The general context for this call for proposals is defined in section 3.13 of the 2019 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom Work Programme1 as published on the call page on the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) website.2 The background and rationale for this call for proposals are defined in section 3.13.1 of the 2019 – 2020 Work Programme.
2. PRIORITIES & OBJECTIVES
2.1 Priority outcomes
The priority outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in section 188.8.131.52 of the 2019 – 2020 Work Programme.
The goal is to continue to develop new generic services that expand the area of coverage of the various e-Justice Core Service Platform modules. This evolution is essential to the usefulness of each service.
Each application must address:
Only one of the generic services described in sections 2.1.1 to 2.1.4, and
The requirements described in section 2.1.5 General Provisions
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The details of the generic services depend on the nature of the Core Service Platform module to which it has to be connected. These are described in sections 2.1.1 to 2.1.4. Where relevant, applications may include e-Delivery Access Point deployment.
All applications submitted should aim to achieve full implementation of one of the generic services listed below. Where some activities towards the establishment of the relevant generic service have already been carried out, applications must include a clear distinction between what has already been implemented and what will be implemented as part of the scope of the proposed Action.
Establish connection to the e-Evidence Platform
Member States have to take all the organisational and technical steps to establish a connection to the European e-Evidence Platform.3 This connection could be established either by way of modifications of existing national portals or by deployment of the e- Evidence reference portal implementation provided by the European Commission. Activities related to the deployment of an e-CODEX Access Point, or modifications to an existing e-CODEX deployment, will also be supported to the extent that they concern Member State connection to the e-Evidence Platform.
Only applications submitted by at least one public authority competent for e-Evidence will be eligible for funding. Applicants must submit a self-declaration confirming that they are competent public authorities for e-Evidence. Applications may include additional applicants other than public authorities on the condition that their participation is necessary for establishing the generic service. A clear explanation must be provided under section 2.5 of application form part D in this regard.
Actions selected under this generic service will include mandatory conformance testing defined in the context of the Core Service Platform.
2.1.2 Interconnection of Insolvency Registers (IRI)
Implementation of the agreed web service specification necessary for communication with the Core Service Platform
The national insolvency registers have to implement the agreed web service specification necessary for communication with the Core Service Platform either via synchronous web services or by leveraging an e-Delivery Access Point for the same purpose.
Only applications submitted by at least one public authority competent for or operating insolvency or commercial registers will be eligible for funding. Applicants must submit a self-declaration confirming that they are competent public authorities for or operating insolvency or commercial registers. Applications may include additional applicants other than public authorities on the condition that their participation is necessary for establishing the generic service. A clear explanation must be provided under section 2.5 of application form part D in this regard.
Actions selected under this generic service will include mandatory conformance testing provided by the Core Service Platform.
2.1.3 Access to e-CODEX
Access to e-CODEX supports new participants from eligible countries4 to join the European Order for Payment (EOP), the European Small Claims (ESC), and iSupport5 use cases. With regard to the EOP and ESC use cases, applications are particularly welcomed that also propose to support sending back replies from the national court(s) via e-CODEX to the users of the European e-Justice Portal.
To achieve implementation for Access to e-CODEX, a proposal must cover one or more of the activities below:
Activities related to deployment, configuration, testing and operation of an eDelivery Access Point. This will also contribute to the compliance with the requirements set out in the eIDAS Regulation;
Activities related to the deployment, adaptation, configuration, testing, and operation of the e-CODEX connector (or of other existing third party software that can fulfil the same role with minimal adaptation) required for fulfilling the tasks mandated by the e-CODEX communication standard, as described in the e-CODEX specifications: generation of the necessary evidence of reception, signature validation, message packaging, and other relevant tasks;
One set of activities per judicial workflow for tasks related to the connection of the national infrastructure to the e-Delivery platform, the generation and consumption of XML, PDF and other types of files mandated by the judicial procedure in a pre- agreed cross-border format (such as the e-CODEX XSDs in the case of the EOP and ESC procedures), end-to-end testing, and operation of the system.
Applicants are encouraged to bundle all e-CODEX requests related to the eligible use cases as a single application.
Actions selected under this generic service will include mandatory conformance testing provided by the Core Service Platform. In the case of iSupport, beneficiaries will be asked to provide proof of the successful execution of conformance testing carried out by them.
For the EOP and ESC use cases, the connection will be considered achieved only if, for the judicial workflow(s) included in the proposal, the users of the e-Justice Portal can send to one or more courts in the Member State applying for funding any form linked to the judicial workflow that is meant to be sent from the claimant to the court, receiving evidence of reception. If included in its application, the Member State will also have to prove that it is able to send back all forms meant to be sent from the court to the claimant. The transmission is to be made using the technologies and standards described above or compatible ones.
For all workflows, as a minimum both a TEST and a PRODUCTION system must be set up by the applicant. For both systems, functional, non-functional, and system integration tests must be successfully carried out before the connection is considered achieved.
Only applications submitted by at least one public authority competent for the specific module will be eligible for funding. Applicants must submit a self-declaration confirming that they are competent public authorities for the national participation in the e-CODEX system. Applications may include additional applicants other than public authorities on the condition that their participation is necessary for establishing the generic service. A clear explanation must be provided under section 2.5 of application form part D in this regard.
2.1.4 Integration of electronic multilingual standard forms into national e- Government systems
Under the Regulation on Public Documents (Regulation (EU) 2016/1191)6, a citizen who requests from a Member State authority a public document (for example, a birth certificate) to be presented in another Member State can also request a multilingual standard form. This form must be issued by a Member State authority and be attached to the public document as a translation aid. The objective of the form is to avoid the receiving Member State authority requesting the citizen to provide a translation of the public document. The format and the standard content of the forms are laid down in the Regulation on Public Documents. The forms will be available in electronic form in the European e-Justice Portal to allow Member State issuing authorities can fill and print them out, but the e-forms can also be integrated in national e-Government systems so that:
Member State authorities can issue the forms directly from their national IT systems having access to all the information stored there; and
Member State authorities who elect to support
o Implement the necessary structured data functionalities and support enabling
these electronic exchanges;
o Provide support for sending and/or receiving electronic public documents and
multilingual standard forms issued and signed electronically by other Member State authorities.
Irrespective of whether Member State authorities generate e-forms in structured or non- structured format, the e-forms must follow the rules defined as part of the common XML Schemas Definitions (XSDs).
Only applications submitted by at least one public authority competent for issuing or receiving public documents7, central authorities8, or other public authorities in charge of the implementation of the Regulation on Public Documents will be eligible for funding. In this regard, applicants must submit a self-declaration confirming their competence. Applications may include additional applicants other than public authorities on the electronic versions of public documents and multilingual standard forms suitable for electronic exchange condition that their participation is necessary for establishing the generic service. A clear explanation must be provided under section 2.5 of application form part D in this regard.
Actions selected under this generic service will include mandatory conformance testing provided by the Core Service Platform.
2.1.5 General provisions
Each generic service may include up to three types of activities:
Hook-up: covers all the activities linked to the development of specific connection software, modifications and adaptations of existing information systems for the purposes of the hook-up. For example: installation and configuration of hardware and software infrastructure, required adaptations in existing software solutions and data sources, deployment of the generic service, local and integration testing, project management, etc.
In duly justified and substantiated cases, applications which aim to substantially increase the scope and/or the added value of an in situ generic service may also apply for hook-up activities.
Operation: covers operational costs such as hosting, acquisition of certificates or software licenses, technical support, etc.
Maintenance: covers any activity required for maintaining the specific connection software and associated configuration in good working order. This includes adaptive maintenance (changing the software to work in a changing infrastructure), corrective maintenance (resolving bugs) and evolutive maintenance (changing the software to adapt to evolving requirements, such as changes in the core platform or in the national service).
This Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI) is established specifically to help increase the service coverage of European e-Justice, and therefore is targeted only at applications seeking to develop a technical connection to the European e-Justice Portal or the e- Evidence Platform in the context of specific modules. Furthermore, it only aims to fund a limited range of activities, i.e., Actions aiming to connect an otherwise existing system and/or set of data using the specific interfaces mandated by the European e-Justice Portal or the e-Evidence Digital Exchange System. It cannot be used to fund the development of the system itself or the collection/production of the data. For all other types of e-Justice projects the appropriate funding tool is the annual call for "Action grants to support national or transnational e-Justice projects", managed by the European Commission Directorate-General (DG) for Justice and Consumers.
Proposed Actions which are explicitly excluded from the scope of the call include:
Support to generic services that are already operational (fully implemented) before the launch of this call
Use of Access to e-CODEX for purposes others than those defined in section 2.1.3 above
Applicants who already received funding under the CEF 2016-2, 2017-1 and 2018-4 European e-Justice Portal calls9 and/or the DG Justice and Consumers' "Action grants to
The deployment of an eDelivery Access Point can be part of the proposal.
2.2 Results expected from the financial assistance
The benefits and expected outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in section 184.108.40.206 of the 2019 – 2020 Work Programme. It seeks to increase the access to European e-Justice Portal by extending the service coverage of the modules e-Evidence, Interconnection of Insolvency Registers (IRI), Access to e-CODEX, and the Integration of electronic multilingual standard forms into e-Government systems. This includes:
E-evidence & Access to e-CODEX: The electronic exchange of data in the context of e-CODEX and e-evidence can significantly increase the efficiency of justice in a cross-border context, offering a cheaper, faster and more secure medium than paper transmission.
Interconnection of Insolvency Registers: Although Member States have a statutory obligation to complete the interconnection of their insolvency registers by 2019, in reality for many of them this represents a substantial financial, technical, or organisational challenge. This system would benefit citizens, businesses and creditors operating across European borders, who often need legal certainty and swift access to current information and certainty as part of their economic activities.
Integration of electronic multilingual standard forms into national e- Government systems: having standardised electronic representation of the public document forms would allow for an economy of scale. Moreover, this activity would lead to a prompt national capability for the efficient electronic generation of such forms by national systems – offering a clear benefit in the context of free movement of citizens in the Union.
Date of publication of call for proposals
Thursday 4 July 2019
Deadline for the submission of proposals
Thursday 14 November 2019 (17:00.00 Brussels time)
Evaluation of proposals
December 2019 – February 2020 (indicative)
Consultation of the CEF Committee
April 2020 (indicative)
Adoption of the Selection Decision
May 2020 (indicative)
Preparation and signature of grant agreements
Between May and August 2020 (indicative)
4. BUDGET AVAILABLE
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals is estimated at €3 million.
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
The Commission reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant.
5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
In order to be admissible, proposals must be:
Submitted no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3 on Timetable;
Submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application forms10 and electronic submission system available at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/tentec/grant/esubmission.11 In this respect, proposals or part(s) of proposals submitted by e-mail or hard copy will not be admissible;
Complete, i.e. all parts of the application form (A, B, C or D) are complete and uploaded in TENtec;
Duly signed by the applicant(s).
Failure to comply with any of these requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.
6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
6.1 Eligible applicants
In accordance with the 2019 – 2020 Work Programme and pursuant to Article 9 of the CEF Regulation,12 only those proposals submitted by the following types of applicants are eligible:
One or more Member States;
With the agreement of the Member State(s) or EEA countr(y)ies concerned,
international organisations, Joint Undertakings,13 or public or private undertakings or bodies established in Member States.
In order to be eligible, proposals must be submitted by at least one authority competent for the respective e-Justice generic service module, and may also include other organisations supporting the authority/ies.
Each competent authority must download from the call webpage14, fill in, and upload as a supporting document the self-declaration, stating that it is competent for the specific e-Justice generic service module that the proposal addresses.
In accordance with section 5.3.1 of the 2019 - 2020 Work Programme, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) may participate15 in the call for proposals, even when not explicitly mentioned in the Work Programme text, with the same rights, obligations and requirements as EU Member States. At the time of call publication, these conditions apply to Norway and Iceland only.
For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.16.3.1 (a) (change of the legal situation of the beneficiary) of the grant agreement.16
Third countries and third country entities
With the exception of the iSupport e-CODEX use case, only EU Member States, Iceland, and Norway can apply for the generic services under this call for proposals.
In the case of the iSupport e-CODEX use case, and where necessary to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest and where duly motivated, third countries and entities established in third countries may participate in actions contributing to the projects of common interest. They may not receive funding under the CEF Regulation, except where it is indispensable to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest.
Acceding states and candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy may also participate in the sector of the CEF covering telecommunications infrastructure in accordance with agreements signed with the EU. As at the time of call publication no such agreements have been signed, the same conditions as for third countries apply to acceding states and candidate countries.
Third countries and entities established in third countries may only participate as part of a consortium with applicants from EU/EEA countries. The application must contain the agreement of the Member State concerned by the proposed Action and a declaration from the European partner involved in the proposal on why the participation of the third country applicant is indispensable. Applicants that are entities established in a third country must also provide proof of the support of the third country authorities concerned by the action.
Applicants without legal personality
Proposals may be submitted by entities which do not have legal personality under the applicable national law, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf and offer a guarantee for the protection of the EU's financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
Proposals submitted by natural persons are not eligible.
Applicants may designate affiliated entities within the meaning of Article 187 of the Financial Regulation, for the purpose of supporting the implementation of the action submitted for funding. Such affiliated entities must comply with the eligibility criteria for applicants.
Member State agreement
Any applicant that cannot provide the agreement of the EU Member State or EEA country concerned will not be eligible.
6.2 Eligible actions
In line with Article 7 of the CEF Regulation, only actions contributing to "projects of common interest" as identified in the Telecom Guidelines17 shall be eligible for support through EU financial aid in the form of grants.
Please note that failure to comply with any of the eligibility criteria indicated above will lead to the rejection of the application.
The Action may not start before the date of submission of the application.18
The indicative duration of an Action proposed under this call is 2 years.