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Framework Partnership Agreement with a European policy network in the field of the key competences - EAC/S37/2017

  - 167 days Deadline: 11 May 2018

 Development and Cooperation
 Education and Training
 Higher Education
 Arts Education
 Culture and Development



1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND

The Work Programme for Erasmus+ for 2018 C(2017)56521 as adopted by the Commission on 17 August 2017 envisages the support of European network(s) for policy development and implementation in the field of school education (article 5.2.2. f).

The purpose of this call is to strengthen cross-European co-operation between public authorities, such as Ministries and government agencies, and associations of stakeholders and practitioners, higher education institutions, research bodies, foundations and other organisations on policies and successful practices to promote the development of the key competences amongst children and young people.

The call aims at supporting one European policy network to raise awareness, analyse and develop policy approaches, and promote good practices and innovative initiatives to support competence oriented education in line with the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning2 and in light of the Education and Training 2020 (ET2020) benchmarks on competence development especially in the area of basic skills3.

Policy context

In 2006 the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning.4 Key competences should be acquired by young people at the end of their compulsory education and training and by adults throughout their lives, through a process of developing and updating skills. They include communication in the mother tongue and in foreign languages, mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology, digital competence; learning to learn, social and civic competences, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, and cultural awareness and expression. Early acquisition of key competences helps to develop a variety of competences and skills throughout life; the basic skills of literacy and numeracy are a pre-requisite for the development of all other key competences5.

Having the relevant competences and skills is a pre-condition for being equipped for good-quality jobs and fulfilling one's potential as a confident, active citizen. In a fast-

changing global economy, competences to a great extent determine competitiveness and the capacity to drive economic and cultural innovation. Moreover, there is a growing demand for higher levels of skills such as problem-solving, risk assessment, initiative, decision-taking, constructive management of feelings, critical thinking, and creativity.

Following the New Skills Agenda for Europe6 in June 2016, the Commission conducted a review7 the 2006 Recommendation of the Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. The review confirmed earlier findings that the Recommendation had contributed to the move towards a more competence-oriented teaching and learning approach8, but that a more strategic and comprehensive approach to key competences development in school education is needed, particularly focusing on integrating transversal skills across school subjects. 9

During the review of the Recommendation and its consultation process10, respondents stress the need to further support the use of the Framework and to promote competence- oriented education and training in Europe. This support may include the:

  •   Support for the competence-based curricula based on learning outcomes

  •   Promotion of innovative pedagogical approaches that support competence

    development;

  •   Further development of assessment methods and tools that focus on the learning outcomes and the general and transversal skills;

  •   Fostering cooperation between educational institutions and non-education stakeholders such as partnerships between schools and local communities, business, libraries, museums or research institutions, science-education centres, community learning approaches;

  •   Development of multidisciplinary approaches to education including project- based learning across different subject areas;

The Commission Communication on School Development and Excellent Teaching for a great start in life in May 201711 underlines the need to boost competence development at school education level, referring to latest PISA results12 as well as low digital skills of young Europeans13. It underlines that all young people in Europe must have the chance to develop the full range of key competences, including by linking learning more with real life experiences, using digital technologies to enhance learning and support innovation in schools, and paying attention to the diverse needs of learners. The Communication makes a link between competence development and the way learning is organised, highlighting the whole school approach as one innovative approach to improve learning outcomes, inclusiveness and equity.

 

The work on the approaches addressed above can build on previous projects and experiences. The European Commission supported under the Lifelong Learning Programme (2007 – 2013) and Erasmus + (2014 – 2020) a range of projects which worked on the improvement of basic skills as well as on the further development of key competences in education. From 2011 to 2014 the Commission helped to set up the policy network KeyCoNet14. The network aimed at supporting the implementation of the Key Competence Framework in school education in Europe. In recognition of the fundamental importance of literacy for all key competences, in February 2014 the European Commission supported in addition the creation of a European Policy Network of National Literacy Organisations (ELINET)15. Its main goal was to organise activities to raise awareness of and commitment to the importance of reading, and to reduce the number of children, young people and adults with low literacy skills in Europe.

With the set-up of a new policy network in the area of key competence development in school education, it is intended to build on existing work and support future activities of the Commission in this area.

2. OBJECTIVES – THEMES – PRIORITIES

The overall objective of this call is to support an EU-wide network of relevant organisations (policymakers, practitioners, researchers and stakeholders) to promote co- operation, the development and implementation of policy at different governance levels and support the Commission's work on the development of key competences in the area of school education. This work may include targeted initiatives in promoting the basic skills of literacy and numeracy.

The network will build on the existing work developed at European level, especially initiatives and projects supported by European Union education programmes.

The specific objectives comprise the following:

1. Create and continuously develop a sustainable and inclusive network to facilitate dialogue and co-operation among experts from policy, research and practice. The network should serve to promote and support evidence-informed policy-making and continuous collaboration among partners in the network and with other relevant stakeholders at international, European, national, regional and local levels, including especially other networks and projects funded through EU programmes;

2. Analyse and co-create knowledge on the opportunities, challenges and policy approaches in different education systems with a view to supporting policy development and implementation as well as to informing the Commission's policy work on competence oriented education, training and learning and in helping young people to acquire and develop key competences including improvement of their basic skills (literacy and numeracy);

3. Identify, share and promote good policy practice and stimulate innovation in policy development and implementation at different governance levels. There should be specific focus on the involvement of national, regional and local stakeholders;

  1. Disseminate results and recommendations within and beyond the network, and inform EU-level debate, including co-operation under Education and Training 2020. Target audiences should include policy-makers at different governance levels, as well as practitioners, researchers and stakeholders across Europe;

  2. Contribute to content development for the European Commission's dissemination tools, including the School Education Gateway, an online platform for school education and especially the Toolkit for Schools. Contribute to follow-up initiatives in implementing the Skills Agenda;

  3. Monitor and evaluate activities of the network on the basis of concrete, measurable indicators for their impact; this work should be supported through external evaluation.

The scope of its work is defined by the shared political priorities of EU Member States as outlined in section 1 above. It follows, in particular, the broad themes defined in the 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Framework ET2020 16 and the specific areas addressed in the Commission's Communication of May 2017 on school development and excellent teaching. In addition, the network should also take into account, where relevant and supportive to the core work, participating countries' national priorities, appropriate research, and developments within other international organisations.

Within this broad thematic scope the network is invited to outline the areas it will work on, and prioritise them to establish a tentative sequence for the duration of the Framework Partnership Agreement. Thematic priorities should take into account where the work of the network can have most added value; they should reflect as much as possible the challenges in implementing competence oriented education and training. Priorities can change from year to year; they should be described in the application form and in the work programme.

The network will be dealing with policies to support key competence development in the general education of children and young people (0-18 years). Policies concerned with competence development in other education, training or learning settings could be an asset, but should not constitute the core activities under this partnership agreement.

The network should represent:

  • a broad geographic scope and a balance of different education systems;
  • a variety of backgrounds and expertise of participating institutions and associations, balancing policy-making, practice and research; and
  • broad expertise on competence development and competence oriented education, training and learning.

 

3. FRAMEWORK PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

The Commission intends to support the EU policy network through a four-year framework partnership agreement, for a period of 48 months starting with the date of signature, subject to the funds being made available by the budgetary authority, on an annual basis.

The framework partnership agreement (FPA) will set out the conditions governing annual grants for an action. The FPA defines the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission and the selected organisation in implementing the partnership. It presents the common objectives agreed by the organisation and the Commission; the type of activities envisaged; the procedure to conclude a specific agreement for an annual grant for an action as well as the general rights and obligations of each party under the specific grant agreements. The FPA does not constitute an obligation for the Commission to conclude a specific agreement for an annual grant for an action.

As part of the application for the FPA, the applicant is required to submit an overall work programme for its entire duration17. This shall comprise (1) broad thematic priorities, (2) an overall description of activities and outputs for the entire period of the FPA, and (3) an indicative description of how these will be divided into annual work plans. The applicant is also required to submit an indicative budget corresponding to the entire duration of the FPA18. Together with the other information provided, it will form the basis for awarding the FPA.

 

4. AWARD OF SPECIFIC GRANT AGREEMENTS

In addition and in order to ensure a timely start of the activities planned under the FPA, a detailed work plan and a corresponding budget19 are requested for the first year, which may be subject to a specific grant agreement concluded after signature of the FPA. This detailed work plan for the first year should demonstrate how the applicant intends to implement the work programme of the FPA; it will be evaluated against the award criteria indicated in this call (section 11) only after the framework partnership has been awarded.

For the subsequent years, subject to the funds being available, the Commission will invite the organisation with whom the FPA has been signed to provide a detailed work plan and a corresponding budget, in order to conclude a specific agreement for a grant for an action for the following period of operation. The detailed work programmes for years 2, 3 and 4 will be assessed against the award criteria indicated in this call (section 11).

The conclusion of any specific agreement for an action is subject to the Commission's evaluation of the detailed (annual) work plan and the corresponding detailed budget, as well as to the availability of budgetary appropriations.

 

5. INDICATIVE TIMETABLE

a) Publication of the call

November 2017

 

b) Deadline for submitting applications

11 May 2018

 

c) Evaluation period

May-July 2018

 

d) Information to applicants

August 2018

 

e) Signature of Framework Partnership Agreement

September 2018

 

f) Signature of specific grant agreement

October 2018

 

g) Starting date of the action

October 2018

 

In January 2018, the European Commission will organise a webinar to answer questions related to this call for proposals. The webinar aims to clarify possible questions concerning policy context, objectives of the call, expected outcomes, structure of the framework agreement, as well as eligibility, selection and award criteria. Applicants are asked to submit question regarding financial provisions in writing as they are usually very specific and difficult to answer during a webinar.

The exact date and time of the webinar, as well as the relevant link, will be announced on the website of the call at https://ec.europa.eu/education/calls/framework-partnership- agreement-european-policy-network-field-key-competences_en.

 

6. BUDGET AVAILABLE

The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of a network in 2018 is estimated at 300,000.00 EUR which will also be the maximum amount granted. The EU grant is limited to a maximum co-funding rate of 75% of eligible costs. This amount will cover the work plan for 2018-2019. Due to the specific and unique nature of this Call, the Commission expects to fund only one proposal (network). The network should agree on the distribution of the budget between the co-beneficiaries – including the self- contribution, which may vary between the co-beneficiaries.

The budgets for the subsequent years (of an estimated similar amount as for the first year) will be confirmed by the Commission on an annual basis. The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

 

7. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 5.

Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 16), using the application form available at https://ec.europa.eu/education/calls/framework-partnership- agreement-european-policy-network-field-key-competences_en20 and the related templates for the work programmes and corresponding budgets21.

Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages. Due to the nature of the activity and the need to ensure involvement of all network partners right from the beginning, applicants are encouraged to draft the application in the working language of the network. It is assumed that this will be in most cases English.

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

 

8. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

8.1. Eligible applicants

The call is open to entities or consortia of entities fulfilling the following conditions:

  •   The network should have partners from at least 15 countries. Eligible countries are the Erasmus+ programme countries23.

  •   Only applications from legal entities established in one of the Erasmus+ programme countries are eligible. Also, the coordinating applicant has to be registered as a legal entity in one of the Erasmus+ programme countries.

  •   Eligible applicants are associations, foundations and other similar national or international bodies; national education centres; ministries of education and/or training; social partner organisations (unions and employer organisations); higher education institutions and research centres.

  •   The applicant(s) must have had a legal personality for at least 2 years on the date of the deadline for submission of applications and must be able to demonstrate their existence as a legal person.

  •   In case the application is submitted by several entities working together (consortium), the above criteria apply to all entities.

  •   For British applicants:
    Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, British applicants will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17.2 of the agreement.

Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 13.1.

For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form. Affiliated entities must provide a document demonstrating their legal or capital link with the parent organisation.

In case of a consortium, the network shall take the form of a partnership of co- beneficiaries in participating countries, of which one will take the lead and act as co- ordinator. The co-ordinator will act as an intermediary for all communications between the Commission and the co-beneficiaries. However, beneficiaries are jointly responsible for implementing the action resulting from any grants awarded. To implement the action properly, they must make appropriate internal arrangements24, consistent with the terms of the Framework Partnership Agreement.

By way of exception, an application may be submitted by one applicant, whether established specifically or not for the action, provided that:

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

  •   the application identifies the said entities.

For the purpose of declaring eligible costs as specified under section 13.1, the entities composing the applicant shall be treated as affiliated entities.

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

  • -  The legal entity identification form (http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/legal_entities/legal_entitie s_en.cfm) duly completed and signed by the person authorised to enter into legally binding commitments on behalf of the applicant organisation(s) to be submitted in original;

  • -  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 mandate letters25 in original confirming their participation to the project and authorising the coordinator to represent the consortium on their behalf;

  • -  proofs establishing that the person named as legal representative is the statutory legal representative of the applicant organisation(s);

    In case the application is submitted by several entities working together (consortium), the requested documents have to be provided by all entities.

    The following entities will be considered as non-eligible:

    • natural persons;
    • entities without legal personality.

Eligible activities

Types of activities eligible under this call for proposals.

  •   Creation and further development of the network; cooperation with partner institutions and organisations inside and outside the network;

  •   Activities aiming to develop, test, adapt and adopt/implement innovative policy and practice;

  •   Exchange of experiences and good practice, peer learning activities, peer reviews, study visits and workshops; organisation of conferences and seminars;

  •   Joint research, surveys, studies and analyses in the thematic area of the call, including country analysis or mapping of approaches and practices; analysis of recent or ongoing reforms;

  •   Awareness raising and dissemination of results;

  •   Reporting, evaluation and monitoring of network activities.

 

9. EXCLUSION CRITERIA

9.1. Exclusion

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, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;

(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;

(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

 

  1. fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;
  2. entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;
  3. violating intellectual property rights;
  4. attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;
  5. attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;
  6. (d) it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:
  7. fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;
  8. corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;
  9. participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;
  10. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  11. (v)  terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

  12. (vi)  child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

(e) the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;

(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95.

(g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to:

9.2.

  1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;

  2. (ii)  non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;

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

  4. (iv)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law.

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

Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 9.1), it should indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 9.1.

9.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:

 

  1. is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with Article 106 FR (see section 9.1)26;

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

  3. was previously involved in the preparation of calls for proposal documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation.

9.4. Supporting documents27

Applicants and affiliated entities must each28 provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in articles 106(1) and 107 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available at https://ec.europa.eu/education/calls/framework- partnership-agreement-european-policy-network-field-key-competences_en.

 

10. SELECTION CRITERIA

10.1. Financial capacity30

The financial capacity will be assessed based on the following methodology and its annexes: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/calls/evaluation-grants-2016_en.htm

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

a) Grants with a pre-financing value of EUR 600 000 or less

For grants of this type, proof of financial capacity is constituted by a declaration on the honour by the grant applicants (see Annex 1 of the Application form).

However, in case of doubt and only for grants exceeding EUR 60 000, the assessment committee reserves the right to request supporting documents and to carry out a financial analysis as described at point 4 of the above mentioned methodology (cf. Article 131(3) of the FR)

Moreover for grants exceeding EUR 60 000, entities falling into one of the high-risk categories mentioned at point 3.1 of the methodology must provide proof of their financial capacity and are required to undergo the financial analysis provided for in point 4 of the same methodology.

b) Grants with a pre-financing value of EUR 600 000 or more

For grants of this type, proof of economic and financial capacity is provided by the following documents:

 

  • -  the declaration on the honour by the grant applicants (see Annex 1 Declaration on the honour of the Application form);

  • -  the economic and financial capacity analysis form showing the financial data of the economic operator, completed and signed by the operator;

  • -  for economic operators required under national law to keep a complete set of accounts: the balance sheet, profit and loss account and annexes of the last financial year for which accounts have been closed;

  • -  for economic operators required under national law to keep a simplified set of accounts: the schedule of actual expenditure and income and the annex showing assets and liabilities for the last financial year for which accounts have been closed.

In addition, in case of grants for an action ≥ EUR 750 000 or operating grants ≥ EUR 100 00031, an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts shall be provided for the last financial year available or the two last years for Framework Partnership Agreement. In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the thresholds apply to each applicant.

In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (“the sole applicant”, as specified in section 8.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.

On the basis of the documents submitted, if the RAO considers that financial capacity is weak, s/he may:

  •   request further information;

  •   decide not to give pre-financing;

  •   decide to give pre-financing paid in instalments;

  •   decide to give pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 13.6.2 below);

  •   where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries.

If the RAO considered that the financial capacity is insufficient s/he will reject the application.

10.2. Operational capacity32

Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action. In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration on their honour, and the following supporting documents:

  •   curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation (accompanied where appropriate, like in the field of research and education, by a list of relevant publications) 33;

  •   the coordinator organisation's/sole beneficiary's activity reports of the previous two years (or the two most recent annual activity reports)34;

 an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed and connected to the policy field of a given call or to the actions to be carried out35;

In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (the "sole" applicant), as specified in section 8.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities. The requested documents have to be provided by all entities, unless otherwise mentioned

 

11. AWARD CRITERIA
Eligible applications/projects will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  •   the relevance of the project, i.e. appropriateness of the proposed activities to the objectives of the call. (0-20 points);

  •   the quality of the work's plan design and implementation, i.e. effectiveness and rationality of the proposed methodology, the timetable, provisions for evaluation and monitoring, the innovative nature of the project, the resources deployed in relation to the objectives envisaged, particularly in terms of cost- effectiveness. (0-30 points);

  •   the quality of the project consortium (and cooperation arrangements) with regard to the variety of backgrounds of participating institutions or associations, the geographical coverage and the distribution of tasks and responsibilities among its members. (0-20 points);

  •   the impact, dissemination and sustainability of the expected results, i.e. the expected multiplying effect, the transferability and sustainability of the expected results. (0-30 points).

    Points will be allocated to eligible applications out of a total of 100 on the basis of the above-specified weighting. A minimum threshold of 60 points will be applied for all award criteria taken together. Applications below this threshold will be rejected.

    These award criteria will be also used to assess the detailed work plans for the following years of operation and their corresponding budgets in order to conclude a specific agreement for a grant for an action for the following year.

 

12. LEGAL COMMITMENTS

In the event of a grant awarded by the Commission, a FPA, and a specific agreement, drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of funding, will be sent to the beneficiary, as well as the procedure in view to formalise the obligations of the parties. The 2 copies of the original agreement must be signed first by the beneficiary and returned to the Commission immediately. The Commission will sign it last.

Please note that the award of a specific grant agreement does not establish an entitlement for subsequent years.

 

13. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

13.1 Eligible costs

Eligible costs shall meet all the following criteria:

 

  •   they are incurred by the beneficiary.

  •   they are incurred during the duration of the action, with the exception of costs

    relating to final reports and audit certificates;

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

agreement.

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

  •   they are indicated in the estimated budget;

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

  •   they are identifiable and verifiable, in particular being recorded in the accounting

    records of the beneficiary and determined according to the applicable accounting standards of the country where the beneficiary is established and according to the usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary;

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

  •   they are reasonable, justified, and comply with the requirements of sound

financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency.

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

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

13.1.1. Eligible direct costs

The eligible direct costs for the action are those costs which:

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

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

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

Costs of the personnel of national administrations to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority would not carry out if the project concerned was not undertaken;

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (i) are purchased in accordance with the rules on implementation contracts laid down in the grant agreement; and

    (ii) are directly assigned to the action;

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

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

  6. (g)  costs of financial support to third parties, provided that the conditions laid down in the grant agreement are met: not applicable

  7. (h)  duties, taxes and charges paid by the beneficiary, notably value added tax (VAT), provided that they are included in eligible direct costs, and unless specified otherwise in the grant agreement.

 

13.1.2. Eligible indirect costs (overheads)

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

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

Indirect costs may not include costs entered under another budget heading.

Applicants’ attention is drawn to the fact that if they are receiving an operating grant financed by the EU or Euratom budget, they may not declare indirect costs for the period(s) covered by the operating grant, unless they can demonstrate that the operating grant does not cover any costs of the action.

In order to demonstrate this, in principle, the beneficiary should:

  1. use analytical cost accounting that allows to separate all costs (including overheads) attributable to the operating grant and the action grant. For that purpose the beneficiary should use reliable accounting codes and allocation keys ensuring that the allocation of the costs is done in a fair, objective and realistic way.

record separately:

  •   all costs incurred for the operating grants (i.e. personnel, general running costs and other operating costs linked to the part of its usual annual activities), and

  •   all costs incurred for the action grants (including the actual indirect costs linked to the action)

If the operating grant covers the entire usual annual activity and budget of the beneficiary, the latter is not entitled to receive any indirect costs under the action grant.

13.2 Ineligible costs

  1. a)  return on capital and dividends paid by a beneficiary;

  2. b)  debt and debt service charges;

  3. c)  provisions for losses or debts;

  4. d)  interest owed;

  5. e)  doubtful debts;

  6. f)  exchange losses;

  7. g)  costs of transfers from the Commission charged by the bank of a beneficiary;

  8. h)  costs declared by the beneficiary under another action receiving a grant financed

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

  9. i)  contributions in kind from third parties;

  10. j)  excessive or reckless expenditure;

  11. k)  deductibleVAT.

 

13.3 Form of the grant

13.3.1 Reimbursement of costs actually incurred38

The grant will be defined by applying a maximum co-financing rate of 75 % to the eligible costs actually incurred and declared by the beneficiary including co-beneficiaries or affiliated entities.

13.4 Balanced budget39
The estimated budget of the action must be attached to the application form. It must have

revenue and expenditure in balance.

The budget must be drawn up in euros.

Applicants for whom costs will not be incurred in euros should use the exchange rate40 published on the Infor-euro website available at: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm.

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

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

  •   the beneficiary's own resources,

  •   income generated by the action,

  •   financial contributions from third parties (earmarked to eligible costs)41.

Contributions in kind cannot be accepted. 13.5 Calculation of the final grant amount

The final amount of the grant is calculated by the Commission at the time of the payment of the balance42. The calculation involves the following steps:

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

The amount under step 1 is obtained by application of the reimbursement rate specified in section 13.3.1 to the eligible costs accepted by the Commission.

Step 2 — Limit to the maximum amount of the grant

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

 

Step 3 — Reduction due to the no-profit rule

‘Profit’ means the surplus of the amount obtained following Steps 1 and 2 plus the total receipts of the action, over the total eligible costs of the action.

The total eligible costs of the action are the consolidated total eligible costs approved by the Commission. The total receipts of the action are the consolidated total receipts established, generated or confirmed on the date on which the request for payment of the balance is drawn up by the beneficiary.

The following are considered receipts:

(a) income generated by the action;
(b) financial contributions given by third parties to a beneficiary or to an affiliated

entity, if they are specifically assigned by the third parties to the financing of the eligible costs of the action reimbursed by the Commission.

The following are not considered receipts:

(a) financial contributions by third parties, if they may be used to cover costs other than the eligible costs under the grant agreement;

(b) financial contributions by third parties with no obligation to repay any amount unused at the end of the implementation period.

If there is a profit, it will be deducted in proportion to the final rate of reimbursement of the actual eligible costs of the action approved by the Commission.

Step 4 — Reduction due to improper implementation or breach of other obligations.

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

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

13.6 Reporting and payment arrangements43

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

 


 

Payment request
For actions of 12 months or less, one pre- financing payment44 corresponding to 70 % of the grant amount.

(a) bank guarantee (see section 13.6.2) subject to risk-analysis.

 

Payment request
Payment of the balance

The Commission will establish the amount of this payment on the basis of the calculation of the final grant amount (see section 13.5 above). If the total of earlier payments is higher than the final grant amount, the beneficiary will be required to reimburse the amount paid in excess by the Commission through a recovery order45.

(a) final technical report;
(b) final financial statement;
(c) summary financial statement aggregating the financial statements already submitted previously and indicating the receipts

 

13.6.2 Pre-financing guarantee46

Subject to risk analysis, a pre-financing guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre- financing may be requested in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment.

If requested, the financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the EU Member States. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, the Commission may agree that a bank or financial institution established in that third country may provide the guarantee if it considers that the bank or financial institution offers equivalent security and characteristics as those offered by a bank or financial institution established in a Member State. Amounts blocked in bank accounts shall not be accepted as financial guarantees.

The guarantee may be replaced by:

  •   a joint and several guarantee by a third party or,

  •   a joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of an action who are parties to the same grant agreement.

    The guarantee shall be released as the pre-financing is gradually cleared against interim payments or the payment of the balance, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement.

    13.7 Other financial conditions

a) Non-cumulative award47

An action may only receive one grant from the EU budget.

In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. To ensure this, applicants shall indicate in the grant application the sources and amounts of Union funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action or for its (the applicant's) functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.48

b) Non-retroactivity49
No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.

A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate in the grant application the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed.

 

In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

c) Implementation contracts/subcontracting50

Where the implementation of the action requires the award of procurement contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must award the contract to the bid offering best value for money or the lowest price (as appropriate), avoiding conflicts of interests51.

The beneficiary is expected to clearly document the tendering procedure and retain the documentation for the event of an audit.

Entities acting in their capacity of contracting authorities in the meaning of Directive 2014/24/EU52 or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2014/25/EU53 must comply with the applicable national public procurement rules.

Beneficiaries may subcontract tasks forming part of the action. If they do so, they must ensure that, in addition to the above-mentioned conditions of best value for money and absence of conflicts of interests, the following conditions are also complied with:

  1. a)  subcontracting does not cover core tasks of the action;

  2. b)  recoursetosubcontractingisjustifiedbecauseofthenatureoftheactionand what is necessary for its implementation;

  3. c)  the estimated costs of the subcontracting are clearly identifiable in the estimated budget;

  4. d)  any recourse to subcontracting, if not provided for in description of the action, is communicated by the beneficiary and approved by the Commission. The Commission may grant approval:

    (i) before any recourse to subcontracting, if the beneficiaries requests an amendment

    (ii) after recourse to subcontracting if the subcontracting:

    •   is specifically justified in the interim or final technical report and

    •   does not entail changes to the grant agreement which would call into question the decision awarding the grant or be contrary to the equal treatment of applicants;

  5. e)  the beneficiaries ensure that certain conditions applicable to beneficiaries, enumerated in the grant agreement (e.g. visibility, confidentiality, etc.), are also applicable to the subcontractors.

d) Financial support to third parties54
The applications may not envisage provision of financial support to third

parties.

 

14. PUBLICITY

14.1 By the beneficiaries

Beneficiaries must clearly acknowledge the European Union’s contribution in all publications or in conjunction with activities for which the grant is used.

In this respect, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name and emblem of the European Commission on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed project.

To do this they must use the text, the emblem and the disclaimer available at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/services/visual_identity/index_en.htm and the European Commission's visual identity guidelines. For further details you may also contact comm-visual-identity@ec.europa.eu.If this requirement is not fully complied with, the beneficiary’s grant may be reduced in accordance with the provisions of the grant agreement.

14.2 By the Commission55

With the exception of scholarships paid to natural persons and other direct support paid to natural persons in most need, all information relating to grants awarded in the course of a financial year shall be published on an internet site of the European Union institutions no later than the 30 June of the year following the financial year in which the grants were awarded.

The Commission will publish the following information:

  •   name of the beneficiary;

  •   address of the beneficiary when the latter is a legal person, region when the beneficiary is a natural person, as defined on NUTS 2 level56 if he/she is domiciled within EU or equivalent if domiciled outside EU;

  •   subject of the grant;

  amount awarded.

Upon a reasoned and duly substantiated request by the beneficiary, the publication shall be waived if such disclosure risks threatening the rights and freedoms of individuals concerned as protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union or harm the commercial interests of the beneficiaries.

 

15. PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA

The reply to any call for proposals involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and CV). Such data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data. Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested that are required to evaluate the application in accordance with the call for proposal will be processed solely for that purpose by European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, unit B.2.

Personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System by the Commission, should the beneficiary be in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106(1) and 107 of the Financial Regulation 966/201257 (for more information see the Privacy Statement on:

 

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/library/explained/management/protecting/privacy_statement_e des_en.pdf

 

16. PROCEDURE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS

Proposals must be submitted by the deadline set out under section 5.

No modification to the application is allowed once the deadline for submission has elapsed. However, if there is a need to clarify certain aspects or to correct clerical mistakes, the Commission may contact the applicant during the evaluation process58.

Applicants will be informed in writing about the results of the selection process.59 Application forms are available at https://ec.europa.eu/education/calls/framework-

partnership-agreement-european-policy-network-field-key-competences_en.

Applications must be submitted in the correct form, duly completed and dated. They must be submitted in 3 (three) copies (one original clearly identified as such, plus two copies, and an electronic copy on CD or USB stick) and signed by the person authorised to enter into legally binding commitments on behalf of the applicant organisation.

Offers must be submitted in a sealed envelope itself enclosed within a second sealed envelope, addressed as indicated above. The inner envelope must bear, in addition to the address indicated above, the words, “CALL FOR PROPOSALS – EAC/S37/2017 – Not to be opened by the mail service.” If self-adhesive envelopes are used, they must be sealed with adhesive tape and the sender must sign across that tape

Where applicable, all additional information considered necessary by the applicant can be included on separate sheets.

Applications must be sent to the following address60:

European Commission
Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture Unit B2 – Schools and Multilingualism
Call for proposals EAC/S37/2017
J-70 – 03/085
Rue Joseph II 70
B-1049 Brussels
Belgium

  •   by post, date as postmark as proof of timely submission;

  •   in person, date as receipt as proof, at the following address (opening hours:

    Monday to Friday, 08.30 – 17.00)

    European Commission Avenue du Bourget 1 B-1140 Brussels, Belgium

  •   by courier service, date of receipt by the courier service as proof. Applications sent by fax or e-mail will not be accepted.



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