Relations between the EU and the 16 Neighbourhood countries4 are defined by the European Neighbourhood Policy, originally launched in 2004 and reviewed in 20155. Stabilisation and building partners’ resilience are
overarching objectives. The EU seeks to adopt a differentiated approach with each Neighbourhood country, tailored to its particular needs, expectations and mutual interests with the EU. The EU’s engagement with Neighbourhood countries focuses on economic development, security and migration. The EU seeks to actively promote good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights as cross-cutting priorities and to deepen its dialogue with and support to civil society.
More recent EU policy developments concern the areas of security, migration, and economic development, notably the Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy6, the European Agenda on Security7, the European Agenda on Migration8 and the “Africa-EU Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs”9, where the Commission committed to work on an improved partnership with Africa and a more strategic promotion of African continental integration. The promotion of sustainable investments and jobs in third countries is something that the EU is aiming at doing also in the framework of the External Investment Plan, which was launched in 2017.
The EU is committed to fostering regional integration and cooperation in the Southern Neighbourhood, also in the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean. Where relevant, this regional approach can go beyond the European Neighbourhood, also addressing the “neighbours of the neighbours”.
In this context, the EU has been supporting policy dialogues, economic research and studies in the Southern Neighbourhood region. The rationale is that sound policymaking needs to build on evidence-based and objective research and analytical work. Therefore, it is expected that the knowledge generated by this programme will help policy makers in the EU and in the Southern Neighbourhood, and beyond, to devise more robust and relevant policies. It is also expected that the programme will allow researchers, particularly from Southern Neighbourhood countries, to explore new subjects, gain recognition for their work and develop their skills and competences through peer-to-peer learning.
This programme will build on the achievements and lessons learnt from its predecessor: "Support to dialogues, political and economic research and studies of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership", which seeks to reinforce research in priority themes of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and to ensure the dissemination of studies and research to civil society and decision-makers that are responsible for political and economic policies.
In 2018, a mid-term evaluation of the programme confirmed the relevance and usefulness of the action in enhancing a culture of cooperation as well as research capacity in analysing trends and challenges in the region. At the same time, Commission services consider that research made should improve in terms of links with EU policy priorities and be more relevant and usable by policymakers.
Based on the positive evaluation results and the need to continue supporting policy dialogue in the Euro-Med region, continuing support to research networks in the region is deemed necessary. To this effect, in 2018, the European Commission adopted a EUR 5 million Financing Decision10 to pursue this effort, in light of the socio-economic and political changes and challenges in the Southern Neighbourhood region and the EU, as well as in neighbouring areas, including Sub-Saharan Africa. Given that political and economic aspects are very often intertwined, the present programme will support non-State actors to carry out research that combine the political and economic dimensions. The programme will focus, as thematic priorities, on those of the European Neighbourhood Policy, namely economic development, security and migration.
1.2. OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME AND PRIORITY ISSUES
The global objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to an increased awareness and evidence-based policy making of regional and national actors in relation to areas of relevance for the European Neighbourhood Policy in the Southern Mediterranean region.
The specific objectives of this call for proposals are:
- To foster evidence-based research policy dialogue and research in the priority areas of economic development, security and migration. Each action should have the necessary flexibility to adapt to emerging regional issues.
- Based on peer-to-peer work, to build the analytical and research skills and capacities in Southern Neighbourhood countries. Each action should seek to strengthen cooperation between research networks, think-tanks, universities, academia, policy makers, civil society, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.
- To have a strong outreach component and wide dissemination of research results to stimulate policy debate with national policy-makers, EU institutions, and other relevant stakeholders.
The priorities of this call for proposals are:
-Economic development: Trade and investments as factors of regional integration as well as their impact on employment; trends and policies aiming at an increased integration of North Africa in the African continent; private sector development and job creation, in particular for youth; the role of digital in the new economy; role of informal/parallel sectors in the local economies and policies to lead it to formalisation; perspectives and policies aiming at enhancing new economic models in the Southern Neighbourhood region, respectful of its social foundations and the environment, also looking at issues such as inclusive finance, circular and social economy.
-Security: Modernisation of the national security sectors (also called Security Sector Reform – SSR), terrorism and other forms of violent extremism (including prevention), trans-national organised crime, cybercrime, the full cycle of crisis and disaster management (prevention, preparedness and response).
-Migration: Regular economic migration and mobility; asylum and protection; irregular migration; migrant smuggling; border management; economic impact of migration in countries of origin, transit countries and countries of destination modalities to ensure a positive role of the diaspora in the socio-economic development
Each action should address at least two of the above priorities.
The core geographic focus of each piece of research work must be the Southern Neighbourhood, but can be extended, as appropriate, to neighbouring areas, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and other UfM countries.
1.3. FINANCIAL ALLOCATION PROVIDED BY THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY
The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 5,000,000. The contracting authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.
Size of grants
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum
percentages of total eligible costs of the action:
The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the action and the amount requested from the contracting authority) must be financed from sources other than the general budget of the Union or the European Development Fund11.
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 (available on the internet at this address http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en).12
2.1. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to: (1) the actors:
• its co-applicants (where it is not specified otherwise the lead applicant and its co-
applicants are hereinafter jointly referred as ‘applicant(s)’) (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).
2.1.1. Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicants)
(1) In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:
be a specific type of organisation such as: non-governmental organisation, public sector operator, local authority, international (inter-governmental) organisation as defined by Article 43 of the rules of application of the EU Financial Regulation13 and
be established in14 a Member State of the European Union or one of the following ENP South countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Lybia, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.15
For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. Unless sector-specific eligibility rules provide otherwise16, 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 will be required to leave the project on the basis of Article 12.2.e) of the General Conditions applicable to the grant contract.
This obligation does not apply to international organisations 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 22.214.171.124 of the practical guide;
Lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entities and, in case of legal entities, persons who have powers of representation, decision-making or control over the lead applicant, the co-applicants and the affiliated entities are informed that, should they be in one of the situations of early detection or exclusion according to Section 126.96.36.199 of the practical guide, personal details (name, given name if natural person, address, legal form and name and given name of the persons with powers of representation, decision-making or control, if legal person) may be registered in the early detection and exclusion system, and communicated to the persons and entities concerned in relation to the award or the execution of a grant contract.
In Part B Section 8 of the grant application form (‘declaration(s) by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicants 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 and coordinate the design and implementation of the action.
Each action must involve a partnership with at least four co-applicants (in addition to the lead applicant). The co-applicants should be established in at least three different ENP South countries and one EU Member State.
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 himself. Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Part B Section 4 of the grant application form.
an eligible local organisation, even if the statutes are registered locally or a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ has been concluded.
(3) Applicants included in the lists of EU restrictive measures (see Section 2.4. of the PRAG) at the moment of the award decision cannot be awarded the contract17.
If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicants will become beneficiaries in the action (together with the coordinator).
The lead applicant and its co-applicants may act with affiliated entity(ies).
Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co- applicants:
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:
(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 an applicant may hence be:
- Entities directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by the 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).
(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 the applicant,
- Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of understanding or share some assets,
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 Part B Section 5 of the grant application form.]
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’:
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 Part B Section 6 — ‘Associates participating in the action’ — of the grant application form.
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
An action is composed of a set of activities.
The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 36 month nor exceed 48 months. Sectors or themes
Economic development, security and migration (1.2).
Actions must take place in one or more of the following countries: Neighbourhood South countries (i.e. Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia) and/or the European Union Member States.
Types of action
cooperation between research networks, universities, academia, policy makers, civil society, non- governmental organisations and the private sector.
The following types of action are ineligible:
actions concerned only or mainly with individual sponsorships for participation in workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses;
Financial support to third parties18
Applicants may propose financial support to third parties in order to help achieving the objectives of the action.
The maximum amount of financial support per third party is EUR 60,000.
Under this call, financial support to third parties is not considered essential to achieve the objective of the action.
In compliance with the present guidelines and notably of any conditions or restrictions in this Section, the lead applicant should define mandatorily in Section 2.1.1 of the grant application form:
(i) the overall objectives, the specific objective(s) and the outputs19 (i.e. the results) to be achieved with the financial support
(ii) the different types of activities eligible for financial support, on the basis of a fixed list
(iii) the types of persons or categories of persons which may receive financial support
(iv) the criteria for selecting these entities and giving the financial support
(v) the criteria for determining the exact amount of financial support for each third entity, and (vi) the maximum amount which may be given.
In all events, the mandatory conditions set above for giving financial support (points (i) to (vi)) have to be strictly defined in the grant contract as to avoid any exercise of discretion.
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 http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/funding/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu- external-actions_en).
Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities
The lead applicant may not submit more than one application under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant may not be awarded more than one grant under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant may not be a co-applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may be the co-applicant or affiliated entity in more than one application under this call for proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may be awarded more than one grant under this call for proposals.
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: - actualcostsincurredbythebeneficiary(ies)andaffiliatedentity(ies);
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.
Simplified costs options (SCOs) are divided in two categories: