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Data-driven news production on EU affairs
Deadline: 25 Sep 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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 Digital Culture
 New Media
 European Politics
 Financial analysis
 Business Writing
 Financial Writing
 Article Writing
 Digital Society
 Web
 Journalism

1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND

The Political Guidelines for the Commission "A New Start for Europe: Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change” presented by President Jean-Claude Juncker on 15 July 2014 to the European Parliament describe various ways of “bringing the European Union closer to citizens”.

In this context, DG Connect has been entrusted the management of support for Multimedia Actions that aim at engaging citizens in the EU policy-making process by providing them with information about European issues from pan-European points of view i.e. showing more than only a national perspective. Support is given for the production and dissemination of information and content, while respecting complete editorial independence.

Recent events across Europe show that there is room for new ways of reporting. The production of news and current affairs content is changing rapidly, and newsrooms are adapting to new consumption habits and increased competition. Data-driven techniques can be useful in journalistic research, production, visualisation or distribution, yet it takes time and money to experiment with new models.

As the speed and amount of information is increasing, it is essential to create innovative formats that are produced with high journalistic standards.

A recent EC Communication on Online Disinformation1 addresses some of the overall challenges for journalism in the online environment.

The current Call addresses part of these challenges, by supporting the production and dissemination of independent quality news around European topics (topics addressed by EU institutions) using data-driven techniques.

In 2016 the Commission launched a first Call for Proposals on data-driven news production2. The current Call builds on this experience, in line with Financing Decision C(2018)708.

 

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

Objectives

This Call aims to increase reporting on European issues, from pan-European viewpoints and/or by comparing different viewpoints from within Europe. To do so, it stimulates the production of innovative content through data-driven research and visualisations and the distribution of such content to as many EU citizens as possible.

In line with this objective, applicants should describe their approach to content production (increased coverage) and to content distribution (increased reach).

 

Objective 1 - Content production

Today, EU affairs are arguably under-represented in printed and digital media, in spite of their actual relevance to people's daily life. Reporting on EU affairs often lacks a broader multi-national perspective, and there is scope to increase opportunities for citizens to find and share qualitative media reports on EU affairs.

To engage citizens in the EU policy-making process, it is essential to provide information on EU affairs that is characterised by independent, professional and high-quality reporting. This Call aims to increase the production of content that adheres to these principles and that uses new technologies to maximise audiences. Content can for instance make use of data research, visualise data to compare viewpoints across Europe, help audiences understand complex topics through clear and factual reporting, contextualise story timelines and/or encourage interaction with the audience.

Expected results include increased coverage of EU affairs in terms of volume and quality. The content of such "increased coverage" will depend on the editorial choice of the applicants. Proposals are free to indicate whether the focus will be on breaking news and/or on more in-depth background reporting on current affairs.

The editorial independence will be guaranteed by a charter of independence that will be part of the agreement between the European Commission and the awarded applicants.

 

Objective 2 – Content distribution.

To reach a maximum number of audiences, this Call aims for maximum republication of content in media outlets and social media across the EU. To do so, proposals need to contain a clear outreach plan and the content production process will need to take into account the needs of partners and potential partners from the outset.

As competition is increasing, many media outlets are looking for ways to work together with colleagues (often outside of their national markets) to bundle their research capacity and produce innovative content against minimum costs.

This Call aims to stimulate such collaboration on European topics. It aims to support proposals of media companies/journalists that produce and distribute content involving as many media/journalists and end-users across the EU as possible. It aims to support proposals that identify the needs of partners as well as potential partners across the EU and design a production process that can contribute to those needs, so as to produce attractive formats, incentivise republication and maximise reach.

Expected results include increased reporting on EU affairs by national and regional media across the EU, from pan-European viewpoints and/or by comparing different viewpoints from within Europe.

 

Priorities

Priorities per activity include the following: 1. Content production

Applicants should focus on production of innovative news content around EU affairs and topics affecting citizens in multiple Member States. The editorial priorities should be established independently by a professional editorial team, with members from at least four EU Member States.

Applicants must indicate in the proposal how they intend to generate European perspectives i.e. add value to existing reporting on EU affairs by newswires and national/regional media, regardless of the topics they choose. Proposals are free to indicate whether the focus will be on breaking news and/or on more in-depth background reporting on current affairs.

Proposals should clearly describe workflows, including editorial workflows for journalists to produce content on a regular basis, using sources from multiple countries. The editorial workflow should explain the applicants' approach to gathering different sources/viewpoints, and provide examples of how their content will address multiple viewpoints and allow the reader to form their own opinion.

Proposals should outline which formats will be used, such as for instance thematic and multimedia files, videos, audio, photos, illustrations, graphics, maps, data journalism perspectives, interactive contents and/or user-generated content. The choice of formats should be cost-effective and in line with the news consumption habits across Europe.

Proposals may include visualisation of data to compare viewpoints across Europe, navigate story timelines, illustrate policy implications of pan-European and EU topics and/or encourage interaction with the audience. Mock-ups of such visualisations may be included in the offer.

To increase the potential dissemination by other media, proposals must indicate how EU topics will be categorised and how content will be prepared to fit into "regular" non-EU reporting. Applicants are encouraged to explore a "topical approach" that can be of interest to more people than only those interested in politics.

Content should be made available on a dedicated platform that is clearly open to other media and end-users. It can for instance provide guidelines for producing/distributing content, explain the modalities of collaboration, provide raw data sets and/or provide links to multiple data streams3. It may also gather useful tools to navigate open data, to analyse news events across Europe, to analyse public opinion across Europe and/or to do sentiment analysis. Tools to monitor social media and user-generated content may be considered if relevant for the content being produced.

Proposals should describe how a taxonomy/categorisation of topics will be established, preferably combining the user's terminology with EU terminology. The platform should include search functionalities that can combine such categorisation with the metatags of different sources. It should be suitable for covering a multitude of topics in the long run, yet it is possible to start with focal topics. Apart from text search, proposals may also consider ways to search audio and video content.

Proposals should provide a mock-up to illustrate how the platform may look. 2. Content distribution

3 Applicants are free to choose relevant data streams. Public data, EU news, EURlex, openlaws.eu, publicdata.eu, www.europeandataportal.eu and many others can be used if deemed relevant.

Projects should aim for maximum distribution and redistribution of their content by media across Europe, taking multilingualism into account.

Applicants are encouraged to work together with existing media companies. Applicants can aim to provide visuals and data-driven news illustrating European issues to established media companies, helping them compare viewpoints across Europe and increase critical thinking among their audience.

Applicants should therefore indicate to what extent the project can be relevant for other media outlets in Europe, which activities will be undertaken to promote the project to them, and how they will phrase the project's main business benefit to these outlets.

Proposals should contain an outreach plan, indicating how national/regional media editors will be addressed and encouraged to use the proposed materials. The outreach plan should privilege digital means such as mailings, virtual meetings, webinars or other cost-effective ways to exchange best practices. The plan should also consider other multipliers and social media to boost dissemination, and explain how the content aims to engage the target audience. The plan should include clear objectives for each of the target audiences and include mid-term and final targets.

To maximise republication of content across the EU, applicants will need to identify the needs of partners and potential partners, and take those needs into account from the outset when designing the production process. The proposal should clearly explain the workflows and the conditions for involving others. It should provide quantifiable but realistic ambitions in this regard, providing proof and/or indicators of interest from content producers as well as distributors to publish on media outlets and social media.

 

Objectively verifiable indicators

Proposals should include concrete deliverables and set clear, objectively verifiable and quantifiable performance indicators where possible, both for content production and content distribution activities.

 

Sustainability

Proposals should address sustainability and indicate whether the project can be continued independently after the requested period of EU support.

An organisational structure that allows continuation of the project will be perceived favourably. Subcontractors are allowed, but maximum 30% of costs can be subcontracted.

 

 

3. TIMETABLE

a) Publication of the call
26/06/2018

b) Deadline for sending applications
25/09/2018

c) Evaluation period
October 2018

d) Information to applicants (indicative)
November 2018

e) Signature of grant agreement or notification of grant decision (indicative)
December 2018

f) Starting date of the grant agreement
Between 1 January 2019 and 1 April 2019

 

4. BUDGET AVAILABLE

The total budget earmarked for the co-financing is estimated at EUR 1.9 million.

The maximum rate of co-financing is 80% of eligible costs. Applicants may propose a lower co-funding rate.

The maximum grant will be 700.000 € per project.
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

 

5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3.

Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application form available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/newsroom/call- proposals/all

Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages and in English.

Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.

 

6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
6.1. Eligible applicants
Only applications from legal entities established in the EU Member States are eligible.

The European Commission expects applicants to gather news media organisations from at least four EU Member States, as well as a professional editorial team with members from at least four EU Member States.4

For British applicants: the 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.17.3 of the grant agreement.

Applicants who already receive EU financing should keep in mind that, under no circumstances, costs can be financed twice by the Union budget (see section 11.7).

Applicants may be part of multiple applying consortia.

Applications may be submitted by one applicant, whether established specifically or not for the action, provided that:

- it is formed of several legal entities complying with the eligibility, non-exclusion and selection criteria set out in this call for proposals, and implementing together the proposed action;

- the application identifies the said entities.

For the purpose of declaring eligible costs as specified under section 11.2, the entities composing the applicant shall then be treated as affiliated entities.5

In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:

  • -  private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract

    of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);

  • -  public entity: copy of the resolution, decision or other official document establishing the public-law entity;

  • -  consortium: in addition to the supporting documents referring to their legal status, consortium members will submit letters confirming their participation to the project;

  • -  natural persons: photocopy of identity card and/or passport; certificate of liability to VAT, if applicable (e.g. some self-employed persons);

  • -  entities without legal personality: documents providing evidence that their representative(s) have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf.

Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 11.2.

For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

6.2. Eligible activities

Types of activities eligible under this call for proposals: - journalistic research activities, such as data gathering - data filtering and categorisation
- organisation of collaborative digital workspaces

- content production (may include articles, visuals, video and audio content) - editorial supervision
- content adaptation
- building/maintaining a suitable technical web-platform for publication

- webinars and virtual meetings

- activities to enlarge uptake by other media and exchange good practices

- promotion and dissemination of results to media and/or end-users

Implementation period

Projects should start at the earliest on 1 January 2019 and no later than 1 April 2019, with a minimum duration of 20 months and a maximum duration of 26 months.

 

7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA

7.1. Exclusion from participation

The Commission shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

(a) the applicant 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 applicant 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 judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant 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, a grant agreement or a grant decision;

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

  3. (iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

  4. (iv)  attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;

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

(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant 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;

  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, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant 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. (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, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

  6. (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;

(e) the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with 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 the applicant 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, the applicant is subject to:

  1. (i)  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;

  2. (ii)  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;

  3. (iii)  decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations;

  4. (iv)  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.

  5. (v)  decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

 

7.2. Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.4), it should indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.

7.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

The Commission shall not award a grant to an applicant who:

  1. is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1;

  2. has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information;

  3. was previously involved in the preparation of calls for proposal 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, who are guilty of misrepresentation.

7.4. Supporting documents

Applicants and affiliated entities, if any must provide a declaration on their honour, available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/newsroom/call-proposals/all

Each applicant in the consortium and the affiliated entities sign each a separate declaration in their own name.

 

8. SELECTION CRITERIA

8.1. Financial capacity

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

a) Low value grants (≤ EUR 60 000):
 a declaration on their honour.

b) Grants ≥ EUR 60 000:
 a declaration on their honour

AND

 the profit and loss account as well as the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the accounts were closed, OR, for newly created entities: the business plan might replace the above documents

AND

 the financial capacity table provided for in annex to the application form, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures.

 

In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above thresholds apply to each applicant.

In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (the "sole applicant"), as specified in section 6.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.

On the basis of the documents submitted, if the Commission considers that financial capacity is weak, the Commission may:

  • request further information;
  • decide not to give pre-financing;
  • decide to give pre-financing paid in instalments;
  • decide to give pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 11.4 below);
  • where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries;
  • reject the application.

8.2 Operational capacity

Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate 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 operation (accompanied where appropriate, by a list of relevant publications);

  •   the organisation's activity reports;

  •   an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed and connected to

    the policy field of a given call or to the actions to be carried out;

  •   a description of the technical equipment, tools or facilities and patents at the disposal of the applicant, if relevant for the execution of the proposed project;

  •   an inventory of natural or economic resources involved in the project.

    In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (the "sole" applicant), as specified in section 6.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.

11

9. AWARD CRITERIA

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

The relevance of the project and its expected results to the objectives of the Call, concerning:

• Relevance and European added value (this criterion evaluates the relevance of the proposed activities to the objectives of this Call, including the topics covered, the innovative use of EU open data, the added value to existing and emerging initiatives across Europe, and number of countries/languages covered)

• Quality of the proposed methodologies (this criterion evaluates the effectiveness of the proposed methodologies to reach the objectives of this Call, including methods for content production, mechanisms to ensure editorial independence and methods to build innovative technical solutions)

• Organisation of the project team (this criterion evaluates the efficiency of the team composition to reach the objectives of this Call, as well as the quality of the proposed coordination mechanisms, quality control systems and arrangements to manage risks)

• Quality or the outreach plan (this criterion evaluates the quality of the outreach plan to maximise reach at local, regional, national and European levels, beyond those directly involved in the project. Particular attention will be paid to the identification of needs among other media, the guaranteed and the expected reach per target audience across the EU and the proposed measures to monitor progress)

• Efficient use of financial resources (this criterion evaluates cost-effectiveness, taking into account costs as well as expected results)

• The potential sustainability of the proposed model (this criterion evaluates the feasibility of continuing the project beyond the requested period of EU support).

a) Relevance and added value of activities: maximum score 20, minimum threshold 10 b) Quality of the proposed methodologies: maximum score 16, minimum threshold 8 c) Organisation of the project team: maximum score 16, minimum threshold 8
d) Outreach plan and expected reach: maximum score 16, minimum threshold 8

e) Cost-effectiveness: maximum score 16, minimum threshold 8 f) Sustainability: maximum score 16, minimum threshold 8

10. LEGAL COMMITMENTS

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

The 2 copies of the original agreement must be signed first by the beneficiary on behalf of the consortium and returned to the Commission immediately. The Commission will sign it last.

 

 

11. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

11.1. Eligible costs

Eligible costs shall meet all the following criteria:

  •   they are incurred by the beneficiary.

  •   they are incurred during the duration of the action or of the work programme, with the exception of costs relating to final reports and audit certificates;

    • o The period of eligibility of costs will start as specified in the grant agreement.

    • o If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, the costs eligibility period may start before that signature. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application.

  •   they are indicated in the estimated budget;

  •   they are necessary for the implementation of the action which is the subject of the grant;

  •   they are identifiable and verifiable, in particular being recorded in the accounting records of the beneficiary and determined according to the applicable accounting standards of the country where the beneficiary is established and according to the usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary;

  •   they comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation;

  •   they are reasonable, justified, and comply with the requirements of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency.

The beneficiary's internal accounting and auditing procedures must permit direct reconciliation of the costs and revenue declared in respect of the action/project with the corresponding accounting statements and supporting documents.

The same criteria apply to costs incurred by the affiliated entities. Eligible costs may be direct or indirect.

11.1.1. Eligible direct costs

The eligible direct costs for the action are those costs which, with due regard for the conditions of eligibility set out above, are identifiable as specific costs directly linked to the performance of the action and which can therefore be booked to it directly, such as :

(a) the costs of personnel working under an employment contract with the beneficiary or an equivalent appointing act and assigned to the action, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary’s usual policy on remuneration.

Those costs include actual salaries plus social security contributions and other statutory costs included in the remuneration. They may also comprise additional remunerations, including payments on the basis of supplementary contracts regardless of the nature of those contracts, provided that they are paid in a consistent manner whenever the same kind of work or expertise is required, independently from the source of funding used;

The costs of natural persons working under a contract with the beneficiary other than an employment contract or who are seconded to the beneficiary by a third party against payment may also be included under such personnel costs, provided that the following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. (i)  the person works under conditions similar to those of an employee (in particular regarding the way the work is organised, the tasks that are performed and the premises where they are performed);

  2. (ii)  the result of the work belongs to the beneficiary (unless exceptionally agreed otherwise); and

  3. (iii)  the costs are not significantly different from the costs of staff performing similar tasks under an employment contract with the beneficiary;

The recommended methods for calculation of direct personnel costs are provided in Appendix.

(b)  costs of travel and related subsistence allowances, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary’s usual practices on travel;

(c)  the depreciation costs of equipment or other assets (new or second-hand) as recorded in the beneficiary’s accounting statements, provided that the asset:

  1. (i) is written off in accordance with the international accounting standards and the beneficiary’s usual accounting practices; and

  2. (ii) has been purchased in accordance with the rules on implementation contracts laid down in the grant agreement, if the purchase occurred within the implementation period;

The costs of renting or leasing equipment or other assets are also eligible, provided that these costs do not exceed the depreciation costs of similar equipment or assets and are exclusive of any finance fee;

Only the portion of the equipment’s depreciation, rental or lease costs corresponding to the implementation period and the rate of actual use for the purposes of the action may be taken into account when determining the eligible costs. By way of exception, the full cost of purchase of equipment may be eligible under the Special Conditions, if this is justified by the nature of the action and the context of the use of the equipment or assets;

(d)  costs of consumables and supplies, provided that they:

  • (i) are purchased in accordance with the rules on implementation contracts laid down in the grant agreement; and
  • (ii) are directly assigned to the action;

(e)  costs arising directly from requirements imposed by the Agreement (dissemination of information, specific evaluation of the action, audits, translations, reproduction), including the costs of requested financial guarantees, provided that the corresponding services are purchased in accordance with the rules on implementation contracts laid down in the grant agreement;

(f)  costs entailed by subcontracts, provided that specific conditions on subcontracting as laid down in the grant agreement are met;

(g)  costs of financial support to third parties, provided that the conditions laid down in the grant agreement are met;

(h)  duties, taxes and charges paid by the beneficiary, such as non-deductible value added tax (VAT).

 

11.1.2. Eligible indirect costs (overheads)

Indirect costs are costs that are not directly linked to the action implementation and therefore cannot be attributed directly to it.

A flat-rate amount of maximum 7% of the total eligible direct costs of the action, is eligible as indirect costs, representing the beneficiary's general administrative costs which can be regarded as chargeable to the action/project.

Indirect costs may not include costs entered under another budget heading. Overhead costs must cover, among others, the following categories:

  • Premises and related expenses (e.g. rent, insurance, administration and indirect management costs...)
  • Office expenses and consumables (e.g. telephone, postal services, photocopies, goods or equipment)

11.2. Ineligible costs

  • return on capital and dividends paid by a beneficiary; debt and debt service charges;
  • provisions for losses or debts;
  • interest owed;
  • doubtful debts;
  • exchange losses;
  • costs of transfers from the Commission charged by the bank of a beneficiary;

costs declared by the beneficiary under another action receiving a grant financed from the Union budget. Such grants include grants awarded by a Member State and financed from the Union budget and grants awarded by bodies other than the Commission for the purpose of implementing the Union budget. In particular, beneficiaries receiving an operating grant financed by the EU or Euratom budget cannot declare indirect costs for the period(s) covered by the operating grant, unless they can demonstrate that the operating grant does not cover any costs of the action.

  • contributions in kind from third parties;
  • excessive or reckless expenditure;
  • deductible VAT.

 

11.3. Form of the grant

- Reimbursement of cost actually incurred: The grant will be defined by applying a maximum co-financing rate of 80% to the eligible costs actually incurred and declared by the beneficiary and its affiliated entities.

- Reimbursement of flat-rate costs: a flat-rate of maximum 7% of the total direct eligible costs for the following category: indirect costs. The flat rate will be paid following acceptance of the costs or contributions on the basis of which it is calculated.

11.4. Balanced budget

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

The budget must be drawn up in euros.

Applicants for whom costs will not be incurred in euros should use the exchange rate published on the Infor-euro website available at: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm

The applicant must ensure that the resources which are necessary to carry out the action are not entirely provided by the EU grant.

Co-financing of the action may take the form of:

  •   the beneficiary's own resources,

  •   income generated by the action or work programme,

  •   financial contributions from third parties.

Overall co-financing may also include in-kind contributions from third parties, i.e. non- financial resources made available free of charge by third parties to the beneficiary or to the consortium. The corresponding costs of third parties are not eligible under the grant, e.g. volunteer work, providing a meeting room for free, etc.

The value of the contribution in kind must not exceed:

  •   either the costs actually borne and duly supported by accounting documents;

  •   or, in the absence of such documents, the costs generally accepted on the market in question.

In-kind contributions shall be presented separately in the estimated budget to reflect the total resources allocated to the action. Their unit value is evaluated in the provisional budget and shall not be subject to subsequent changes.

In-kind contributions shall comply with national tax and social security rules.

11.5. Calculation of the final grant amount

The final amount of the grant is calculated by the Commission at the time of the payment of the balance. The calculation involves the following steps:

Step 1 — Application of the reimbursement rate to the eligible costs

The amount under step 1 is obtained by application of the reimbursement rate specified in section 11.3.1 to the eligible costs accepted by the Commission.

Step 2 — Limit to the maximum amount of the grant

The total amount paid to the beneficiaries by the Commission may in no circumstances exceed the maximum amount of the grant as indicated in the grant agreement. If the amount obtained following Step 1 is higher than this maximum amount, the final amount of the grant is limited to the latter.

Step 3 — Reduction due to improper implementation or breach of other obligations.

The Commission may reduce the maximum amount of the grant if the action has not been implemented properly (i.e. if it has not been implemented or has been implemented poorly, partially or late), or if another obligation under the Agreement has been breached.

The amount of the reduction will be proportionate to the degree to which the action has been implemented improperly or to the seriousness of the breach.

11.6. Reporting and payment arrangements 11.6.1 Payment requests

The beneficiary may request the following payments provided that the conditions of the grant agreement are fulfilled (e.g. payment deadlines, ceilings, etc.). The payment requests shall be accompanied by the documents provided below and detailed in the grant agreement:

 

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