1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND
1.1. Programme/Legal base
The legal basis of this call for proposal is the Commission Decision C(2016)6596/F11 of 20 October 2016 on the adoption of the 2017 annual work programme for grants and procurement for DG EMPL prerogatives and specific competencies, serving as financing decision.
1.2. Policy and economic background
EU law on employee involvement at transnational level includes Directive 2009/38/EC 2 on European works councils, Directives 2001/86/EC3 and 2003/72/EC4 on employee involvement in the European Company and the European Cooperative Society, respectively, and Article 16 of Directive 2005/56/EC5 on cross-border mergers of limited liability companies.
EU law on employee involvement at national level includes Directive 2002/14/EC6 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees, directive 98/59/EC7 on collective redundancies and Directive 2001/23/EC8 on transfer of undertakings.
Employee involvement is also fostered through the development of transnational company agreements9 between multinational companies and workers' representatives.
1.3. Main Purposes
The purpose of this Call for Proposals is to fund operations aimed at developing employee involvement in undertakings - meaning any mechanism, including information, consultation and participation, through which employees' representatives may exercise an influence on decisions to be taken within the company - in particular by raising awareness and contributing to the application of EU law and policies in this area. Transnational actions shall be promoted involving representatives from several Member States, and in particular representatives of the new Member States as well as of the Candidate Countries in the field of employee involvement. Also, the joint participation of employers and workers is supported.
2. OBJECTIVE(S) – PRIORITIES – EXPECTED RESULTS
2.1. Objectives - Priorities
The appropriations of this Call for Proposals finance measures enabling the social partners and the social actors at company level to familiarize themselves with EU law and policies in the area of employee involvement as well as to exercise their rights and their duties to this regard. They cover in particular funding of measures aimed at strengthening transnational co-operation between workers' and employers' representatives in respect of employee involvement.
These appropriations may also be used to fund short training actions as well as actions involving representatives of social partners in the candidate countries10 in the field of employee involvement.
For the financial year 2017 the following objectives may be supported under this Call for Proposals:
a) to promote actions designed to prepare the setting up of transnational information, consultation and participation bodies and mechanisms arising from the application of EU law on employee involvement;
b) to promote the exchange of information and good practice aimed at creating favourable conditions for the setting up of transnational information, consultation and participation bodies and mechanisms arising from the application of EU law on employee involvement;
c) to promote action aiming to familiarize the social partners and actors at company level with the content of EU law and transnational company agreements and to enable them to exercise their rights and their duties in this regard;
d) to promote initiatives to strengthen transnational cooperation between workers' and employers' representatives in respect of information, consultation, and participation of employees within companies operating in more than one Member State;
e) to promote transnational actions involving representatives of the new Member States and of Candidate Countries in the field of employee involvement;
f) to promote action aiming to familiarize the actors represented at company level with transnational company agreements and to strengthen their cooperation within the European Union;
g) to promote operations fostering the development of employee involvement in undertakings (also, when necessary, taking into account possible specific needs of employees with disabilities) as well as to follow up on the findings of the "Fitness check" on EU acts in the area of Information and Consultation of Workers;
to strengthen cooperation between the social partners for the development of employee involvement in the design of solutions addressing the consequences of the economic crisis, such as collective redundancies.
to develop expertise across Member States, promoting cooperation between relevant authorities and stakeholders and fostering relations with the Union Institutions so as to support the implementation and improve the effectiveness of EU law on employee involvement.
Description of the activities to be funded / Type of actions
The types of activities which may be funded under this call for proposals include but are not limited to:
Information on the action for which the grant is requested
When drafting the project proposal, applicants are invited to pay particular attention to the following elements:
The proposal should provide a clear explanation of the rationale and problem definition/analysis underpinning the proposed action, as well as the specific contribution of the action to the objectives of the call for proposals and its expected impact.
In case of recurrent related applications by the same applicant, the added value of the new project as compared to previous ones should be clearly explained.
The choice of partners involved and countries covered should be duly explained and justified as regards their relevance towards the specific objectives of the action.
Cost estimates should be reasonable, justified and comply with the principle of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency. It should be noted that the cost-effectiveness of actions will be evaluated on the basis of the proposed budget. The Commission reserves the right to make corrections and/or remove non-eligible expenditure from the proposed budget, but it will not make adjustments in order to improve cost-effectiveness of proposals.
2.4. Expected outputs/results
The expected results of this call for proposals are improved possibilities for the social partners to exercise their rights and duties as regards employee involvement; strengthened cooperation among social partners and other actors in respect to Union law on employee involvement; a follow up on the findings of the "Fitness check"11 on EU acts in the area of Information and Consultation of Workers, and increased number of social partners and other actors familiarised with transnational company agreements.
a) Publication of the call
23 March 2017
b) Deadline for submitting proposals
23 May 2017
c) Evaluation period (indicative)
June – August 2017
d) Information to applicants (indicative)
e) Signature of the grant agreement (indicative)
f) Starting date of the action (indicative)
3.1. Starting date and duration of the projects
The actual starting date of the action will either be the first day following the date when the last of the two parties signs the grant agreement, the first day of the month following the date when the last of the two parties signs or a date agreed upon between the parties.
Applicants should note that if their project is selected, they may receive the grant agreement after the start date of the action that they have indicatively set in the application form. It is therefore advisable to number the months in the work programme instead of indicating the name of the months, for ease of reference.
Any expenditure incurred before the signature of the Grant Agreement will be at the applicant’s risk. No expenditure can be incurred before the deadline for submission.
The indicative duration of the project should be up to 24 months.
4. AVAILABLE BUDGET
The total budget earmarked for the EU co-financing of projects under this call is estimated at EUR 7 313 000.
On an indicative basis, the EU grant requested should not be less than EUR 110.000. The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
4.1. Co-financing rate
Under this call for proposals, the EU grant may not exceed 90% of the total eligible costs of the action. The applicants must guarantee their co-financing of the remaining amount covered by the applicants' own resources or from other sources other than the European Union budget14.
5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submission referred to in section 3(b);
Failure to comply with the above requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.
Applicants are encouraged to submit their project proposal in English, French or German in order to facilitate the treatment of the proposals and speed up the evaluation process. It should be noted, however, that proposals in all official languages of the EU will be accepted. In this case, applications should be accompanied by an executive summary in English, French or German (checklist point 3).
6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
6.1. Eligibility of the applicants (sole/lead and co-applicants) and affiliated entities15
a) Place of establishment
Lead or sole applicants must be established and registered in EU Member States;
Co-applicants must be established and registered in EU Member States or in Candidate
b) Type of entities
To be eligible, sole or lead applicant and co-applicant(s) must be:
for workers: applicants may be works councils or similar bodies ensuring the general representation of workers; regional, national, European, sectoral or multi-sectoral trade unions;
for employers: applicants may be the management of undertakings, organisations representing employers at regional, national, European, sectoral or multi-sectoral level. In case of commercial undertakings, the objective of the project must be non-commercial in nature.
International organisations may participate as co-applicants17.
c) Affiliated entities
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 and which satisfy the eligibility criteria, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs.
For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.
In the case of proposals not submitted by a European-level19 workers' or employers' organisation, the action must involve co-applicants, affiliated entities or associate organisations20 from more than one Member State or Candidate Country.
In order to strengthen co-operation between workers' and employers' representatives in respect of information, consultation and participation within undertakings operating in more than one Member State, projects involving only one information and consultation body should be submitted as joint projects from representatives of workers and employers.
Where particular circumstances do not allow submitting such a joint project, the reasons must be specified in the application.
In cases where a consortium is required, if the lead applicant is not considered to be eligible, the application will be rejected. If a co-applicant or affiliated entity is considered not to be eligible, this organisation will be removed from the consortium and the eligibility of the modified consortium will be re-evaluated. If the modified consortium is still eligible, the application will be evaluated on that basis. In addition, the costs that are allocated to a non- eligible co-applicant or affiliated entity will be removed from the budget. If the application is accepted, the work plan will have to be adapted as appropriate.
6.2. Eligible activities
To be eligible, actions must be fully carried out in the EU Member States or the Candidate Countries.
b) Types of activities
The grant will finance besides others the activities indicated in section 2.2.
c) Core activities
The following activities are considered to be core activities and may not be subcontracted:
6.3. Ineligible activities
Financial support to third parties as defined in point 3 of the Financial Guidelines is not eligible under this call.
The following types of activities are not eligible for EU funding:
The budget heading is intended to finance specific transnational cooperation projects. Therefore grants are not intended to finance the normal operation or meetings of bodies representing management or labour (the social partners); they are intended only to cover additional expenditure linked directly to projects.
7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA
Applicants (lead/sole and co-applicants) must sign a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in article 106(1) and 107.1(b) and (c) of the Financial Regulation concerning exclusion and rejection from the procedure respectively, using the relevant form attached to the application form available at SWIM https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/swim/external/displayWelcome.do.
The same exclusion criteria apply to any affiliated entities.
8. SELECTION CRITERIA
The applicant (lead/sole and co-applicant) must have the financial and operational capacity to complete the activity for which funding is requested. Only organisations with the necessary financial and operational capacity may be considered for a grant.
8.1. Financial capacity
Applicants (sole/lead and co-applicant(s)) must have access to solid and adequate funding to maintain their activities for the period of the action and to help finance it as necessary.
The ratio between the total assets in the applicant’s (sole/lead and co-applicant(s)) balance sheet and the total budget of the project or the part of the project budget for which that organisation is responsible according to the budget in the application form should be greater than 0.70. In addition, the Commission will take into account any other relevant information on financial capacity provided by the applicant.
The verification of financial capacity will not apply to public bodies or international organisations.
The applicant's (sole/lead and co-applicant) financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:
Declaration on honour (including financial capacity to carry out the activity) (see section 14, checklist point 4);
Annual balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the last financial year available (see section 14, checklist point 17);
Summary balance sheet and profit and loss accounts using the template provided in SWIM (see section 12) and signed by the legal representative (see section 14, checklist point 18).
For grants of EUR 750 000 or more, an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available (see section 14, checklist point 19).]
Applicant's (sole/lead and co-applicant(s)) must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate skills and qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action. In particular, lead and co-applicant(s) must have the ability to implement the project to be proved in the form of:
Demonstrable experience of having carried out projects or activities relating to the subject of the present call in the last three years;
The necessary operational resources (technical, management) to carry out the action.
The operational capacity of the applicant (sole/lead and co-applicant) to complete the proposed action must be confirmed by the submission in the proposal of the following items:
A list of the main projects or activities relating to the subject of the call carried out in the last three years (see section 14, checklist point 17);
The CVs of the proposed project co-ordinator and the persons who will perform the main tasks, showing all their relevant professional experience (see section 14, checklist point 15);
Declaration on honour signed by the legal representative (including operational capacity to carry out the activity) (see section 14, checklist point 4);
If the sole/lead applicant is considered not to have the required financial or operational capacity, the application as a whole will be rejected. If a co-applicant is considered not to have the required financial or operational capacity, this co-applicant will be removed from the consortium and the application will be evaluated without this co-applicant21. In addition, the costs that are allocated to the non-selected co-applicant will be removed from the budget. If the application is accepted, the work programme will have to be adapted as appropriate.
(TRUNCATED -- please visit the public link for full proposal)