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European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Pilot Programme to Strengthen Political Parties - EuropeAid/153778/DH/ACT/Multi
Deadline: Jul 4, 2017  

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1 EIDHR PILOT programme to Strengthen Political Parties


1.1 Background

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which provides funding for this call for proposals, is a European Union instrument that aims specifically at promoting democracy and human rights worldwide. This instrument is designed to support civil society to become an effective force for political reform and defence of human rights. It offers great flexibility and capacity to respond to changing circumstances and to support innovation. The EIDHR Global Programme to Strengthen Political Parties falls under objective 3 of the EIDHR: Support to Democracy.

This programme which aims at strengthening political parties and party systems is anchored firmly in the EU's policy framework. The EU commitment to democracy is articulated in the Treaty on the European Union (Art. 21), and therefore is a key component of EU foreign policy. This commitment is also part of the efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16: 'promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.'

As stated in the Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy, democracy is one of the 'vital interests underpinning our external action'. The proposal for a new European Consensus on Development explicitly mentions that 'accountable, democratic institutions are preconditions for sustainable development and stability' and states that the EU will promote 'accountable and transparent institutions' and 'participatory decision-making'.

Furthermore, support to the capacity of political parties is mentioned in the Council Conclusions on Democracy Support of 2009 according to which 'EU democracy support should (…) aim at assisting efforts and strengthening the capacity of Governments, Parliaments and other state institutions, political actors, civil society organisations and other actors.' The annexed Agenda for Action states that 'EU democracy support should include a special focus on the role of elected representatives and political parties and institutions' and that the 'EU should continue its established practice of looking for innovative ways to involve civil society, political parties, the media and other nongovernmental political players in the dialogues.' The Joint Communication on the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) announces that the EU engagement with political parties and citizen movements will be increased 'with a view to strengthening their role in fostering democratic and accountable institutions and practices.' 


The Council Conclusions on Democracy Support also emphasise that 'the ability of men and women to participate on equal terms in political life and in decision-making is a prerequisite of genuine democracy.' As the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 points out, 'discriminatory laws, practices or norms often limit girls’ and women’s social, economic and political participation.' The Commission is supporting 'women's increased participation in policy, governance and electoral processes at all levels' through 'efforts to contribute in a measurable manner to increase girls' and women's agency, voice and participation in social, economic and political life.'


Overarching principles

The proposed actions must respect and reflect the EU policy framework, including the specific EU priorities as identified in relevant policy documents, notably in the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019 and in the specific human rights guidelines adopted by the EU. 

Equally, all proposals under this call for proposals must be designed according to the Rights-Based Approach. Following the adoption in 2014 of the Tool-box 'A Rights-Based Approach, encompassing all human rights, for EU development cooperation' and the subsequent adoption in 2014 of the related Council Conclusions, the European Commission committed to move towards a Rights-Based Approach for development cooperation.  The EIDHR Regulation stipulates that in its implementation, the EU shall apply a Rights-Based Approach (RBA) encompassing all human rights, whether civil, political, economic, social or cultural. The implementation of the five RBA principles: (i) legality, universality and indivisibility of human rights, (ii) participation, (iii) non-discrimination, (iv) accountability, (v) transparency must be applied in each step of the project cycle from identification, formulation, implementation, monitoring to evaluation. 

Furthermore, gender equality is an integral part of the RBA. Gender equality constitutes a fundamental human rights principle and a common value of the European Union (EU Treaties, EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020). Each selected project will therefore have to report against relevant SMART sex-disaggregated indicators as mentioned in the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020. 

Geographical balance among proposals will be taken into account by the European Commission when determining the relevance of the actions.



For the purpose of this call, a 'political party' is defined as an organisation of people with similar political views and aims whose purpose is to influence public policies, including by presenting candidates to be elected to representative bodies (national and local). While this call prioritises activities that involve political parties registered with their national party registries, activities involving non-registered political parties can be eligible when justified.

For the purpose of this call, 'party-system' is understood as the system of interactions resulting from inter-party competition, as well as the broader legal, policy and financial environment in which political parties operate in each beneficiary country.

For the purpose of this call, the 'multi-party, non-partisan approach' is defined as an approach engaging with the widest range and largest possible number of political parties within a given country, in a neutral manner, without favouring a certain political party family or pursuing a particular political ideology.

1.2 Objectives of the programme and priority issues 

The global objective of this call for proposals is to support representative democracy and political pluralism through the bolstering of political parties, in line with a multiparty, non-partisan approach.

This will be achieved by supporting adequate and active political participation of women - and especially young women - and by improving the legal and policy framework of the party-system in the beneficiary countries.

This call has two lots: 

Lot 1: Participation of women - and especially young women - in political parties

Lot 2: Party-systems 

Under both lots, actions shall mandatorily:

    1. a) Adopt a multi-party, non-partisan approach, demonstrate good understanding of the country-specific universe of political organisations, and present a detailed engagement methodology for working with them (including clear criteria for selection of parties with which they intend to engage). 
    2. b) While the principle guiding this call is to attempt to engage with a broad spectrum of political parties in a given country, operators of the multi-party approach will refrain from supporting political parties that do not fulfil certain criteria, including but not limited to non-violent behaviour or respect for democratic principles. The proposed actions need to clearly outline all exclusion criteria upon which they would propose not to engage with a specific political party.

In countries where it is not feasible to provide full support to the entire political party universe, the operators may propose a 'multi-tiered' approach, whereby parties are grouped into distinct tiers for the purposes of the action. In this case, clear criteria must be established for the demarcation of these tiers by the applicant, and all parties within a given tier must be treated equally. Suggested criteria for demarcation of the tiers may be for example the size of membership, level of representativeness, level of capacity, etc.  

    1. c) Demonstrate coherence with other ongoing policy and cooperation initiatives in the area of democracy support undertaken in a given country by the EU (both the EU Delegations and EU Member States), with a view of maximising the impact of EU support. In this respect, the applicant must foresee a strong coordination with the concerned EU Delegations during the implementation of their projects, including – but not limited to - establishing a final list of political parties included in the activities and to update this list at the end of every reporting period.


    1. d) Have a strong sustainability vision, specifically: 
    • • operations should be circumscribed and with objectives that are specific, narrow and clear;
    • • they should aim to strengthen the democratic nature of the party system in the long-run (beyond the duration of the action), with specific deliverables constituting one part of a wider strategy for change towards greater effectiveness, inclusiveness and representativeness of parties.


    1. e) Demonstrate strong result orientation, including targets and indicators.


Lot 1: Participation of women - and especially young women - in political parties 

Gender equality is enshrined within the EU's legal and political framework. The EU has made the protection, the fulfilment and the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls a central aspect of its external action, as set up in the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 and the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019.


Young women are in many countries subject to ‘double discrimination’ based on their age and gender and are underrepresented in political life. Girls and women's political exclusion then contributes to further gender-blind politics and decision-making processes. One of the most important avenues to increase the political participation of women, and especially young women, leads through political parties. However, many external (cultural and regulatory) and internal (internal democracy, gender stereotyping) obstacles exist to the active participation of women in political parties, including actual and implicit intimidation and violence.

For the purpose of this call, we consider 'young women' to be up to the age of approximately 35. 


Specific Objective: 

To empower young women to take an active role in the life of the parties (including in their policy-making and decision-making structures) and in political affairs in general, at both national and local levels, including increasing the percentage of young female members and female decision makers/leaders in political parties. 

Illustrative, non-exhaustive list of activities for Lot1: 

    • • Party programmes: 
    • o assistance with engendering programmes of parties, e.g. consultations, analytical work, programme preparation.


    • • Enlisting women in political parties: 
    • o development of enlisting strategies for female members (e.g. working with the parties on how to identify and attract female members)
    • o provision of leadership training, tutoring and mentoring
    • o specific work on how to use new technologies and social media to identify and enlist female activists 


    • • Empowering existing/enlisted female party members: 
    • o Mentoring programmes between successful/senior party representatives (both female and male) and potential young female  party representatives;  
    • o Tutoring/training by parties of their female/young members (and their staff) in crucial skills, such as public speaking, working with the media, response to violence against women etc. 
    • o Support for cross-party women networks on specific issues
    • o Training on use of new technologies to reach out to constituencies and to work with online media


    • • Addressing violence against female politicians:
    • o Revision of media and campaigning material to identify and correct violent and discriminatory language against women in politics;
    • o Activities (including advocacy but also work within the party) on violence against women candidates, looking both at domestic violence ('who's wearing the trousers in this family') and opponent and media violence (special focus on online media as violence against women online is growing). 


    • • Working with female party members in order to engender policy/legislation/budget:
    • o Capacity building on gender-sensitive policies and budget
    • o Networks of female party members on policy issues


    • • 'Engendering' parties (internal governance) and legislative/regulatory framework:
    • o Analyses of equality of treatment between men and women in the parties, e.g. how do parties select candidates, how are female/male candidates presented to public and media…
    • o Analyses and dialogue on legal, regulatory, supervisory and policy arrangements enabling women's representation in elected offices
    • o Mentoring/capacity building for political party members (including at local level) in gender-sensitivity 


    • • Advocacy and awareness actions promoting women participation in political life:
    • o Public campaigns on voting for women regardless of political party 
    • o promoting civic education for women and girls


    • • Data collection – to facilitate disaggregation of data by sex


Lot 2:  Party-systems

There are increasing concerns related to society’s lack of trust in political parties, leading to declining interest and membership, particularly from female and young citizens. This is a consequence of numerous factors, including the lack of political pluralism and real choice between different political parties and programmes; the inadequacy of party platforms and policies in certain policy areas; the role of vested interests and money in political parties; the lack of genuine competition between parties; and the lack of available information regarding parties' proposals and activities. These deficiencies often relate to the legal regulatory framework for parties (such as rules on parties registration, financing, membership, separation of State and parties structures), but also to intra-party governance and capacity (e.g. deficient rules on funding and transparency, weak capacities to communicate with the public etc.). Actions would be expected to prioritise positive impact on female and young citizens, as well as other under-represented groups.

Specific Objectives: 

    • To support inter-party dialogues on the legal, financial and/or policy framework affecting political parties and political party financing, and/or
    • To support political parties in improving their governance, transparency, accountability and outreach to citizens (particularly women and youth), both at national and local levels.

Illustrative, non-exhaustive list of type of activities for Lot 2: 

    • • Facilitation of dialogues - both at national and local levels - between political parties and between parties and related stakeholders (oversight agencies, civil society organisations, citizens' advocacy groups, media, etc.) on subjects such as the political party system and political party finance reform, participation of youth and women, positive action policies, creation and registration of political parties, separation of the State and political parties, prevention of electoral violence, accountability of representative institutions, etc. Particular emphasis to be placed on the facilitating dialogue with groups representing women, youth and/or their concerns. 
    • • Actions (including but not limited to capacity building of members) aiming at internal party structures in strengthening parties capacities to reach out to citizens and be more transparent and accountable, in particular to women, youth and other under-represented groups, by focusing on e.g.:
    • - procedures to define programmes and policy positions with focus on inclusive participation and consultation – in particular of youth and women;
    • - internal regulation and governance procedures (e.g. participation of youth, selection of candidates and leaders, promotion of women to electable and leadership positions, accepting and transparency of funding, drafting and implementing internal codes of conduct, etc.);
    • - follow-up and capacity of political parties to communicate with their supporters and broader public (e.g. communication about party's positions and proposals, responsible use of ICT and social media, public accountability, relations with members, dialogue platforms, transparency of funding, etc.)
    • - relationships between parties and other stakeholders such as civil society organisations (in particular representing women and youth), citizens' advocacy groups, media, youth organisations, entrepreneurs associations, etc.
    • • Innovative actions which make use of new media/technology in order to improve outreach, accountability and transparency of political parties.
    1. 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, or to increase this amount should additional funds be made available. 

Indicative allocation of funds by lot:

Lot 1: EUR 3,800,000 

Lot 2: EUR 1,200,000

If the allocation indicated for a specific lot cannot be used in part or in full, the Contracting Authority reserves the right to reallocate the remaining funds to the other lot.

Size of grants

Any grant requested under Lot 1 of this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:

    • • minimum amount: EUR  950,000 
    • • maximum amount: EUR 1,250,000 

Any grant requested under Lot 2 of this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:

    • • minimum amount: EUR  500,000
    • • maximum amount: EUR 600,000

Any grant requested under Lot 1 or 2 of this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum percentages of total eligible costs of the action:

    • • Minimum percentage: 60 % of the total eligible costs of the action.
    • • Maximum percentage: 80 % of the total eligible costs of the action (see also section 2.1.5). 

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 European Union Budget or the European Development Fund.


​​​​​​​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 at .

    1. 2.1 Eligibility criteria

There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:

    1. (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);
    1. (2) the actions:
    • • Actions for which a grant may be awarded (2.1.4);
    1. (3) the costs:
    • • types of cost that may be taken into account in setting the amount of the grant (2.1.5).
      1. 2.1.1 Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s))

Lead applicant

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

      • • be a legal person and 
      • • be non-profit-making and
      • • be a specific type of organisation such as: 
      1. a) civil society organisations, including non-governmental, non-profit organisations, associations and political foundations, community-based organisations and private-sector non-profit agencies and networks thereof at local, national, regional and international level;
      2. b) public sector operators, public sector institutions and organisations, local authorities, non-profit-making universities;
      3. c) international (inter-governmental) organisation as defined by Article 43 of the Rules of application of the EU Financial Regulation 
      • • 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 

No nationality restriction applies to lead applicants, co-applicants and affiliated entities.


(3) 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-applicant(s) 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.


For each lot, a minimum of one (1) co-applicant is required. Proposals without a co-applicant will be rejected. 

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

While not in itself sufficient to impact positively on the evaluation of a proposal, the participation of at least one local organisation, as lead applicant or co-applicant, is strongly encouraged. A "local organisation" must be understood as "established" in the country or one of the countries outside EU where the action is taking place. An organisation is considered "local" when its charter demonstrates that the organisation has been established by an instrument governed by the national law of the country concerned and that its head office is located in that country. 

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

Each member of a partnership must have a precise and clearly identified role in the implementation of the project. There is no upper limit on the number of members in a partnership. A partnership should be composed in such a way as to allow the achievement of the project objectives in the most effective and cost-efficient manner.

The role of each member of the partnership must be clearly explained in the proposal. It is strongly recommended that the applicant and its co-applicant(s) draw up an agreement defining their partnership as well as their respective technical and financial roles and obligations. A clear allocation of responsibilities and costs will contribute to the partnership’s success.



​​​​​​​2.1.2 Affiliated entities

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:

(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).

(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.

    1. 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


An action is composed of a set of activities.


The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 18 months nor exceed 36 months.

Sectors or themes

The specific sectors or themes to which the actions must relate are described for each lot under section 1.2.


Only the following countries (in which the EU Delegations were asked to implement the first and second generations of the pilot exercise of the EU Agenda for Action on Democracy Support) are eligible under this call for proposals: 

- Benin, Bolivia, Ghana, Lebanon, Maldives, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Solomon Islands (First Generation), and Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Paraguay, Myanmar/Burma, East Timor and Fiji (Second Generation).

 Actions must take place in at least one of the above mentioned countries.

Nevertheless, punctual activities (such as exchange visits, study trips) may, if duly justified in the description of the action, take place in EU countries or other countries when they are directly related to situations arising in countries targeted by the action. The reasons will be examined during the evaluation process.

Types of action and activity

The types of action and the indicative and non-exhaustive list of activities which may be financed under this call are described for each lot under section 1.2 above. In any case, the following types of action are not eligible:

      • • actions concerned with only one political party or parties from one single political family;
      • • 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;
      • • actions concerned only with one-off conferences; conferences can only be funded if they constitute a strategic part of a wider range of activities to be implemented during the project;
      • • action where financial support to third parties is the main purpose of the action;
      • • actions including advocacy or campaigning for a particular party platform or policy.

Financial support to third parties 

Applicants may not propose financial support to third parties. Political parties supported by the actions cannot receive direct financial or material (equipment) support from projects funded under this call.


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

Due to the delicate nature of this action, it is possible to undertake activities where EU support for the activity will not be visible. Nevertheless, any such lack of visibility needs to have the prior approval of the contracting authority before the implementation of the activity. 

Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities

Whatever its role in the proposal, i.e. lead applicant or co-applicant or affiliated entity, an organisation may not submit more than one application per lot under this call for proposals. Should this be the case, the EC will only consider the first proposal received (based on the date and hour of submission), the additional proposal(s) will be rejected. It is the responsibility of each lead applicant to verify that its co-applicants are not involved as lead applicant or co-applicant in other proposals.


An organisation, whatever its role in the proposal, i.e. lead applicant or co-applicant or affiliated entity, may be awarded more than one grant under this call for proposals (provided this is under different lots). 


​​​​​​​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 amount
      • − 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.

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;


2.2 How to apply and the procedures to follow

To apply for this call for proposals, lead applicants need to:

  1. I. Provide information about the organisations involved in the action. Please note that the registration of this data in PADOR is obligatory for all lead applicants, co-applicant(s) and affiliated entitiy(ies).

PADOR is an on-line database in which organisations register and update information concerning their entity. Organisations registered in PADOR get a unique ID (EuropeAid ID), which they must mention in their application. PADOR is accessible via the website:

  1. II. Provide information about the action in the documents listed under section 2.2.2. Online submission via PROSPECT is obligatory for this call.

It is strongly recommended to register in PADOR well in advance and not to wait until the last minute before the deadline to submit your application in PROSPECT

If it is impossible for the organisation to register online in PADOR for technical reasons, applicants and/or affiliated entity(ies) must complete the ‘PADOR off-line form attached to these guidelines. This form must be sent together with the application, by the submission deadline (see section 2.2.2.).

Before starting using PADOR and PROSPECT, please read the user guides available on the website. All technical questions related to the use of these systems should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at via the online support form in PROSPECT.

2.2.1 Application forms  

Applications must be submitted in accordance with the instructions on the grant application form annexed to these guidelines (Annexes A.1 and A.2). Applicants must apply in English.

Any error or major discrepancy related to the concept note or any major inconsistency in the application form (e.g. if the amounts in the budget worksheets are inconsistent) may lead to the rejection of the application.

Clarifications will only be requested when the information provided is not sufficient to conduct an objective assessment.

​​​​​​​2.2.2 Where and how to send applications

Online submission:

Applications must be submitted online via PROSPECT following the instructions given in the PROSPECT user manual.

Upon submission of the application online, the lead applicant will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt in its PROSPECT profile. 

If it is impossible for the organisation to submit its application online via PROSPECT for technical reasons, the applicant must send its application in a sealed envelope (Annex A.1: concept note and Annex A.2.: full application form), budget and logical framework. In particular, the lead applicant must send, in a sealed envelope as described below the following items: 

a. One original signed copy of the complete application form (Annex A.1: concept note and Annex A.2: full application form), the budget and logical framework. The declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.2., section 8 of the full form) must be stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope

b. 1 additional copy in A4 size, bound.

c. An electronic version (CD-ROM) of the items under point (a). The electronic file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed. 

The outer envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with number of the lot, the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’.

To reduce expense and waste, we strongly recommend that you do not use plastic folders or dividers. Please also use double-sided printing if possible.

Applications must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) at the address below. Where a lead applicant sends several different, each one has to be sent separately:

Postal address:

European Commission

Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development - EuropeAid

Unit B6 Finance, Contracts & Audit
Attn. Head of Unit

Avenue du Bourget, 1

BE – 1049 Brussels



Applications sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected. Hand-written applications will not be accepted.

Please note that incomplete applications may be rejected. Lead applicants are advised to verify that their application is complete using the checklist (Annexes A.1 and A.2, Instructions).


​​​​​​​2.2.3 Deadline for submission of applications

The deadline for the submission of applications is 04 July 2017 at 16:00 (Brussels date and time). In order to convert this deadline to local time you can use any online time converter tool that takes into account timezones and winter/summer time changes (example available here). Lead applicants are strongly advised not to wait until the last day to submit their applications, since heavy Internet traffic or a fault with the Internet connection (including electricity failure, etc.) could lead to difficulties in submission. The contacting authority cannot be held responsible for any delay due to such aforementioned difficulties.

Any application submitted after the deadline will be rejected. 

​​​​​​​2.2.4 Further information about applications 

Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of applications to the address(es) below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:

E-mail address:

The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date.

Replies will be given no later than 11 days before the deadline for the submission of applications. 

To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the Contracting Authority cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entity(ies), an action or specific activities.

No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure will be published on the EuropeAid website: . It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.

All questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at via the online support form in PROSPECT: Please note that the working languages of the IT support are English, French and Spanish. Therefore, users are invited to send their questions in those languages should they wish to benefit from an optimum response time.


​​​​​​​2.3 Evaluation and selection of applications

Applications will be examined and evaluated by the contracting authority with the possible assistance of external assessors. All applications will be assessed according to the following steps and criteria.

If the examination of the application reveals that the proposed action does not meet the eligibility criteria stated in section 2.1, the application will be rejected on this sole basis.


During the opening and administrative check (including the eligibility check of the action), the following will be assessed:

    • • If the deadline has been met. Otherwise, the application will be automatically rejected.
    • • If the concept note satisfies all the criteria specified in the checklist in the instructions included in Annex A.1. This also includes an assessment of the eligibility of the action. If any of the requested information is missing or is incorrect, the application may be rejected on that sole basis and the application will not be evaluated further.

The concept notes that pass this check will be evaluated on the relevance and design of the proposed action.

The concept notes will receive an overall score out of 50 in line with the evaluation grid below. The evaluation will also check the compliance with the instructions on how to complete the concept note (Annex A.1).

The evaluation criteria are divided into headings and subheadings. Each subheading will be given a score between 1 and 5 as follows: 1 = very poor; 2 = poor; 3 = adequate; 4 = good; 5 = very good.


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Public link:   Only for registered users

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