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IPA II Cross Border Cooperation Action Programme Montenegro-Albania for the years 2014-2015-First Call for Proposal EuropeAid/138208/ID/ACT/Multi
Deadline: 13 Sep 2016   CALL EXPIRED

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 Social Innovation
 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Natural Resources
 Sustainable Development
 Development and Cooperation
 Sustainable Tourism
 Tourism
 Cultural heritage
 Cross-border cooperation
 IPA CBC

Background

These Guidelines are intended to be used by those applying for grants under the 1st Call for proposals for the Cross-border Programme Montenegro – Albania.

 

The Cross Border Cooperation Programme Montenegro - Albania analyses the socio-economic situation of the Montenegrin-Albanian border region, sets outs a common strategy for remedying problems identified and formulates joint priorities and measures for development. The result of the 1st Call for Proposals will be a selection of cross-border cooperation projects that will contribute to the strategy's objectives and fall into identified priorities and measures.

 

The programme area in Montenegro covers municipalities: Andrijevica, Berane, Plav, Gusinje, Petnjica, Rožaje, Podgorica, Cetinje, Danilovgrad, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj. The programme area in Albania includes the regions of Shkodra and Lezha and the district of Tropoja. Overall, the programming area has 23 municipalities and a total of 1,144 settlements – towns and villages.

The Cross-border Cooperation Programme Montenegro-Albania is implemented jointly by Montenegro and Albania. The Programme is implemented under the Indirect management mode, with the Contracting Authority located in Montenegro.

In Montenegro, the responsible institutions are: 

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI), responsible for the overall coordination and implementation of the Programme;

Ministry of Finance of Montenegro - Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU), responsible for launching Calls for Proposals and for all contracting and payment issues.(Contracting Authority).

 

In Albania, the responsible institutions are: 

 

Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Albania, responsible for the overall coordination and implementation of the Programme

Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Albania - CFCU, Albanian Control Body – responsible for control expenditures incurred by beneficiaries registered in Albania and issue confirmation to the Contracting Authority on the eligibility of expenditures.

 

Moreover, the implementation of the Programme is overseen by a Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) composed of representatives from Montenegro and Albania.

 

Both countries are assisted by a Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS) based in Podgorica, Montenegro. The JTS is responsible for the day-to-day management of the programme including support and advice to all potential applicants in the Programme area. The JTS will have an antenna located in Shkodra (Albania). The JTS, including Antenna office, is the main contact point for the applicants to the Cross-border Cooperation Programme Montenegro-Albania.

 

Additional information regarding the programme area, related development strategy, priority measures and implementation system are available in the Cross-Border Programme, which is available for downloading on: http://www.mvpei.gov.me/, http://www.integrimi.gov.al and http://www.eu.me.

Objectives of the programme and priority issues 

The global objective of this call for proposals is to promote/strengthen good neighbourly relations and socioeconomic development of the border regions, through valorising its touristic potentials, an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economic development, with respect for its common cultural and natural heritage. 

The specific objective(s) of this call for proposals is/are the following: 

1.    To enhance the competitiveness of the tourism sector by the economic valorisation of the cultural and natural heritage

2.    To further protection of environmental resources in lake and alpine areas

3.    To foster employability and social inclusion

The thematic priorities of this grant scheme are the following:

1.    Encouraging tourism, culture and natural heritage

2.    Protecting the environment, promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk prevention and management

3.    Promoting employment, labour mobility and social and cultural inclusion across the border 

Note that actions have to fall under not more than one of the three thematic priorities. In addition, the following elements have to be incorporated into the action: joint development and joint implementation of the action between applicants and co-applicants and cooperation in either or both the staffing or the financing (see Section 2.1.4).

Financial allocation provided by the contracting authority

The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 2,890,000.00 € (EU contribution) (merging IPA allocations 2014 - amounting of 1,190,000.00 € and 2015 - amounting of 1,700,000.00 €).

The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.

Indicative allocation of funds by thematic Priority:

The financial allocation per thematic priority for this CfP is as follows:

  1. Encouraging tourism, culture and natural heritage: 1,123,921.00 
  2. Protecting the environment, promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk prevention and management: 963,526.00 
  3. Promoting employment, labour mobility and social and cultural inclusion across the border: 802,553.00 

Total: 2,890,000.00 

     

 

If the allocation indicated for a specific thematic priority cannot be used due to insufficient quality or number of proposals received, the Contracting Authority reserves the right to reallocate the remaining funds to (an)other thematic priority (s).

Size of grants

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

Thematic priority 1: Encouraging tourism, culture and natural heritage

minimum amount: EUR 100,000.00 (EU contribution)

maximum amount: EUR  500,000.00 (EU contribution)

Thematic priority 2: Protecting the environment, promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk prevention and management 

minimum amount: EUR 200,000.00 (EU contribution)

maximum amount: EUR  500,000.00 (EU contribution)

Thematic priority 3: Promoting employment, labour mobility and social and cultural inclusion across the border  

minimum amount: EUR 100,000.00 (EU contribution)

maximum amount: EUR  400,000.00 (EU contribution)

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

Minimum percentage: 50% of the total eligible costs of the action.

Maximum percentage: 85% of the total eligible costs of the action (see also section 2.1.5). 

The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the action and the amount requested from the Contracting Authority) must be financed from sources other than the European Union Budget or the European Development Fund.

 

Rules FOR thIS call for proposalS

 

These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of the actions financed under this call, in conformity with the Practical Guide, which is applicable to the present call (available on the Internet at this address http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en).

Eligibility criteria

There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:

the actors:

The 'lead applicant', i.e. the entity submitting the application form (2.1.1),

its co-applicant(s) (where it is not specified otherwise the lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) are hereinafter jointly referred as "applicant(s)") (2.1.1), 

and, if any, affiliated entity(ies) to the lead applicant and/or to a co-applicant(s). (2.1.2);

the actions:

Actions for which a grant may be awarded (2.1.4);

the costs:

types of cost that may be taken into account in setting the amount of the grant (2.1.5).

 

Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s))

Lead applicant

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

  • be a legal person and 
  • be non-profit-making and
  • be established in Montenegro and/or Albania and
  • be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary and
  • Belong to one of the following categories:
  • 1.    Public Bodies (local, regional and national);
  • 2.    Bodies governed by public law (such as those whose part of the income comes from providing public services);
  • 3.    Private non-profit making institutions/organizations;
  • 4.    Entities in education sector such as universities, schools, research and development institutions.

 (2)    Potential applicants may not participate in calls for proposals or be awarded grants if they are in any of the situations listed in section 2.3.3 of the Practical Guide;

 

In Part A, section 3 of the grant application form (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies) are not in any of these situations.

The lead applicant must act with co-applicant(s) as specified hereafter.

Each action must involve at least two beneficiaries out of which one must be established in Montenegro and one in Albania. The total number of beneficiaries must not exceed six (6), ensuring a balanced representations of beneficiaries from both countries.

If awarded the grant contract, the lead applicant will become the beneficiary identified as the Coordinator in Annex E3h1 (Special Conditions). The Coordinator is the main interlocutor of the Contracting Authority. It represents and acts on behalf of any other co-beneficiary (if any) and coordinates the design and implementation of the action.

The lead beneficiary shall assume responsibility for ensuring the financial implementation of the entire operation, monitor that the operation is implemented in accordance with the conditions set out in the contract and lay down the arrangements with other beneficiaries to guarantee the sound financial management of the funds allocated to the operation, including the arrangements for recovering amounts unduly paid. 

 

Co-applicant(s)

Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant. 

Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant himself.

Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Part B section 4 of the grant application form.

If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s) (if any) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the Coordinator) 

 

Affiliated entities

Affiliated entity(ies)

The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies).

Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):

Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.

This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:

(i)     Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:

Entities affiliated to an applicant may hence be:

  • Entities directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by the applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;
  • Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;
  • Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).

(ii)     Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.

The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.

 

By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so-called “sole applicants” or “sole beneficiaries”.  A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members.

What is not an affiliated entity? 

 

The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:

 

  1. Entities that have entered into a (procurement) contract or subcontract with an applicant, act as concessionaires or delegatees for public services for an applicant,
  2. Entities that receive financial support from the applicant,
  3. Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of understanding or share some assets,
  4. Entities that have signed a consortium agreement under the grant contract (unless this consortium agreement leads to the creation of a "sole applicant" as described above).

How to verify the existence of the required link with an applicant?

 

The affiliation resulting from control may in particular be proved on the basis of the consolidated accounts of the group of entities the applicant and its proposed affiliates belong to.

 

The affiliation resulting from membership may in particular be proved on the basis of the statutes or equivalent act establishing the entity (network, federation, association) which the applicant constitutes or in which the applicant participates.

If the applicants are awarded a grant contract, their affiliated entity(ies) will not become beneficiary(ies) of the action and signatory(ies) of the grant contract. However, they will participate in the design and  in the implementation of the action and the costs they incur (including those incurred for implementation contracts and financial support to third parties) may be accepted as eligible costs, provided they comply with all the relevant rules already applicable to the beneficiary(ies) under the grant contract.

Affiliated entity(ies) must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant and the co-applicant(s).  They must sign the affiliated entity(ies) statement in Part B section 5 of the grant application form.]

Associates and Contractors

The following entities are not applicants nor affiliated entities and do not have to sign the "mandate for co-applicant(s)" or "affiliated entities' statement":

  • Associates

Other organisations or individuals may be involved in the action. Such associates play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs. Associates do not have to meet the eligibility criteria referred to in section 2.1.1. Associates must be mentioned in Part B section 6 — ‘Associates participating in the action’ — of the grant application form. 

  • Contractors

The beneficiaries and their affiliated entities are permitted to award contracts. Associates or affiliated entity(ies) cannot be also contractors in the project. Contractors are subject to the procurement rules set out in Annex IV to the standard grant contract.

Eligible actions: actions for which an application may be made

Definition: An action is composed of a set of activities.

The action must involve cross-border cooperation in order to be eligible, i.e. it shall foresee cooperation of the cross-border lead applicant and its co-applicants in the development and implementation of the action:

Joint development: applicants and co-applicants cooperate in designing the action, filling in a joint Grant Application Form and drawing up the respective budget; 

Joint implementation: grant beneficiaries coordinate their activities across the border.

 

In addition, they shall cooperate in either the staffing or the financing of the action or both.

 

Joint financing: activities are financed by both applicants’ and co-applicants’;

Joint staffing: staff on both sides of the border act as one project team;

 

Duration

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

Sectors or themes

Each proposed Action has to fall under not more than one of the three thematic priorities described below:

THEMATIC PRIORITY 1:  Encouraging tourism and cultural and natural heritage;

This priority will promote joint cross-border initiatives and actions aiming to support economic development with focus on tourism (but not exclusively), as it is considered to have a great potential for the programme area as a whole. In addition, cultural and other social exchanges will be supported. This priority of the programme will contribute to improving growth and living standards by providing opportunities for wider partnerships and exchanges of common interest across the border to develop tourism and valorise cultural heritage of the area. Actions to be implemented are expected to affect improvement of quality of services, establishment of networks and partnerships between local government and local stakeholders to promote joint tourist sites, preserve cultural heritage, encourage entrepreneurship and competition in the tourism sector, promote joint touristic offers, develop and promote new brands of local products, promote the area’s image to potential investors and visitors, etc. The expected results will have an impact on promoting tourism entrepreneurial activities across the border and enhancing exchanges of cultural, historical values, and cultural diversity as a unique shared feature of areas on each side of the border.

 

THEMATIC PRIORITY 2:  Protecting the environment, promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk prevention and management 

With the overall development of the programme area largely relying on natural resources, the environmental protection and preservation of natural resources is crucial for the sustainable development. The action under this priority will support cooperation on environmental protection such as the Shkodra/Skadar Lake and its surroundings, establishing cross-border synergies for the management of the protected areas located in the border area, support to reduction of pollution and integrated protection, and management of sensitive ecosystems, and good use of surface waters, integrated environmental monitoring systems and data bases, actions designed to encourage environmentally-friendly economic activities, etc, with the aim of further valorisation of natural resources in the view of economic development.

THEMATIC PRIORITY 3:  Promoting employment, labour mobility and social and cultural inclusion    across the border

This priority will aim to address the issues related to high unemployment rates especially among young population and women, low integration of cross border labour markets, and labour mobility. Actions under this priority will aim to promote better linkage of vocational training with labour market demands so as to increase the skills of labour force and enhance employment opportunities, labour intensive economic initiatives with a cross border outreach, cooperation between education institutions and the private sector to improve matching of training curricula with labour market requests, development of continued e-learning to improve skills of employed and unemployed people to increase their chances on the labour market, support utilising ICT technologies to networking and cross-border work force mobility.

 

Location

Actions must take place in the Programme area of one or both participating countries, Montenegro and Albania, but must provide clearly identified cross-border impacts and benefits.

The programme area, as defined in the Operational Programme is:

In Montenegro the Programme area includes the following municipalities: Andrijevica, Berane, Plav, Gusinje, Petnjica, Rožaje, Podgorica, Cetinje, Danilovgrad, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj.

 

In Albania the Programme area includes the regions of Shkodra and Lezha and the district of Tropoja.

 

Actions must have as final beneficiaries the population of the programme area and their activities must take place in this area. 

 

Types of action

In general, the eligible actions/projects will be those which will:

  • encourage tourism and cultural and natural heritage;
  • encourage and improve joint protection of the environment, promote climate change adaptation and mitigation and prevent and manage environmental risks;
  • promote employment, labour mobility and social and cultural inclusion across the border;
  • support links between relevant institutions/organizations from both side of the border;
  • have partners from both sides of the border.

The actions should clearly relate to the objectives of this Call for Proposals (as stated in section 1.2 above) in accordance to the specific thematic priority for which the action is designed. 

Attention should be paid to cross-cutting issues, specifically those issues that contribute to promotion of gender equality, human rights and democracy and respect for the rule of law. Actions should demonstrate an inclusive approach toward specific groups, for example but not exclusively: children, elderly, disabled, women, minorities etc. The implementation of the action should be based on the principles of equal treatment in order to avoid discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, nationality, age, sexual orientation, language or religion. Please note that the attention paid by the applicants to cross-cutting issues will be scored in the evaluation grid (see question 1.4 of the grid below in section 2.3 (1)). 

Types of action are more specifically determined by the types of activity listed below.

The following types of action are ineligible:

  1. actions concerned only or mainly with individual sponsorships for participation in workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses;
  2. actions concerned only or mainly with individual scholarships for studies or training courses;
  3. actions without cross-border impact;
  4. actions linked to political parties;
  5. actions with provisions for financing the usual (routine) activities of national, regional and local operators, related mainly to covering running costs;
  6. actions confined to charitable donations;
  7. actions related to:
  • the tobacco industry (CAEN code 16);
  • production of alcoholic distilled beverages (CAEN code 1591);
  • arms and munitions (CAEN code 296)

 

Types of activity

The following list of possible types of activities is indicative only and not exhaustive. Appropriate innovative activities that are not mentioned below may also be considered for support:

 

THEMATIC PRIORITY 1: Encouraging tourism and cultural and natural heritage;

Types of activities eligible under this thematic priority are the following:

Encourage entrepreneurship and competitiveness in the tourism sector;

Diversification of touristic offer, upgrade and promote less known tourism attractions in the program area;

Increase capacities and introducing new promotion techniques and approaches, including mapping, use of ICT, multi-media, research, etc.;

Joint vocational training related initiatives targeting skills related to a competitive touristic offer and market demands;

Small scale infrastructure works and provision of equipment to improve standards of tourist offer and restore or preserve the historical heritage;

Awareness raising campaigns and educational programmes and curricula targeting tourism and best utilisation of its potentials in the area;

Activities to promote the cultural and natural touristic potential of the programme area; 

Joint activities to promote, but also innovate cultural values and natural heritage through festivals, fairs, competitions;

Targeted trainings to increase the quality of services in cultural and natural sites; 

Actions to increase awareness of people on the importance of cultural and natural heritage, particularly at schools;

Encourage local government – CSO partnership.

 

THEMATIC PRIORITY 2:  Protecting the environment, promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk prevention and management 

Types of activities eligible under this thematic priority are the following:

Actions designed to deal jointly with environment protection and promotion in the programme area, 

Support to integrated protection and management of sensitive ecosystems giving priority to protected areas, giving priority to the protection of programme area;

Actions designed to encourage environmentally-friendly economic activities in the programme area;

Actions designed to prevent and manage natural disasters and man-made environmental hazards affecting the programme area;

Support to awareness raising of the population about the importance, protection and promotion of the environmental resources of the programme area;

Encourage local government – CSO partnership.

 

THEMATIC PRIORITY 3:  Promoting employment, labour mobility and social and cultural inclusion    across the border

Types of activities eligible under this thematic priority are the following:

Support cooperation among and between (vocational) education institutions and the private sector to improve the matching of training curricula for vulnerable groups with the labour market demand, including e-learning programmes and the use of ICT;

Supporting initiatives and campaigns for self-employment, especially in the rural areas, including support to start up business for vulnerable groups;

Support strengthening capacities of labour promotion institutions, sharing of experiences and best models to increase employability (especially of vulnerable groups) within and across the borders;

Actions aiming at creation of job opportunities and skills for disadvantaged groups of the society; 

Research work to promote employment, labour mobility and social inclusion;

Encourage local government – CSO partnership on social inclusion (local actions plans on disadvantaged groups, increase capacities of local government to manage social programmes and provide for the sustainability of actions);

Organise youth exchange programmes, for example through school exchange programmes or other NGO initiatives.

 

Financial support to third parties 

Applicants may not propose financial support to third parties.

Visibility

The applicants must take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the European Union has financed or co-financed the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union must incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.

Applicants must comply with the objectives and priorities and guarantee the visibility of the EU financing (see the Communication and Visibility Manual for EU external actions specified and published by the European Commission at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/funding/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu-external-actions_en).

Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities

The lead applicant may submit more than 1 application under this call for proposals, but not more than 2 applications.

The lead applicant may not be awarded more than 1 grant under this call for proposals.

The lead applicant may be a co-applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.

A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be the co-applicant or affiliated entity in more than 1 application under this call for proposals.

A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be awarded more than 1 grant under this call for proposals.

Eligibility of costs: costs that can be included 

Only ‘eligible costs’ can be covered by a grant. The categories of costs that are eligible and non-eligible are indicated below. The budget is both a cost estimate and an overall ceiling for ‘eligible costs’. 

The reimbursement of eligible costs may be based on any or a combination of the following forms:

  • actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies)
  • one or more simplified cost options.

Simplified cost options may take the form of:

  • unit costs: covering all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by reference to an amount per unit.
  • lump sums: covering in global terms all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance.
  • flat-rate financing: covering specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by applying a percentage fixed ex ante.

The amounts or rates have to be based on estimates using objective data such as statistical data or any other objective means or with reference to certified or auditable historical data of the applicants or the affiliated entity(ies). The methods used to determine the amounts or rates of unit costs, lump sums or flat-rates must comply with the criteria established in Annex K, and especially ensure that the costs correspond fairly to the actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies), are in line with their accounting practices, no profit is made and the costs are not already covered by other sources of funding (no double funding). Refer to Annex K for directions and a checklist of controls to assess the minimum necessary conditions that provide reasonable assurance for the acceptance of the proposed amounts.

Applicants proposing this form of reimbursement, must clearly indicate in worksheet no.1 of Annex B, each heading/item  of eligible costs concerned by this type of financing, i.e. add the reference in capital letters to "UNIT COST" (per month/flight etc), "LUMPSUM", "FLAT RATE" in the Unit column. (see example in Annex K)

Additionally in Annex B, in the second column of worksheet no.2, "Justification of the estimated costs" per each of the corresponding budget item or heading applicants must:

describe the information and methods used to establish the amounts of unit costs, lump sums and/or flat-rates, to which costs they refer, etc.

clearly explain the formulas for calculation of the final eligible amount

identify the beneficiary who will use the simplified cost option (in case of affiliated entity, specify first the beneficiary), in order to verify the maximum amount per each beneficiary (which includes if applicable simplified cost options of its affiliated entity(ies))

At contracting phase, the Contracting Authority decides whether to accept the proposed amounts or rates on the basis of the provisional budget submitted by the applicants, by analysing factual data of grants carried out by the applicants or of similar actions and by performing checks established by Annex K. 

The total amount of financing on the basis of simplified cost options that can be authorised by the Contracting Authority for any of the applicants individually (including simplified cost options proposed by their own affiliated entities) cannot exceed EUR 60 000 (the indirect costs are not taken into account).

Recommendations to award a grant are always subject to the condition that the checks preceding the signing of the grant contract do not reveal problems requiring changes to the budget (such as arithmetical errors, inaccuracies, unrealistic costs and ineligible costs). The checks may give rise to requests for clarification and may lead the Contracting Authority to impose modifications or reductions to address such mistakes or inaccuracies. It is not possible to increase the grant or the percentage of EU co-financing as a result of these corrections.

It is therefore in the applicants' interest to provide a realistic and cost-effective budget.

The simplified cost option may also take the form of an apportionment of Field Office's costs.

Field Office means a local infrastructure set up in one of the countries where the action is implemented or a nearby country. (Where the action is implemented in several third countries there can be more than one Field Office). That may consist of costs for local office as well as human resources. 

A Field Office may be exclusively dedicated to the action financed (or co-financed) by the EU or may be used for other projects implemented in the partner country. When the Field Office is used for other projects, only the portion of capitalised and operating costs which corresponds to the duration of the action and the rate of actual use of the field office for the purpose of the action may be declared as eligible direct costs.

The portion of costs attributable to the action can be declared as actual costs or determined by the beneficiary(ies) on the basis of a simplified allocation method (apportionment).

The method of allocation has to be:

1. Compliant with the beneficiary's usual accounting and management practices and applied in a consistent manner regardless of the source of funding and 

2. Based on an objective, fair and reliable allocation keys. (Please refer to Annex K to have examples of acceptable allocation keys).

A description prepared by the entity of the allocation method used to determine Field Office's costs in accordance with the entity's usual cost accounting and management practices and explaining how the method satisfy condition 1 and 2 indicated above, has to be presented in a separate sheet and annexed to the Budget.

The method will be assessed and accepted by the evaluation committee and the Contracting Authority at contracting phase. The applicant is invited to submit (where relevant) the list of contracts to which the methodology proposed had been already applied and for which proper application was confirmed by an expenditure verification. 

At the time of carrying out the expenditure verifications, the auditors will check if the costs reported are compliant with the method described by the beneficiary(ies) and accepted by the Contracting Authority.

Adequate record and documentation must be kept by the beneficiary(ies) to prove the compliance of the simplified allocation method used with the conditions set out above. Upon request of the beneficiary(ies), this compliance can be assessed and approved ex-ante by an independent external auditor. In such a case, the simplified allocation method will be automatically accepted by the evaluation committee and it will not be challenged ex post.

When costs are declared on the basis of such allocation method the amount charged to the action is to be indicated in the column "TOTAL COSTS" and the mention "APPORTIONMENT" is to be indicated in the column "units" (under budget heading 1 (Human resources) and 4 (Local Office) of the Budget).

Eligible direct costs

To be eligible under this call for proposals, costs must comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the General Conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines).

Salary costs of the personnel of national administrations may be eligible to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority would not carry out if the action were not undertaken.

Contingency reserve

The budget may include a contingency reserve not exceeding 5 % of the estimated direct eligible costs. It can only be used with the prior written authorisation of the Contracting Authority.

Eligible indirect costs

The indirect costs incurred in carrying out the action may be eligible for flat-rate funding, but the total must not exceed 7 % of the estimated total eligible direct costs. Indirect costs are eligible provided that they do not include costs assigned to another budget heading in the standard grant contract. The lead applicant may be asked to justify the percentage requested before the grant contract is signed. However, once the flat rate has been fixed in the Special Conditions of the grant contract, no supporting documents need to be provided.

If any of the applicants or affiliated entity(ies) is in receipt of an operating grant financed by the EU, it may not claim indirect costs on its incurred costs within the proposed budget for the action.

Contributions in kind

Contributions in kind mean the provision of goods or services to beneficiaries or affiliated entities free of charge by a third party. As contributions in kind do not involve any expenditure for beneficiaries or affiliated entities, they are not eligible costs. 

Contributions in kind may not be treated as co-financing.

However, if the description of the action as proposed includes contributions in kind, the contributions have to be made.

Ineligible costs

The following costs are not eligible:

  1. debts and debt service charges (interest);
  2. provisions for losses or potential future liabilities;
  3. costs declared by the beneficiary(ies) and financed by another action or work programme receiving a European Union (including through EDF) grant;
  4. purchases of land or buildings, except where necessary for the direct implementation of the action, in which case ownership must be transferred in accordance with Article 7.5 of the General Conditions of the standard grant contract, at the latest at the end of the action; specifically the purchase of land not built on and land built on in the amount of more than 10% of the total eligible expenditure of the operation if it is justified by the nature of the action;
  5. currency exchange losses;
  6. credit to third parties
  7. value added tax (VAT) when it is recoverable under national VAT legislation;
  8. the decommissioning and the construction of nuclear power stations;
  9. investment to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from activities falling under Annex I to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 13 October 2003;
  10. the manufacturing, processing and marketing of tobacco and tobacco products;
  11. undertakings in difficulties as defined under Union State aid rules;
  12. investment in airport infrastructure unless related to environmental protection or accompanied by investment necessary to mitigate or reduce its negative environmental impact;
  13. fines, financial penalties and expenses of litigation;

In addition, the following costs are not eligible either:

  1. consultant fees between the beneficiaries for services or work carried out within the project;
  2. remuneration of any kind for staff of any of the beneficiaries being hired as external experts or freelance consultants;
  3. taxes, customs and import duties and levies and/or charges having equivalent effect.

How to apply and the procedures to follow

Information in PADOR will not be drawn upon in the present call. 

Concept note content  

Applications must be submitted in accordance with the concept note instructions in the grant application form annexed to these guidelines (Annex A). 

Applicants must apply in English.

Please note that:

  1. In the concept note, lead applicants must only provide an estimate of the requested EU contribution as well as an indicative percentage of that contribution in relation to the eligible costs of the action. A detailed budget is to be submitted only by the lead applicants invited to submit a full application in the second phase. 
  2. The elements outlined in the concept note may not be modified in the full application. The EU contribution may not vary from the initial estimate by more than 20 %. Lead applicants are free to adapt the percentage of co-financing required within the minimum and maximum amount and percentages of co-financing, as laid down in these guidelines in section 1.3. The lead applicant may replace a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In this case the new co-applicant/affiliated entity must be of a similar nature as the initial one. The lead applicant may adjust the duration of the action if unforeseen circumstances outside the scope of the applicants have taken place following the submission of the concept note and require such adaptation (risk of action not being carried out). In such cases the duration must remain within the limits imposed by the guidelines for applicants. An explanation/justification of the relevant replacement/adjustment shall be included in an accompanying letter or email.
    Own contributions by the applicants can be replaced by other donors' contributions at any time.
  3. Only the concept note form will be evaluated. It is therefore of utmost importance that this document contains ALL relevant information concerning the action. No additional annexes should be sent.

 

Any error or major discrepancy related to the concept note instructions may lead to the rejection of the concept note.

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

Hand-written concept notes will not be accepted.

Where and how to send concept notes

The concept note together with its relating checklist and declaration by the lead applicant (to be found in Part A sections 2 and 3 of the grant application form) must be submitted in one original and 3 copies in A4 size, each bound. 

An electronic version (CD-Rom) of the concept note must also be submitted. A CD-Rom with the concept note in electronic format will be included, along with the paper version, in a sealed envelope as described below. The electronic file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed.

Where lead applicants send several different concept notes each one must be sent separately.

The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the number and title of the thematic priority, the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’ and equivalent in Montenegrin language („Ne otvarati prije sastanka za otvaranje prijedloga projekata“).

Concept notes must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) to the address below:

Postal address:

Ministry of Finance

Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU)

Stanka Dragojevića 2,

81000 Podgorica, Montenegro

 

         Address for hand delivery or by private courier service:

Ministry of Finance

Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU)

Stanka Dragojevića 2, room 4,

81000 Podgorica

 

Please note that opening hours of the Ministry of Finance – The Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU) is 9:00–17:00. 

Concept notes sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected. 

Lead applicants must verify that their concept note is complete using the checklist for concept note (Part A section 2 of the grant application form). Incomplete concept notes may be rejected.

Deadline for submission of concept notes 

The deadline for the submission of concept notes is 13th September 2016, as evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of hand-deliveries, the deadline for receipt is at 16:00h local time, as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt. Any concept note submitted after the deadline will be rejected.

However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may reject any concept note sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the concept note evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2) 

Further information about concept notes

 

Notice on information session on this Call for Proposals will be published after publishing call for proposals on: 

 

the EuropeAid website:

 

https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome

 

the website of the Contracting Authority:

 

the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro - Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU) (http://www.mif.gov.me/en/sections/CFCU_Tenders).

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

         E-mail address: cfpmne.al@mif.gov.me 

         Fax: + 382 (0) 20 230 643

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

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

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

No individual replies will be given to questions. 

All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure will be published on the:

 EuropeAid website:

 https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome and 

the website of the Contracting Authority: 

the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro - Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU) (http://www.mif.gov.me/en/sections/CFCU_Tenders).

The link to the website of the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro - Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU) will be given at the following websites:

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro (http://www.mvpei.gov.me ) and 

the Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Albania (http://www.integrimi.gov.al ), as the need arises.

It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned websites regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.

Full applications 

Lead applicants invited to submit a full application following pre-selection of their concept note must do so using Part B of the grant application form annexed to these guidelines (Annex A). Lead applicants should then keep strictly to the format of the grant application form and fill in the paragraphs and pages in order.

The elements outlined in the concept note cannot be modified by the lead applicant in the full application. The EU contribution may not vary from the initial estimate by more than 20 %, although lead applicants are free to adapt the percentage of co-financing required within the minimum and maximum amount and percentages of co-financing, as laid down in these guidelines under section 1.3. The lead applicant may replace a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In this case the new co-applicant/affiliated entity must be of a similar nature as the initial one. The lead applicant may adjust the duration of the action if unforeseen circumstances outside the scope of the applicants have taken place following the submission of the concept note and require such adaptation (risk of action not being carried out). In such cases the duration must remain within the limits imposed by the guidelines for applicants. An explanation/justification of the relevant replacement/adjustment shall be included in an accompanying letter or email.

Lead applicants must submit their full applications in the same language as their concept notes.

Please complete the full application form carefully and as clearly as possible so that it can be assessed properly. 

Any error related to the points listed in the checklist (Part B, section 7 of the grant application form) or any major inconsistency in the full application (e.g. if the amounts in the budget worksheets are inconsistent) may lead to the rejection of the application.

Clarifications will only be requested when information provided is unclear and thus prevents the Contracting Authority from conducting an objective assessment.

Hand-written applications will not be accepted.

Please note that only the full application form and the published annexes which have to be filled in (budget, logical framework) will be transmitted to the evaluators (and assessors, if used). It is therefore of utmost importance that these documents contain ALL the relevant information concerning the action. No additional annexes should be sent.

Where and how to send full applications 

Full applications (i.e. the full application form, the budget, the logical framework and the declaration by the lead applicant) must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) to the address below:

Postal address:

Ministry of Finance

Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU)

Stanka Dragojevića 2,

81000 Podgorica, Montenegro

 

         Address for hand delivery or by private courier service:

Ministry of Finance

Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU)

Stanka Dragojevića 2, room 4,

81000 Podgorica

 

Applications sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected.

Applications must be submitted in one original and 3 copies in A4 size, each bound. 

The full application form, budget and logical framework must also be supplied in electronic format (CD-Rom) in a separate and single file (i.e. the full application must not be split into several different files). The electronic file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version. 

The checklist (section 7 of Part B of the grant application form) and the declaration by the lead applicant (section 8 of Part B of the grant application form) must be stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope

Where lead applicants send several different applications each one must be sent separately.

The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the number and title of the thematic priority, the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’ and equivalent in Montenegrin language („Ne otvarati prije sastanka za otvaranje prijedloga projekata“).

Applicants must verify that their application is complete using the checklist (section 7 of Part B of the grant application form). Incomplete applications may be rejected.

Deadline for submission of full applications 

The deadline for the submission of full applications will be indicated in the letter sent to the lead applicants whose application has been pre-selected.

However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may reject any full application sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the full application evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2). 

Further information about full applications 

Questions may be sent by e-mail [or by fax] no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of full applications to the addresses listed below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:

E-mail address: cfpmne.al@mif.gov.me 

Fax: + 382 (0) 20 230 643

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

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

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

No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure, will be published on:

the EuropeAid website:

https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome and 

the website of the Contracting Authority: 

the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro - Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU) (http://www.mif.gov.me/en/sections/CFCU_Tenders).

The link to the website of the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro - Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU) will be given at the following websites:

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro (http://www.mvpei.gov.me ) and 

the Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Albania (http://www.integrimi.gov.al ), as the need arises.

It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.

Evaluation and selection of applications

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

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



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