial capacity shall not apply to public bodies such as national, regional and local authorities or international organisations.

The financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted as part of the Application by each of the potential beneficiaries:

  • –  a declaration on honour (Form A2 for the Coordinator and the Beneficiaries),

  • –  the profit and loss account and the balance sheet for the 2 last financial years for which the accounts were closed. For newly created entities, the business plan might replace these documents; (for private companies only)

  • –  theFinancialViabilityFormprovided,filledinwiththerelevantstatutoryaccounting figures, in order to calculate the ratios as detailed in the form. (for private companies only)

    If on the basis of the documents submitted, the Commission considers that financial capacity is not satisfactory, it may:

  • –  request further information;

  • –  propose an enhanced financial responsibility regime, i.e. joint and several responsibility without any ceiling per beneficiary, up to the maximum amount of the grant;

  • –  propose a Grant Agreement with a pre-financing paid in instalments;

propose a Grant Agreement with a pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee; propose a Grant Agreement without pre-financing;
reject the application.

 

PRE-FINANCING GUARANTEE

In the event that the applicants' financial capacity is not satisfactory, a pre-financing guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre-financing may be requested in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment.

The financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the Member State of the European Union. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, the authorising officer responsible may agree that a bank or financial institution established in that third country may provide the guarantee if he considers that the bank or financial institution offers equivalent security and characteristics as those offered by a bank or financial institution established in a Member State. Amounts blocked in bank accounts shall not be accepted as financial guarantees.

The guarantee may be replaced by a joint and several guarantee by a third party or by the irrevocable and unconditional joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of a project who are parties to the same grant agreement.

The guarantee shall be released as the pre-financing is cleared against payments of balances to the beneficiary, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement.

Financial responsibility

Within a multi-beneficiary grant, the operational and financial risks may be shared. In line with Article II.26.3.c of the General Conditions, the beneficiaries are jointly and severally liable up to the value of the contribution that the beneficiary held liable is entitled to receive. This contribution is to be indicated in the estimated budget breakdown.

Alternatively, if foreseen in the Grant Agreement, the beneficiaries may be held jointly and severally liable for any amount due to the Commission by any one of them, up to the maximum amount specified in Article I.3 of the Grant Agreement (i.e. joint and several responsibilities without a ceiling per beneficiary). When applicable, the beneficiaries shall also be jointly and severally liable for interest on late payments.

10.2 Operational capacity16

Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as the qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action. In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration on their honour, and the following supporting documents:

 

  • curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the actions under this Call;
  • a list of previous projects and/or activities performed and connected to the actions to be carried out under this Call.
  • Annual activities report (for private applicants only).

 

11. AWARD CRITERIA

The award criteria allow the quality of the applications submitted to be evaluated in relation to the set objectives and priorities, and grants to be awarded to projects which maximise the overall effectiveness of the Call for proposals. They enable the selection of applications which the Contracting Authority can be confident will comply with its objectives and priorities.

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

  •   Understanding: clarity and consistency of rationale, objectives and planning. The applicants have fully understood the objectives and strategic and legislative context of the call and have designed the project accordingly;

  •   Methodology: description of ways and means of implementing the project and producing the expected results (background, operating procedures, schedules, constraints, assumptions, risks). Feasibility of the project within the proposed time frame;

  •   Cost effectiveness: the proposed budget is sufficient for proper implementation and the project is designed so as to ensure the best value for money, also taking into account the expected results;

  •   European dimension: the expected results would ensure broad participation of the participating states and serve the interest of a large number of Participating States.

 

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