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Consolidation of law enforcement agencies - support to the Albanian state police and general prosecutor office EuropeAid/151858/DD/ACT/AL
Deadline: 26 Sep 2016   CALL EXPIRED

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 Justice
 Regional Policy
 International Relations
 International Law
 Civil Law
 Policy Evaluation and Governance
 Public Safety

1 CONSOLIDATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES - SUPPORT TO THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS, ALBANIAN STATE POLICE AND PROSECUTOR OFFICES

1.1 BACKGROUND

The European Union granted the status of Candidate Country to Albania in June 2014. In the relevant Council decision, Albania was invited to intensify its efforts to ensure a sustained, comprehensive and inclusive implementation of the objectives identified in the so-called "Key Priorities" (KPs). Such framework notably encompassed the reform of the public administration (KP1) and the judiciary (KP2), the fight against corruption (KP3) and organised crime (KP4), the protection of human rights and anti- discrimination policies including in the area of minorities and their equal treatment, and implementation of property rights (KP5).

The fight against organised crime in all its forms, proactive investigations including financial investigation and improving the capacities in the area of integrated border management remain important issues that need to be further enhanced to progress towards the EU integration process. There has been an intensification of law enforcement activities including on drug seizures and drug-related crimes, economic crime, and trafficking of human beings. In particular, the authorities have taken serious steps to fight cultivation and trafficking of cannabis. Proactive police operations have led to large seizures of drugs and destruction of cannabis plants. However in spite of progress achieved problems still persist in these areas. These problems are constantly highlighted in most of the EU reports and strategy papers.

The Albania 2015 Report pointed out that in order to fulfil the KP4 and the interlinked KP2 and KP3, in the coming year Albania should in particular: demonstrate further progress with a view to establishing a solid track record of proactive investigations, prosecutions and convictions, including dismantling of criminal networks involved in all forms of organised crime; amend relevant legislation in the area of interceptions and surveillance, time limits for investigations, and admissibility of evidence to enhance the efficiency of investigations on organised crime cases, in line with European standards and best practices; set up an effective human resources policy and a merit-based promotion and transfer process in the Albanian State Police, and allocate adequate resources to the police and prosecution services to fight organised crime: take further action to reinforce the independence, efficiency and accountability of judicial institutions;

Throughout the years, Ministry of Interior, Albania State Police (ASP), General Prosecution Office (GPO), and relevant agencies and institutions, have been extensively supported in building their capacity by the EU through various projects namely the PAMECA ones. As a whole EU support has been instrumental for the improvement of law enforcement systems in recent years. Building on this past assistance, and bearing in mind the systemic weaknesses previously identified further support and technical assistance is needed in order to achieve the desired results and at the same time to fulfil the EU integration requirements.

Applicants are expected to collaborate and coordinate with all other projects in the field in order to build synergies and to avoid overlapping, the proposals that take into consideration other pertinent programmes of the sector, will have an added value.

1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME AND PRIORITY ISSUES

The global objective of this call for proposals is: To improve the capacities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOI) Albanian state police (ASP), prosecutor offices and theirs supporting structures in meeting their objectives of tackling serious and organised crime and drug trafficking in a proactive manner, and in responding to local community needs in terms of public security and border management challenges in terms of flow of migrants and asylum seekers.

This project will be implemented through a Grant Agreement with a Government Department,Public body, or relevant mandated body of a Government Department or public body authority of a European Union Member State (in partnership) and will include the mobilization of a team of Long Term Experts (LTE) in Albania, complemented by the assistance of Medium Term and/or Short Term Experts ( MTE/STE). 

The specific objective(s) of this call for proposals are:

• To further improve the capacity, and coordination mechanisms, of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOI), ASP prosecutor offices and other relevant agencies/institutions to address challenges in the fight against organised crime/terrorism/money laundering, public safety, as well as improving institutional monitoring of high level cases. 

Project Beneficiaries (List is not exhaustive.)

For the purpose of this Call for Proposals and the related grant agreement, the grant beneficiary ("the Beneficiary") is the Government Department, Public body, or relevant mandated body of a Government Department or public body authority of a European Union Member State r in partnership) who will be awarded the grant for implementing the project.

The project final beneficiary will be the Albanian Authorities: the Albanian Ministry of Interior (Mol) and the Albanian State Police (ASP), including the Security Academy, the General Prosecutor Office (GPO) and District Prosecutor offices and any others prosecution offices and specialized police unit that might be created in the context of the justice reforms. Secondary Beneficiaries will be the General Directorate of Prevention of Money Laundering/Financial Investigation Unit (FIU), the High Inspectorate for the Declaration and Audit of Assets (HIDAA) Taxation Office, Custom, theAgency for Administration of Sequestered and confiscated Assets (AASCA) and all reporting entities and supervisory authorities.

For the Integrated Border Management component Beneficiaries will be the Institutions participating in the IMOC (Inter-institutional Maritime Operational Centre) with particular focus on the inter-action with the Ministry of Defence (Coastal Guard).

Others beneficiaries will also be the Ministry of Justice and institutions of the judiciary.

The project will work in constant collaboration and coordination with the other EU funded projects in the field in order to build synergies and to avoid overlapping.

While the project will work to enhance the capacities of its direct and indirect beneficiaries, the final beneficiaries of the project will be the Albanian population, who will benefit from reduced levels of criminal activities in Albania and from increased levels of public order and security. Improved fight against financial fraud and smuggling, and increased levels of legitimate economic activity, should result in increased public revenue and spending, with the Albanian State as intermediary beneficiary, and the population as final beneficiary. Indirectly, the populations of EU/EEA countries will also benefit from a reduction in criminal activities originating from, or transiting through, Albania. Therefore, the project will contribute to the increasing people’s confidence in their law enforcement system and to the consolidation of democracy and rule of law in Albania.

Assumptions and conditionality underlying this project

  • Availability of a Government Department, Public body, or relevant mandated body of a of Government Department or public body authority of a European Union Member State to take the lead and provide suitably qualified expertise for the project.

  • Fruitful sector collaboration and coordination with the other EU funded projects that builds synergies and avoids overlapping.

  • Full commitment from the Albanian Authorities (Government of Albania and from the MoI/ASP/GPO) to work towards the achievements of the project objectives. 

  • The Albanian Authorities must closely co-operate with "Consolidation of the law enforcement capacities (PAMECA IV)" and with each other in the widest possible sense. This includes making officials available for training and accepting to maintain them in the relevant posts thereafter, providing all necessary information to advance the project objectives, and facilitating the work of the project staff.

  • The Albanian Authorities have to appoint a project facilitator from ASP/MoI or GPO. The project facilitator will be the main contact point for the European Union Delegation to Albania and the EU Member State beneficiary of the Grant for logistical issues, questions of day to day management of the project and coordination with relevant institutions of the Law enforcement system. All implementation decisions will be taken by the stakeholders' committee.

  • The Albanian Authorities will host the project staff members in the premises of the Albanian State Police General Prosecutors' offices and other relevant institutions/ agencies if . This will include office accommodation and furnishings, and telephone equipment and lines with national and international access.

  • Vehicles of the ”PAMECA IV” project will be taken over by the Ministry of Interior and made exclusively available to the new project ( PAMECA V).

  • The Ministry of Interior/ASP will provide the necessary administrative assistance to the EU Member State beneficiary of the Grant vis-à-vis other Albanian Authorities for the issuing of the necessary visas for its expatriate personnel, as well as for the customs clearance and inland transportation (from border point to final destination) for its imported equipment. The same assistance is expected to solve any unforeseen problem that the EU Member State beneficiary of the Grant may encounter during the installation, presence, and departure of the “Consolidation of the law enforcement capacities (PAMECA V)” project in and from Albania.

  • In parallel to the international assistance programmes, the Government will gradually allocate more funds from the national budget to sustain from its own resources the progress in police/public order/Law Enforcement matters.

  • The MoI/ASP/GPO as well as the “Consolidation of the law enforcement capacities (PAMECA V)” project will provide the European Union Delegation to Albania with the necessary data for the monitoring, evaluation and follow up of the programme.

  • Project reporting, will be discussed and endorsed togthers with the Albanian Authorities. Indicators and objectives will be reviewed on a regular base together by the Albanian Authorities. 

1.3 FINANCIAL ALLOCATION PROVIDED BY THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY

The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 6.000.000 The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.

Size of grants

Any grant requested under this call for proposals must be equal or less then the available budget EURO 6.000.000:

The overall amount of the project cannot in any way be increased during the implementation period.

Any grant requested under this Call for Proposals can be funded up 100% of total eligible costs of the action: 

 

2 RULES FOR THIS CALL FOR PROPOSALS

These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of the actions

financed under this call, in conformity with the Practical Guide, which is applicable to the present call 5

(available at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en) .

2.1 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:

(1)  the actors:

  • The lead applicant, i.e. the entity submitting the concept note and the full application form (2.1.1),

  • if any, its co-applicant(s) (where it is not specified otherwise the lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) are hereinafter jointly referred as the "applicants") (2.1.1),

  • and, if any, affiliated entity(ies) to the lead applicant and/or to a co-applicant(s). (2.1.2);

(2)  the actions:

• Actions for which a grant may be awarded (2.1.4);

(3) the costs:

• types of cost that may be taken into account in setting the amount of the grant (2.1.5). Lead applicant

2.1.1 Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s))

(1) In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:

  • be a legal person, and

  • be a specific type of organisation such as: a competent Government Department, Public body, or relevant mandated body of a Government Department or public body authority of a European Union Member State in the fields related to this action and

  • be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary.

(2) Potential applicants may not participate in calls for proposals or be awarded grants if they are in any of the situations listed in section 2.3.3 of the Practical Guide;

In Annex A.2, section 5 (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies) are not in any of these situations.

The lead applicant must act with co-applicants as specified hereafter.

If awarded the grant contract, the lead applicant will become the beneficiary identified as the Coordinator in Annex E3h1 (Special Conditions). The Coordinator is the main interlocutor of the Contracting Authority. It represents and acts on behalf of any other co-beneficiary (if any) and coordinate the design and implementation of the action. 

Co-applicant(s)

Co-applicants should include at least: One (1) competent Government Department, Public body, or relevant mandated body of a Government Department or public body authority of a European Union Member State in the fields related to this action (Co-applicant must be from a different Member States then the lead applicant) .

Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.

Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant. Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Annex A.2., section 4.

If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s)(if any) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the Coordinator). 

2.1.2 Affiliated entity(ies)

The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies)

Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):

Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.

This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:

  1. (i)  Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:

    Entities affiliated to applicant may hence be:

    • -  Entities directly or indirectly controlled by an applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by an applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;

    • -  Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;

    • -  Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).

  2. (ii)  Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.

The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.

By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so- called “sole applicants” or “sole beneficiaries”. A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members. 

What is not an affiliated entity?

The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:

  • -  Entities that have entered into a (procurement) contract or subcontract with an applicant, act as concessionaires or delegatees for public services for an applicant,

  • -  Entities that receive financial support from an applicant,

  • -  Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of

    understanding or share some assets,

-  Entities that have signed a consortium agreement under the grant contract (unless this consortium agreement leads to the creation of a "sole applicant" as described above).

How to verify the existence of the required link with an applicant?

The affiliation resulting from control may in particular be proved on the basis of the consolidated accounts of the group of entities the applicant and its proposed affiliates belong to.

The affiliation resulting from membership may in particular be proved on the basis of the statutes or equivalent act establishing the entity (network, federation, association) which the applicant constitutes or in which the applicant participates.

If the applicants are awarded a grant contract, their affiliated entity(ies) will not become beneficiary(ies) of the action and signatory(ies) of the grant contract. However, they will participate in the design and in the implementation of the action and the costs they incur (including those incurred for implementation contracts and financial support to third parties) may be accepted as eligible costs, provided they comply with all the relevant rules already applicable to the beneficiary(ies) under the grant contract.

Affiliated entity(ies) must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant and the co-applicant(s). They must sign the affiliated entity(ies) statement in Annex A.2., section 5.

2.1.3 Associates and Contractors 

The following entities are not applicants nor affiliated entities and do not have to sign the "mandate for co-applicant(s)" or "affiliated entities' statement":

• Associates

Other organisations or individuals may be involved in the action. Such associates play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs. Associates do not have to meet the eligibility criteria referred to in section 2.1.1. Associates must be mentioned in Annex A.2., section 4 — ‘Associates participating in the action’.

• Contractors

The beneficiaries and their affiliated entities are permitted to award contracts. Associates or affiliated entity(ies) cannot be also contractors in the project. Contractors are subject to the procurement rules set out in Annex IV to the standard grant contract.

2.1.4 Eligible actions: actions for which an application may be made

Definition
An action is composed of a set of activities.

Duration 

The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 40 months nor exceed 60 months.

Sectors or themes

  • -  Fight against serious/organised crime, terrorism anti-corruption, financial crime (money laundering) and proactive investigation skills among law enforcement agencies – including Financial Investigation Unit - in the previously mentioned areas.

  • -  Integrated Border Management.

  • -  Strategic Planning and coordination for Ministry of Internal affairs, Albanian State Police , and

    prosecutor offices and theirs supporting structures-

  • -  Structure, Organization, Human Resources, logistics, budgeting of Ministry of Internal affairs, Albanian State Police and prosecutor offices and theirs supporting structures

Location

Actions must take place in Albania. A substantial number of activities shall be organised at the regional levels in Albania involving all Border Regions and Regional Directorates (including police commissariats located in remote areas). The regional impact of the proposal will be an added value.

Types of action

Actions should cover all Sector/themes listed above. The grant should mainly provide technical assistance to the relevant Albanian Institutions (Albanian State Police, General Prosecutor Office and other related Agencies). The applicant may add other activities in addition to the activities listed below given that they are relevant and in line with the objectives and the expected results.

The following types of action are ineligible:

  • actions concerned only or mainly with individual sponsorships for participation in workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses;

  • actions concerned only or mainly with individual scholarships for studies or training courses;

Types of activity

For all activities, the project will work in constant collaboration and coordination with the other EU/Member states and other donors projects in the field in order to build synergies and to avoid overlapping.

Fight against serious/organised crime, terrorism and proactive investigation skills among law enforcement agencies -

  • -  Strengthen inter-institutional/interagency and international cooperation ;

  • -  enhance investigative capacities of the new set-up structures and the existing ones; further advance

    special means of investigation, with attention to criminal assets, and fighting terrorism ;

  • -  Strengthen the ASP anti-terrorism department at central and regional level;

  • -  Support the development of legislation in compliance of EU acquis and of a comprehensive overall

    strategic/all-inclusive approach towards organized crime, emphasising on of prevention, protection

    and prosecution.

  • -  Enhance coordination and collaborations among prosecutors, law enforcement bodies, Supervisory

    Authorities and Reporting entities (such as Financial Intelligence Unit - Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering, the General Taxation Directorate, the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflict of Interests (HIDAACI), and the General Customs Directorate) in order to conduct proactive and successful investigations in particular in the fields of financial crimes connected with inexplicable wealth, anticorruption and organised crime.

  • -  Enhance the preventive side of relevant stakeholders on public safety and security in general with special focus on Social Sector Policing and Education.

  • -  Support to human rights protection and anti-discrimination, in particular with regard to implementation of the key priority 12 - prevention of ill-treatment/torture of persons in detentionand in police custody (with a special focus on protection of vulnerable groups - juveniles, women, ethnic and sexual minorities, persons with disabilities)

     

Integrated Border Management 

  • -  Review of the structures in place and further improvement of the border security system with the aim to achieve full compliance with the EU- and Schengen-Acquis and best practices.

  • -  Enhanced technical and institutional capacity of relevant agencies in order to address the ever growing challenges;

  • -  Increase effectiveness in preventing and striking at cross-border criminal activity;

  • -  updating and improving the capacity to cope with migratory/refugees flows in line with EU policies

    and best practices;

  • -  review the status of legislative alignment with relevant EU and Schengen acquis.

Strategic Planning and coordination for Ministry of Internal affairs, Albanian State Police , and prosecutor offices and theirs supporting structures-

  • -  Support the structures involved in the integration process to properly respond to the challenging objectives in this regard through strengthening the capacities to draft concrete policies, strategic planning and programmed steps towards EU integration.

  • -  Support the integration structures into daily work practices regarding strategic documents, international cooperation, EU assistance and analysis.

  • -  Support the relevant structures on coordination with the other respective strategic documents.

Structure, Organization, Human Resources, logistics, budgeting of Ministry of Internal affairs, Albanian State Police and prosecutor offices and theirs supporting structures

  • -  Support to management structure and management capacity of beneficiaries.

  • -  Support human resource management, Budget and Finance Directorates.

  • -  Support to implement a "zero tolerance" policy regarding corruption and/or misuse of funds

    inside the ASP, prosecutor offices and theirs supporting structures and implement internal control

    standards.

  • -  Support the capacity to elaborate statistics and improving the monitoring and reporting system on

    the track record of selected relevant cases.

  • -  Support the set-up of a clear, coherent, sustainable strategy concerning IT and Radio Transmission and equipment in general.

Applicants may not propose financial support to third parties. Visibility

The applicants must take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the European Union has financed or co-financed the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union must incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.

Applicants must comply with the objectives and priorities and guarantee the visibility of the EU financing (see the Communication and Visibility Manual for EU external actions specified and published by the European Commission at https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu- external-actions_en). 

Reporting

The project team will submit the following reports:
Inception report, three months after the award of the contract with a first work plan for the following 6- month period (list of activities, expected results, and objectively verifiable measurable indicators of achievement).
Work plans, providing a list of activities, expected results and measurable indicators of achievement for the following 6-month period.
Semi-Annual Progress reports, providing every six months strategic information and measurable indicators on the implementation of work plans and the achievement of the project objectives.
Monthly Progress reports, providing brief monthly up-dates on individual activities and difficulties encountered, where appropriate.
Weekly report : providing short update( max 2 pages) on main issues in the sectors. 

Ad-hoc reports, upon the team’s initiative or where requested by the EU Delegation, on particular aspects of judicial reform and the assistance provided. Ad-hoc reports are submitted for information to the European Union Delegation and the Albanian project facilitator.

Final report, including ‘lessons learned’, at the end of the period of execution. The EU Member State beneficiary of the Grant will submit administrative and financial reports as stipulated by the contract with the European Union Delegation. 

 

Governance of the project

Stakeholder Committee

The Committee will be composed of the Albanian Authorities, the EU Member State Beneficiary of the grant, and the EU Delegation to Albania.
The Stakeholder Committee meets at the end of the inception phase (3 months after the award of thecontract) and then every six- months in order to verify the achievement of the outputs and

mandatory results and discuss actions to be undertaken in the following six month.
The Committee will be responsible for:
-Reviewing and approving the Inception Report and the Action Plans submitted to it beforehand (at least 10 working days before, so that the stakeholders can present all their comments during the Stakeholder Committee Meeting (SCM);
-Recommending modifications to the progress of the project and the Action Plan;
-Adopting modifications to the Action Plan in a written procedure on a no- objection basis;
(Revised action plan and minutes of the SCM shall be provided at the latest 10 working days week
after the stakeholder committee meeting).
-Receiving information, taking notes, making comments on Progress Reports and highlights implementation problems.

Meetings

The EU Delegation, the EU Member State beneficiary of the Grant and the Albanian project facilitators meet monthly to review any issues that might arise in the course of project implementation. These meetings may be attended by other stakeholders as and when appropriate.

Weekly meeting with EU Deleagtion could also be requested.

Reports

The inception report and work plans are submitted for information, comment and approval to the Stakeholder Committee. Semi-Annual Progress reports and the final report are submitted for information, comment and approval to the Stakeholder Committee. Monthly Progress reports are submitted for information and follow-up to the European Union Delegation and to the Albanian project facilitator. Ad- hoc reports are submitted for information to the European Union Delegation and the Albanian project facilitator. All recommendations and project findings should be shared with the European Union Delegation and the Albanian Project facilitator. 

2.1.5 Eligibility of costs: costs that can be included

Only ‘eligible costs’ can be covered by a grant. The categories of costs that are eligible and non-eligible are indicated below. The budget is both a cost estimate and an overall ceiling for ‘eligible costs’.

The reimbursement of eligible costs may be based on any or a combination of the following forms:

  • −  actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies)

  • −  one or more simplified cost options.

Simplified cost options may take the form of:

  • −  unit costs: covering all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by reference to an amount per unit.

  • −  lump sums: covering in global terms all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance.

  • −  flat-rate financing: covering specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by applying a percentage fixed ex ante.

The amounts or rates have to be based on estimates using objective data such as statistical data or any other objective means or with reference to certified or auditable historical data of the applicants or the affiliated entity(ies). The methods used to determine the amounts or rates of unit costs, lump sums or flat- rates must comply with the criteria established in Annex K, and especially ensure that the costs correspond fairly to the actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies), are in line with their accounting practices, no profit is made and the costs are not already covered by other sources of funding (no double funding). Refer to Annex K for directions and a checklist of controls to assess the minimum necessary conditions that provide reasonable assurance for the acceptance of the proposed amounts.

Applicants proposing this form of reimbursement, must clearly indicate in worksheet no.1 of Annex B, each heading/item of eligible costs concerned by this type of financing, i.e. add the reference in capital letters to "UNIT COST" (per month/flight etc), "LUMPSUM" or "FLAT RATE" in the Unit column. (see example in Annex K)

Additionally in Annex B, in the second column of worksheet no.2, "Justification of the estimated costs" per each of the corresponding budget item or heading applicants must:

  • −  describe the information and methods used to establish the amounts of unit costs, lump sums and/or flat-rates, to which costs they refer, etc.

  • −  clearly explain the formulas for calculation of the final eligible amount7

  • −  identify the beneficiary who will use the simplified cost option (in case of affiliated entity, specify first the beneficiary), in order to verify the maximum amount per each beneficiary (which includes if applicable simplified cost options of its affiliated entity(ies))

At contracting phase, the Contracting Authority decides whether to accept the proposed amounts or rates on the basis of the provisional budget submitted by the applicants, by analysing factual data of grants carried out by the applicants or of similar actions and by performing checks established by Annex K.

The total amount of financing on the basis of simplified cost options that can be authorised by the Contracting Authority for any of the applicants individually (including simplified cost options proposed by their own affiliated entities) cannot exceed EUR 60 000 (the indirect costs are not taken into account). 

Recommendations to award a grant are always subject to the condition that the checks preceding the signing of the grant contract do not reveal problems requiring changes to the budget (such as arithmetical errors, inaccuracies, unrealistic costs and ineligible costs). The checks may give rise to requests for clarification and may lead the Contracting Authority to impose modifications or reductions to address such mistakes or inaccuracies. It is not possible to increase the grant or the percentage of EU co-financing as a result of these corrections.

It is therefore in the applicants' interest to provide a realistic and cost-effective budget.

The simplified cost option may also take the form of an apportionment of Field Office's costs.

Field Office means a local infrastructure set up in one of the countries where the action is implemented or a nearby country. (Where the action is implemented in several third countries there can be more than one Field Office). That may consist of costs for local office as well as human resources.

A Field Office may be exclusively dedicated to the action financed (or co-financed) by the EU or may be used for other projects implemented in the partner country. When the Field Office is used for other projects, only the portion of capitalised and operating costs which corresponds to the duration of the action and the rate of actual use of the field office for the purpose of the action may be declared as eligible direct costs.

The portion of costs attributable to the action can be declared as actual costs or determined by the beneficiary(ies) on the basis of a simplified allocation method (apportionment).

The method of allocation has to be:

1. Compliant with the beneficiary's usual accounting and management practices and applied in a consistent manner regardless of the source of funding and

2. Based on an objective, fair and reliable allocation keys. (Please refer to Annex K to have examples of acceptable allocation keys).

A description prepared by the entity of the allocation method used to determine Field Office's costs in accordance with the entity's usual cost accounting and management practices and explaining how the method satisfy condition 1 and 2 indicated above, has to be presented in a separate sheet and annexed to the Budget.

The method will be assessed and accepted by the evaluation committee and the Contracting Authority at contracting phase. The applicant is invited to submit (where relevant) the list of contracts to which the methodology proposed had been already applied and for which proper application was confirmed by an expenditure verification.

At the time of carrying out the expenditure verifications, the auditors will check if the costs reported are compliant with the method described by the beneficiary(ies) and accepted by the Contracting Authority.

Adequate record and documentation must be kept by the beneficiary(ies) to prove the compliance of the simplified allocation method used with the conditions set out above. Upon request of the beneficiary(ies), this compliance can be assessed and approved ex-ante by an independent external auditor. In such a case, the simplified allocation method will be automatically accepted by the evaluation committee and it will not be challenged ex post.

When costs are declared on the basis of such allocation method the amount charged to the action is to be indicated in the column "TOTAL COSTS" and the mention "APPORTIONMENT" is to be indicated in the column "units" (under budget heading 1 (Human resources) and 4 (Local Office) of the Budget).

Eligible direct costs 

To be eligible under this call for proposals, costs must comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the General Conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines).

The applicants (and where applicable their affiliated entities) agree that the expenditure verification(s) referred to in Article 15.7 of the General Conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines) will be carried out by the Contracting Authority or any external body authorised by the Contracting Authority.

Salary costs of the personnel of national administrations may be eligible to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority would not carry out if the action were not undertaken.

Contingency reserve
The budget may include a contingency reserve not exceeding 5% of the estimated direct eligible costs. It

can only be used with the prior written authorisation of the Contracting Authority.

Eligible indirect costs

The indirect costs incurred in carrying out the action may be eligible for flat-rate funding, but the total must not exceed 7% of the estimated total eligible direct costs. Indirect costs are eligible provided that they do not include costs assigned to another budget heading in the standard grant contract. The lead applicant may be asked to justify the percentage requested before the grant contract is signed. However, once the flat rate has been fixed in the Special Conditions of the grant contract, no supporting documents need to be provided.

If any of the applicants or affiliated entity(ies) is in receipt of an operating grant financed by the EU, it may not claim indirect costs on its incurred costs within the proposed budget for the action.

Contributions in kind

Contributions in kind mean the provision of goods or services to a beneficiaries or affiliated entities free of charge by a third party. As contributions in kind do not involve any expenditure for beneficiaries or affiliated entities, they are not eligible costs.

Contributions in kind may not be treated as co-financing

However, if the description of the action as proposed includes contributions in kind, the contributions have to be made.

Ineligible costs
The following costs are not eligible:

  • −  debts and debt service charges (interest);

  • −  provisions for losses or potential future liabilities;

  • −  costs declared by the beneficiary(ies) and financed by another action or work programme receiving a European Union (including through EDF) grant;

  • −  purchases of land or buildings, except where necessary for the direct implementation of the action, in which case ownership must be transferred, in accordance with Article 7.5 of the General Conditions of the standard grant contract, at the latest at the end of the action;

  • −  currency exchange losses;

  • −  credit to third parties.

  • −  salary costs of the personnel of national administrations.

  • −  taxes, including V A T . Nevertheless, V A T may be considered as part of the estimated total accepted costs of the action for the purpose of co-financing where the Beneficiary (or the Beneficiary's partners) can prove it cannot reclaim them. In such cases, the cost should be included in the Budget under the heading "taxes". Please note however that for the purpose of cofinancing, taxes are the only ineligible costs that will be considered within the total accepted costs of the action. Information on taxes can be found in Annex J to these Guidelines. 

 

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