1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND
This call is published with reference to the 2020 Erasmus+ Work Programme, Key Action 3, Support for Policy Reform (C(2019) 5823 of 7 August 2019 as amended C(2020) 1159 of 3 March 2020)1.
Many young people are active in EU-related activities: they join pan-European organisations or engage in less structured ‘non-formal’ exchanges with young people from other European countries and they show positive attitudes and support to the European integration process2. In their capacity, they can be powerful ambassadors of the European project and build bridges across the continent, East and West North and South line, to inspire others in the way they experience Europe and their European identity.
Erasmus+ Youth promotes different mobility formats, including youth exchanges or youth worker mobility and supports youth organisations. Analysis of experience reveals a fruitful and active cooperation between organisations and young people across countries. The Erasmus+ programme is successful in attracting and engaging young people. There is great interest in participation and currently only 1 in 3 mobility projects (Youth Exchanges, Youth Workers Mobility) and 1 in 5 in partnerships (Transnational Youth Initiatives) can be supported.
Europe is a union of equals, big or small, in the East or West, the North or South. Young people are key actors in promoting the European values and into turning them into a reality. And, although they might often be less engaged than older persons in traditional forms of participation such as voting or belonging to a political party, the majority among them declare interest in politics and have stronger feelings of citizenship towards the EU than older groups. Faced with a crisis of the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic and its societal effects, the commitment of young people in showing a community spirit, solidarity across Europe and willingness to work together is more important than ever.
The EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 seeks to foster youth participation in democratic life; it also supports social and civic engagement and aims to ensure that all young people have the necessary resources to take part in society. The Strategy focuses on three core areas of action, around the three words: ‘Engage’, ‘Connect’, ‘Empower’, while working on joined-up implementation across sectors. Under the core area ‘Connect’, the Strategy fosters the creation and promotion of networks that allow young people from all backgrounds, with particular emphasis on those with fewer opportunities, to experience exchanges, cooperation, cultural and civic action in a European context and thus develop and strengthen their personal, civic and social competences and become active European citizens.
The Strategy also embraces young people’s views on challenges that need to be tackled by the EU and the Member States in the coming years. These views are represented in 11
European Youth Goals, which are the outcome of the 6th cycle of the Dialogue with young people, decision-makers, researchers and other stakeholders and present a vision for a Europe that enables young people to realise their full potential.
The scope of the “European Youth Together” actions should build on the experience obtained through the 'New Narrative for Europe'3 project, the European Youth Goals4 and Eurobarometer findings on young people's priorities5 and other youth policy and programme initiatives, including projects selected under this action in 2018 and 2019, aiming to promote young people's participation in European civic life as well as cross- border exchanges and mobility activities. Its actions should particularly address challenges related to inclusive participation for all young people, regardless of their background or situation, that emerged against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2.1. General Objectives
"European Youth Together" projects aim to create networks promoting regional partnerships, to be run in close cooperation with young people from across Europe (Erasmus+ programme countries). The networks would organise exchanges, promote trainings (for instance for youth leaders) and allow young people themselves to set up joint projects, all of which could be done through both physical and online activities.
"European Youth Together" seeks to support initiatives from at least five youth organisations from five different eligible Erasmus+ programme countries to share their ideas about the EU, encourage wider civic participation and help foster a sense of European citizenship. The initiative aims to bring together European youth from across Europe; East, West, North and South.
For this year the thematic priorities are the promotion of EU Youth Goals #3#4 and #10, namely ‘Inclusive Societies’, ‘Information and Constructive Dialogue’ and ‘Sustainable and Green Europe’, as referred to in Annex 3 to the EU Youth Strategy 2019-20276. These European Youth Goals reflect also the President von der Leyen Commission’s political guidelines7 for the next five years, namely the ‘European Green Deal’, ‘A Europe fit for the digital age’ and a ‘new push for European democracy’.
More recently, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, immediate response is required to mitigate its socio-economic impact, including capacity building and specific measures to deal with Covid-19 crisis recovery in the youth sector. In this respect, President von der Leyen said the EU would do whatever was necessary to support the Europeans and the European economy8 when announcing European measures to counter the economic impact of the Coronavirus. When doing so, youth networks could consider ways of forging solidarity and inclusiveness, which concur with challenges related to digital skills and green lifestyles.
2.2. Specific Objectives
The initiative seeks to specifically support:
promotion and development of more structured cooperation, online and offline, between different youth organisations to build or strengthen partnerships focusing on solidarity and inclusive democratic participation of all against a backdrop of the backlashes on socio-economic structures and in line with youth goals numbers 3, 4 and 10;
youth organisations involved in initiatives to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process and in society by organising trainings, showcase commonalities among young Europeans and encourage discussion and debate on their connection to the EU, its values and democratic foundations, including by providing a meaningful voice to youth in the framework of the Covid-19 recovery process;
promote participation of under-represented groups of young people in politics, youth organisations and other civil society organisations by engaging vulnerable and socio- economic disadvantaged youth; new ways to empower youth organisations in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath, by supporting innovative ways of cooperation and network creation, development and management. Indicatively, this could include enhancing collaboration between youth organisations in a digital context through and by non-formal learning and organisational models including alternative modes of exchanges and mutual aid.
It targets youth NGOs, public bodies and informal groups of young people, especially those active at grassroots level, which would propose projects involving at least five partners who have the capacity to mobilise young people in partnerships covering different countries and regions within the Erasmus+ Programme Countries.
Large-scale mobility activities for young people should form a key component of European Youth Together projects. This mobility should offer cross-border exchanges and non-formal or informal training opportunities for young people from across Europe (East, West, North and South) that can be prepared and supported through online fora to support the objectives of this call. These mobility activities must be very clearly justified according to the call objectives.
All the above activities should contribute to widening the outreach towards young people to ensure a diversity of voices, reach young people within and beyond youth organisations and youth with fewer opportunities, thereby using a variety of channels.
The granted projects should demonstrate their expected contribution to EU youth policy by:
building on the objectives of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 and more specifically by demonstrating how they are contributing to the ‘Engage-Connect- Empower’ priorities of the Strategy.
building on the outcomes of the New Narrative for Europe, European Youth Goals and other debate projects and opinion surveys related to the future of Europe and linking them to policy development at local/regional/national/European level;
3. INDICATIVE TIMETABLE
(a) Publication of the call
(b) Deadline for submitting applications
28/07/2020 at 17:00
(c) Evaluation period
(d) Information to applicants
(e) Signature of grant agreement
4. BUDGET AVAILABLE
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals/invitation to submit a proposal is estimated at EUR 5,000,000.
The financial contribution from the EU is minimum EUR 100,000 and cannot exceed EUR 500,000. It is limited to a maximum co-financing rate of 80 % of the total eligible project costs.
The Agency expects to fund 10 to 15 proposals.
The Agency reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
In order to be admissible, applications must be:
submitted in writing using the electronic application form9 (eForm); https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/PPMT/
drafted in one of the EU official languages.
Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.
6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
Applications which comply with the following criteria will be subject of an in-depth evaluation.
6.1. Eligible applicants, partners and countries
Proposals may be submitted by applicants which are a non-profit organisation working in the field of youth (Youth NGO) established in an Erasmus+ Programme Country.
The following organisations can take part in the proposals as partners:
- non-profit organisations (private or public) and NGOs (including European Youth NGOs) working in the field of Youth;
The minimum partnership composition requirement for this call is at least 5 partners/organisations (including the applicant) from 5 different countries eligible for participation in the Erasmus+ programme. Applying organisations should demonstrate their capacity to ensure a good geographical balance in terms of partners from different parts of the Erasmus+ Programme Countries. This means a balanced partnership distribution across eligible countries where partners come from different areas East, West, North and South across Europe.
The following Erasmus + Programme countries are eligible:
- EU Member States;
- The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, which form part of the European Economic Area (EEA): Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway;
- Candidate countries for which a pre-accession strategy has been established, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions laid down in the framework agreements concluded with those countries with a view to their participation in EU Programmes: North Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey.
For UK: Please be aware that following the entry into force of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement* on 1 February 2020 and in particular Articles 127(6), 137 and 138, the references to natural or legal persons residing or established in a Member State of the European Union are to be understood as including natural or legal persons residing or established in the United Kingdom. UK residents and entities are therefore eligible to participate under this call/invitation.
* Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community
Proposals from applicants in candidate or associated countries may be selected provided that, on the date of award, agreements have entered into force setting out the arrangements for the participation of those countries in the programme.
The participation of affiliated entities12 are allowed in this call.
In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested during the evaluation phase:
Examples of supporting documents:
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.
6.2. Eligible activities
The activities proposed must be directly linked to the general and specific objectives of the Call and must be detailed in a project description covering the whole period of the grant applied for.
The following types of activities are eligible:
- Mobility activities including large scale exchanges between young people, including (but not restricted to) networking and non-formal or informal training opportunities, support and preparation of activities online and the development of projects by young people;
- Activities facilitating access and participation of youth in EU policy activities relevant to young people;
- Exchanges of experience and good practice; networking and partnerships with other youth organisations; participation in meetings, seminars or online fora with other stakeholders and/or policy-makers also with a view to increasing policy impact on target groups, sectors and/or systems;
- Initiatives and events for developing European NGO/Civil Society organisations/EU-wide networks;
Activities shall be of cross-border nature and may be performed at European (Erasmus+ Programme Countries), national, regional or local level.
As a transversal principle, participating organisations should pursue strategies to connect to young people at grassroots level from a diversity of backgrounds with a view to ensuring a growing number of young people at the grassroots levels are being reached.
This covers the involvement of a diverse youth population that also includes those from remote/rural areas; with a migrant background; and/or from disadvantaged social backgrounds.
The project duration must be between 9 and 24 months. It cannot be extended in time.
In any case, activities shall not start before the signature of the Grant Agreement by the Agency unless the applicant provides a prior justification which is accepted by the Agency.
The eligibility period of the grant agreements is expected to start in January 2021 or within the first quarter of 2021.
Applications for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals will not be accepted.
7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA
The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:
(a) the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended, or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under EU or 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 applicable law;
(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 intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:
(i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of eligibility or selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;
(ii) entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;
(iii) violating intellectual property rights;
(iv) attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Agency during the award procedure;
(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:
(i) fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;
(ii) corruption, as defined in Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or 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, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;
(iii) conduct related to a criminal organisation, as referred to in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;
(iv) money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4) and (5) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
(v) terrorist 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;
(vi) child labour or other offences concerning trafficking in human beings as referred to 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) It has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;
(h) it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);
(i) for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant is subject to:
(i) facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by European Public Prosecutor's Office after its establishment, the Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office or the internal auditor, 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;
(ii) non-final judgments or 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;
(iii) facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;
(iv) information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;
(v) decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of Union competition law or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law; or
(vi) 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 7.1), it must 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 correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. 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 authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:
(a) is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1; or
(b) has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information; or
(c) was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.
The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.
Administrative sanctions (exclusion)14 may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.
7.4. Supporting documents15
Applicants and affiliated entities must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals (https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/PPMT/).
This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:
(i) the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants and their affiliated entities; OR
(ii) each applicant in the consortium signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities; OR
(iii) each applicant in the consortium and the affiliated entities each sign a separate declaration in their own name.