1. CALL CONTEXT
The general context for this call for proposals is defined in Section 3.12 of the 2017 CEF Telecom Work Programme1 as published on the call page on the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) website.2
2. BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
The background and rationale for this call for proposals are defined in Section 3.12.1 of the 2017 Work Programme.
The priority outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in Section 220.127.116.11 of the 2017 Work Programme.
The objective is namely to encourage the further development and connection of generic services to the existing modules of the European e-Justice Portal (the Core Service Platform), in order to serve a greater audience and thus better fulfil their public function.
The following generic services and activities listed below are covered under this call. Proposals addressing those activities indicated in section 3.3 (Access to e-CODEX) will take priority over those addressing other generic services.
3.1. Interconnection of Insolvency Registers
Implementation of the agreed web service specification necessary for communication with the Core Service Platform.
Only applications submitted by national public administrations or other competent bodies responsible for or operating insolvency, business or commercial registers will be funded. At least one applicant must demonstrate in question 2.5 of application form part D the responsibility for or competence in operating insolvency, business or commercial registers (e.g. by providing supporting documents such as government act, legal basis, etc.) in the context of the interconnection activities envisaged in Regulation (EU) 2015/848.3 For multi-applicant proposals, question 2.5 should also contain a clear explanation why the other applicants are necessary to the consortium for establishing the generic service.
Actions selected covering this generic service will include mandatory conformance testing provided by the European e-Justice Portal Core Service Platform.
3.2. European Case Law Identifier (ECLI)
Adoption and implementation of the ECLI standard on national level;
Provision of national case law to the Core Service Platform, to allow users to search for and find case law decisions featuring an ECLI identifier and metadata.
Applications which aim at the full national adoption of the ECLI standard and the establishment of an interconnection to the ECLI search engine of the European e-Justice Portal will receive higher priority during the evaluation than those offering partial adoption (for example limited to the judicial decisions of a Supreme Court, or to prospective adoption of the ECLI standard).
Only applications submitted by national, European and international case law publishers or providers will be supported. At least one applicant must demonstrate in question 2.5 of application form part D the proof of competence in the respective domain in the proposal, as well as via the provision of the relevant supporting documents (e.g. statutes, annual activity reports, etc.). For multi-applicant proposals, question 2.5 should also contain a clear explanation why the other applicants are necessary to the consortium for establishing the generic service.
Actions selected covering this generic service will include mandatory conformance testing provided by the European e-Justice Portal Core Service Platform.
3.3. Access to e-CODEX
The Access to e-CODEX package has been created to support Member States for joining the e- CODEX judicial workflows operated in the context of the European e-Justice Portal or cross- border initiatives associated with it – particularly the upcoming e-evidence workflow. For the European Order for Payment (EOP) and the European Small Claims (ESC) workflows, generic services are defined as parties able to receive claims electronically from users of the European e-Justice Portal. For the e-evidence workflow, generic services are defined as parties exchanging e- evidence through e-CODEX using the communication protocols to be established jointly by the European Commission and the Expert Group on e-evidence.
With regard to the EOP and ESC workflows, priority will be given to the applications that also propose to support sending back communication and decisions from the national court(s) via e- CODEX to the users of the European e-Justice Portal.
Activities funded in this area will include:
Deployment of an eDelivery Access Point or use an eDelivery Access Point through a service provider. An eDelivery Access Point is an implementation of the e-SENS AS4 Profile.4 If the deployment of eDelivery is included in the proposal, support will be given to activities aiming to deploy or use and/or operate the Access Point(s) for one year. The Access Point deployment will have to prove compliance with the technical specifications defined by the eDelivery DSI via the conformance testing platform made available by the Core Service Platform of the eDelivery DSI or an equivalent testing platform subject to verification by the eDelivery DSI.
Those 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 (i.e. generation of the necessary evidence of reception, signature validation, message packaging and other relevant tasks);
Per judicial workflow, the tasks required for connecting to e-CODEX, including:
o Connection of the national case or e-evidence management infrastructure to the eDelivery platform
o 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 EOP and ESC procedures)
o End-to-end testing and operation of the system.
Applicants are encouraged to bundle all e-CODEX requests related to EOP and ESC as a single application if possible.
With regard to the EOP and ESC workflows, the connection will be considered achieved if and only if, for the judicial workflow(s) included in the proposal, the users of the European 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 this is included in its application, the applicant must also supply proof of its ability to return all forms meant to be sent from the court to the claimant. The transmission is to be done using the technologies and standards described above or those which are compatible. This will be verified using the test plans defined by the e-CODEX project.
With regard to the e-evidence workflow, the connection will be considered achieved if and only if it provides a complete implementation of the communication protocols as they will be defined jointly by the European Commission and the Expert Group on e-evidence.
For all three of the workflows, at the 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 public administrations of EU Member States will be funded. At least one applicant must demonstrate in question 2.5 of application form part D the proof of competence for dealing with the workflow(s) addressed in the proposal via the provision of the relevant supporting documents (e.g. government act, legal basis, etc). For multi-applicant proposals, question 2.5 should also contain a clear explanation why the other applicants are necessary to the consortium for establishing the generic service.
3.4. Interconnection of Land Registers
Activities funded in this area will include:
Implementation of the required web services specification necessary for communication with the Land Registers Interconnection (LRI) platform of the European e-Justice Portal with national/regional land registers and/or cadastres for the querying and acquisition of land property-related information.
For the first activity, only applications submitted by organisations competent for or operating land registers and/or cadastres will be funded. Priority will be given to applicants that have nationwide coverage.
For the second activity, only applications submitted by registers that have the described capability on a national or EU-wide level will be funded. Therefore, applications from professional associations would be relevant, whereas those from single offices would not be. Priority will be given to applicants that can certify the professional capacity of a wide range of key stakeholder professions on an EU-wide level. Such stakeholder professions may indicatively include: notaries, judges, bailiffs, credit agencies, lawyers, real estate agents, cadastre officers, bank tellers, fraud investigators, surveyors, etc.
In cases where registers have the capability to implement both activities (provision of land property-related information and authentication mechanism), it is recommended that applications are bundled together. Such cases include land registers/cadastres in which users can have different profiles (e.g., professionals and 'normal' citizens). Such applicants will be given priority.
For both activities, at least one applicant must demonstrate in question 2.5 of application form part D the proof of competence in the respective domain in the proposal, as well as via the provision of the relevant supporting documents (e.g. government act, legal basis, etc). For multi-applicant proposals, question 2.5 should also contain a clear explanation why the other applicants are necessary to the consortium for establishing the generic service.
Actions selected covering this generic service will include mandatory conformance testing provided by the e-Justice Portal Core Service Platform.
3.5. European Court Database
Adaptation and/or extension of national databases to implement a mechanism for the automatic import of relevant data (e.g. court details, competences, etc.) to the European Court Database.
Only applications submitted by public administrations will be funded. At least one applicant must demonstrate in question 2.5 of application form part D the proof of competence in the respective domain in the proposal, as well as via the provision of the relevant supporting documents (e.g. government act, legal basis, etc). For multi-applicant proposals, question 2.5 should also contain a clear explanation why the other applicants are necessary to the consortium for establishing the generic service.
Actions selected covering this generic service will include a mandatory conformance testing provided by the e-Justice Portal Core Service.
3.6. General provisions
Funding may cover up to three types of activities for any of the above-mentioned generic services:
Hook-up: all activities linked to the development of specific connection software, modifications and adaptations of existing information systems for the purposes of the hook-up (ex. 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, proposals which aim to substantially increase the scope and/or the added value of an in situ generic service may also be considered as hook-up activities.
Operation: costs such as hosting, acquisition of certificates or software licenses, technical support, etc.
Maintenance: any activity required for maintaining the specific connection software and associated configuration in good working order, including 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).
Where only parts of one of the generic services indicated above are not yet implemented, a provision for their implementation can be included in the application as long as a clear distinction between the existing and still to be implemented parts is made.
Separate applications should be submitted if the applicant(s) seek(s) to implement multiple types of generic services. Unless advised otherwise for the specific module, implementations of the same generic service (e.g., Interconnection of Insolvency Registers) by different applicants or by the same applicant in different instances can and should be grouped as much as possible in a single application.
Actions which are explicitly excluded from the scope of the call include:
e-Justice actions that do not have a clear and direct link to the European e-Justice Portal modules or associated initiatives as listed in section 18.104.22.168 of the Work Programme;
Generic services that are already operational before the launch of this call;
Applicants who already received funding under the CEF 2016-2 European e-Justice Portal call and/or the DG Justice and Consumers" Action grants to support national or transnational e-Justice projects" calls (JUST-JACC-EJU-AG-2016, JUST/2015/JACC/AG/E-JU, JUST/2014/JACC/AG/E-JU, JUST/2013/JPEN/AG) and who plan to apply again under this call must clearly explain in in the relevant section of application form part D of their proposal (notably section 1 and Q2.1) how their proposed actions will differ from those action(s) funded under either of the aforementioned calls.
4. RESULTS EXPECTED FROM THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
The benefits and expected outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in Sections 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 of the 2017 Work Programme. In relation to the generic services, this includes:
4.1 Interconnection of Insolvency Registers:
Improving the provision of relevant and timely information to creditors and courts involved and preventing the opening of parallel insolvency proceedings
Allowing certain Member States to expediently comply with the requirements of the EU Regulation on insolvency proceedings5
Interconnecting Member State insolvency registers via the European e-Justice Portal
4.2 European Case Law Identifier (ECLI):
Further adoption of the ECLI standard and implementation of technical solutions allowing easier access to national case law at the national and European levels in compliance with the ECLI standard at local and EU level (via the Core Service Platform).
4.3 Access to e-CODEX:
Enlarging the Member State coverage where electronic use of the EOP and the ESC cross-border legal instruments or exchange of e-evidence is possible, and thus enabling judicial authorities to interact electronically and efficiently among each other, with citizens, business and legal practitioners across the EU.
Interconnection of Land Registers
Providing a single access point, established within the e-Justice Portal, for the acquisition of land-related information of participating Member States
Enabling citizens and professionals to query and retrieve relevant land register information via a single, adaptive, multi-lingual interface
European Court Database:
Enabling a smoother and enhanced process of Member State data provision to the Database, resulting in more up-to-date and accurate information.
The indicative amount to be allocated on the basis of this call for proposals to projects of common interest in the field of trans-European telecommunications for the European e-Justice Portal generic services is €1.5 million.
Date of publication of call for proposals
17 February 2017
Deadline for the submission of proposals
18 May 2017 (17:00.00 Brussels time)
Evaluation of proposals
June-September 2017 (indicative)
Consultation of the CEF Committee
October 2017 (indicative)
Adoption of the Selection Decision
October 2017 (indicative)
Preparation and signature of grant agreements
between October 2017 and February 2018 (indicative)
7. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
A proposal will not be evaluated if at least one of the following situations occurs:
It is not submitted electronically in the TENtec Information System eSubmission module.6 In this respect, proposals or part(s) of proposals submitted by email or hard copy will not be admissible.
It is not submitted by the deadline for submission of proposals (see Sections 6 on Timetable and 13.2 on Submission of proposals).
The proposal is incomplete, i.e. any part of the application form (A, B, C or D) is missing. The proposal is not duly signed by the applicant(s).
8. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
In accordance with the 2017 Work Programme and pursuant to Article 9 of the CEF Regulation,7 only those proposals submitted by one of the following types of applicants are eligible:
One or more Member States;
organisations, Joint Undertakings,8 or public or private undertakings or bodies established in an EU Member State.
In accordance with section 4.3.1 of the 2017 Work Programme, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) may participate9 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.10
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 an explanation from the European partner involved in the proposal on why the participation of the third country applicant is necessary and/or indispensable. Applicants that are entities established in a third country must also provide proof of the support of the third country authorities concerned.
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.
Any applicant that cannot provide the agreement of the EU Member State or EEA country concerned will not be eligible.
Applicants may designate affiliated entities within the meaning of Article 122(2)(b) of the Financial Regulation11, for the purpose of supporting the implementation of the action submitted for funding. Such affiliated entities must comply with the eligibility criteria for applicants.
For multi-applicant proposals, a coordinator must be designated.
In line with Article 106 of the Financial Regulation and Article 141 of the Rules of Application,12 an applicant will be excluded from participating in the call for proposals procedure if it is in any of the following situations:
a) it is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national legislation or regulations;
b) it has been established by a final judgement or a final administrative decision that it is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;
c) it has been established by a final judgement or a final administrative decision that it is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the entity 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:
fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;
entering into agreement with other persons with the aim of distorting competition;
violating intellectual property rights;
attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission/ the Agency during the award procedure;
attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;
d) it has been established by a final judgement that it is guilty of the following:
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;
corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of EU Member States, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the legal provisions of the country where the authorising officer is located, the country in which the entity is established or the country of the performance of the contract;
participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;
money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;
terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;
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;
e) it has shown significant deficiencies in complying with the main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union’s budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an Authorising Officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;
f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that it has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;
g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, it is subject to:
facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;
non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;
decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations;
decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law;
decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU Institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.
Applicants will not be granted financial assistance if, in the course of the grant award procedure:
they are subject to a conflict of interests;
they are guilty of misrepresenting the information required by the contracting authority as a condition of participation in the grant award procedure or have failed to supply that information;
find themselves in one of the situations of exclusion, referred to above.
These same exclusion criteria also apply to affiliated entities. Applicants and their affiliated entities, if applicable, must certify that they are not in one of the situations listed above.
8.2 Eligible actions
Only actions which can be identified as "projects of common interest" as defined in the Telecom Guidelines13 may receive EU financial assistance.
9. SELECTION CRITERIA
The financial and operational capacity of applicants and designated affiliated entities will be assessed as specified below.
The requirement for applicants to demonstrate their financial and operational capacity does not apply to Member States, public sector undertakings or bodies established in the EU/EEA countries (Norway and Iceland), third countries, international organisations, European Economic Interest
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