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Operating grants 2019 to Framework Partners active in the area of disability - VP/2018/015
Deadline: 20 Sep 2018   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono EC - Justice - Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme

 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Disadvantaged People
 Minority groups
 Education and Training
 Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme
 Social and Welfare
 Human Rights


1.1. Programme/Legal base

This Call for Proposals is published under the Regulation (EU) No 1381/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme for the period 2014 to 2020 ('REC Programme')1.

The annual work programme for 20182 was published on 20/12/2017

1.2. Policy and economic background

Around 110 million people aged 16 and over have a disability that ranges from mild to severe. The share of women with disabilities in the overall population is higher than the share of men (27.5% vs 23%)3. These numbers are set to rise as the EU population grows progressively older: it is expected that, by 2020, approximately 120 million Europeans will have a disability. Many people with disabilities are all too often prevented from fully participating in society and in the economy because of physical or other types of barriers, and because of discrimination.

The European Commission promotes the active inclusion and full participation of disabled people in society, and adopted in 2010 the European Disability Strategy 2010-20204. This Strategy identifies actions at EU level to complement and support national efforts in eight priority areas: (1) Accessibility, (2) Participation, (3) Equality, (4) Employment, (5) Education and Training, (6) Social protection, (7) Health, and (8) External Action. It is underpinned by awareness-raising, financial support, statistics and data collection.

The Disability Strategy aims to support the full and effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)5 by the EU and its Member States. The EU became a party to the UNCRPD in 2011. The purpose of the UNCRPD is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.

The Commission published the first report on the implementation of the UNCRPD by the EU in June 2014. In 2015 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reviewed how the EU had been implementing its obligations, and issued concluding observations with recommendations ("the concluding observations").6 In January 2017 the Commission reported to the UN on the progress achieved by the EU on three main recommendations: the withdrawal of the Commission of the EU monitoring Framework, the adoption of the European Accessibility Act and the update of the EU Declaration of Competences under the UNCRPD.


In February 2017 the European Commission published a Progress Report on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. The Report gave an overview of what has been achieved since 2010 and highlighted the key ongoing actions to be completed. The Report included in annex a table monitoring the implementation of the Strategy, a copy of the concluding observations of the UN committee, a summary of the contributions to the Report received from other EU institutions and from civil society, and a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of EU legal acts with an impact on disability matters.

Finally, the Progress Report also included the results of the public consultation on the review of the Strategy.7 The consultation confirmed that despite progress achieved in the eight priority areas of the Strategy, the situation of people with disabilities remains challenging in terms of participation in everyday activities, rights, employment, accessibility, discrimination and mobility within the EU.

In June 2016, the European Parliament published a report on the implementation of the UNCRPD, with a particular focus on the matters highlighted in the concluding observations8. Moreover, in 2017 the Parliament prepared a report on the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 to give detailed insight into the gaps between the Progress Report and the concluding observations.

The European Pillar of Social Rights, jointly proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on 17 November 2017, reflects the unanimous support by all EU institutions and the Member States on 20 principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. The principles of the Social Pillar range from inclusion of people with disabilities to equal opportunities, quality and inclusive education, work-life balance, support to children, long-term care or access to essential services.

The Commission is starting to reflect on the potential follow-up initiatives after 2020. To that end an evaluation of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is under preparation.

1.3. Main Purposes

This call for proposals aims to provide specific operating grants for the year 2019 to European networks having signed a Framework Partnership Agreements 2018-2021 with the European Commission.

The 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements established cooperation between the European Commission and European networks whose statutory aim is to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. The agreements set out the framework conditions governing potential specific operating grants, and include for each partner a 4- year strategic plan. The Framework Partnership Agreements were signed in 2017 following the call for proposals VP/2017/014.

The specific operating grants will enhance the capacities of the networks to contribute actively to the development and implementation of all relevant policies. The grants will fund operating costs and those activities of the networks which have EU added value and which contribute to the implementation of the objectives of the REC Programme for the year 2019.



2.1. Objectives – Priorities

The objective of the Call is to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, to ensure that people with disabilities can fully enjoy their rights.

More specifically, the activities of the applicant should contribute to one or more of the following priorities:

  •   supporting the implementation of the priorities of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, taking into account both the Progress Report on its implementation and the main results of the public consultation as mentioned above;

  •   contributing to the evaluation process of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020

  •   contributing to the reflection on the post-2020 European disability strategic


  •   contributing to the implementation of the UNCRPD and promoting the involvement of the national member organisations in the implementation;

  •   supporting the human rights model of disability, including in disability assessment and determination as well as in social protection matters;

  •   supporting and contributing to implement the UN Concluding Observations on the report on the implementation of the UNCRPD by the EU;

  •   supporting the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy targets on employment, poverty and education;

  •   supporting the development, implementation and monitoring of EU and national policies and legislation in the area of disability, including the development of statistical data;

  •   contributing to mainstreaming different aspects of disability matters in EU and national policies and legislation, particularly in the areas of accessibility, employment, education, social inclusion, social protection, health – including mental health -, human rights, international cooperation and development to make sure that the rights and needs of persons with disabilities are properly addressed;

  •   supporting the European Pillar of Social Rights, including contributing to its implementation, in particular the principle 17 on disability, and mainstreaming disability in all its relevant areas;

  •   contributing to improving the accessibility of products and services, including by supporting the work on the European Accessibility Act and other EU accessibility legislation;

  •   supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably those with a direct impact for people with disabilities;

  •   supporting and contributing to EU youth initiatives targeted at young people, including those with disabilities, to encourage inclusive education and training, access to employment, participation and independent living, and including new initiatives such as the European Solidarity Corps;

  •   contributing to the development of specific policies relevant to disability in the area of independent living, in particular as regards the transition from institutional to community-based care.

    Finally, applicants are also expected to contribute to a number of specific initiatives where their role has a clear added value, such as:

  •   the annual Work Forum on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the EU and the Member States;

  •   the European Commission Conference on the European day of persons with disabilities in November/December;

  •   the Access City Award, the European Prize for making cities more accessible to people with disabilities and older people;

  •   the EU Disability Card project, its promotion and evaluation;

  •   the Commission's civil dialogue in relevant fields, and in particular the Annual

Convention for Inclusive Growth and the accompanying strategic dialogue meetings.

The proposed 2019 work programmes should be coherent with the four-year strategic plan 2018-2021 presented in the Framework Partnership Agreements, while being more developed and describing the implementation in more details. Adaptations due to changes in the overall context or unforeseeable organisational developments are possible and should be clearly indicated in the proposal, but the 2019 work programmes cannot contradict the 2018-2021 strategic plans.

2.2. Description of the activities to be funded / Type of actions

Applicants are expected to focus particularly on the following areas of activity:

  •   supporting the European Commission in implementing the above-mentioned priorities by providing analysis and data for critical or emerging issues, especially those where there is a knowledge-gap;

  •   providing input to European Commission's Public Consultations and drafting position papers in relevant EU policy areas.

  •   supporting national member organisations in their involvement in the implementation, at national level, of main political EU driven processes;

  •   equipping member organisations with the necessary skills and competences to promote the interests and rights of people with disabilities, in particular to enhance equality of opportunities for people with disabilities, namely in employment, and combat discrimination on the basis of disability;

 developing information and campaigning tools (websites, publications or other means) to inform about EU objectives, policies and actions in the disability field, increasing the network capacity and raising public awareness.

The types of activities which may be funded under this call for proposals include:

  •   analytical activities, such as the collection of data and statistics; the development of common methodologies and, where appropriate, indicators or benchmarks; studies, researches, analyses and surveys; evaluations; the elaboration and publication of guides, reports and educational material; workshops, seminars, experts' meetings and conferences;

  •   training activities, such as staff exchanges, workshops, seminars, train-the-trainer events and the development of online training tools or other training modules;

  •   mutual learning, cooperation, awareness-raising and dissemination activities, such as the identification of, and exchanges concerning, good practices, innovative approaches and experiences; the organisation of peer reviews and mutual learning; the organisation of conferences, seminars, media campaigns, including in the online media, information campaigns, including institutional communication on the political priorities of the Union as far as they relate to the objectives of the Programme; the compilation and publication of materials to disseminate information about the Programme and its results; the development, operation and maintenance of systems and tools using information and communication technologies;

  •   management activities to support the operations of the network as well as capacity building for its members.

    In order to ensure an inclusive perspective, beneficiaries shall encourage the participation of relevant target groups in actions financed by the Programme, and in particular of people with disabilities, their families and representative organisations.

2.3. Expected outputs/results

The European Commission supports an output-oriented approach, looking at the quality, relevance and sustainability of the results reached. The work plan should therefore clearly demonstrate the organisation's potential and capacity to generate concrete impacts in the objectives and priorities defined in 2.1.

Applicants are therefore advised to:

 clearly identify the main outputs and their contribution to European policy

processes, as well as to demonstrate the added value of their activities and their concrete contribution to policy development in the thematic areas identified by this call;

 describe their monitoring system and the way in which they use monitoring and external evaluations in order to assess, on the one hand, their overall performance and, on the other hand, the relevance and impact of their outputs.

 provide a clear description of the methodology demonstrating a result oriented approach aimed at contributing to the priorities identified by this call.

The documents, information, websites, meetings and other events organised in the framework of the work programme are expected to be accessible, and reasonable accommodation should be provided.



a) Publication of the call

July 2018

b) Deadline for questions and requests for clarification


c) Deadline for submitting proposals


Swim, Courier and Post : 24:00 Brussels' time (CET)

Hand deliveries 16:00 Brussels' time (CET)

d) Evaluation period (indicative)


e) Information to applicants (indicative)


f) Signature of the specific grant agreements (indicative)


g) Starting date of the action



3.1. Starting date and duration of the projects

The starting date of the action will be the starting date of the applicant's budgetary financial year.

Any expenditure incurred before the signature of the Specific Grant Agreement will be at the applicant’s risk. No expenditure can be incurred before the date of submission of the application, nor before the start of the beneficiary's budgetary year for operating grants.

The duration of the action to be covered by the 2019 operating grant should coincide with the budgetary (financial) year of the applicant (12 months).




4.1 Available Budget and Grant Amounts

The total budget earmarked for the EU co-financing of projects under this call is estimated 2,801,000.00 EUR.

The Commission expects to fund seven proposals.
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
The Commission reserves the right to increase the amount of the funds and distribute them
to proposals admitted in the reserve list, if available. This top-up is limited to 20% of the initial budget of the call.


4.2. Co-financing rate

Under this call for proposals, the EU grant may not exceed 80 % 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 sources other than the European Union budget11.



  •   Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submission referred to in section 3(b)

  •   Applications (meaning, the application form, including budget and description of the action including work plan) must be submitted using the electronic submission system available at, and by sending a signed, printed version of the complete application form by post or courier service (one original dossier and one copy; see section 11).

Failure to comply with the above requirements may lead to the rejection of the application.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their project proposal in English in order to facilitate the treatment of the proposals and speed up the evaluation process. It should be noted, however, that proposals submitted in any of the official languages of the EU will be accepted. In this case, applications should be accompanied by an executive summary in English (see section 13, checklist).

11 Letters of commitment are required from any third party providing financial contributions to the eligible costs of the action (see section 13, checklist, point 4).



6.1. Eligibility of the applicants

Proposals can only be submitted by organisations having signed a Framework Partnership Agreement with the European Commission following the 2017 Call for Proposals establishing four-year Framework Partnership Agreements for the period 2018-202113.

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 beneficiaries 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.17.2.2 of the Framework Partnership Agreement.

6.2. Eligible activities

a) Geographical Location

To be eligible, actions must be fully carried out in eligible participating REC countries:

  •   EU Member State,

  •   Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Activities taking place in other countries are therefore not eligible in this Call for proposals. However, where the Beneficiary can adequately justify that participation in such activities are fundamental for the implementation of its annual work programme and maximise its European added value, and where they contribute to achieving the objectives of the funding programme, related costs could be accepted as eligible provided that they are originated in a REC programme country, and subject to prior explicit approval by the Commission.

b) Types of activities
The grant will finance inter alia the activities indicated in section 2.2.

c) Core activities
The following activities are considered core activities and may not be subcontracted:

  •  Work Programme management


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:

  •   sponsorships/scholarships to individuals for their participation in workshops, seminars, conferences, congresses, training courses etc. (i.e. fees to attend an event) ;

  •   activities supporting individual political parties;

  •   legal actions before national or international courts regardless of their grounds or objectives;

  •   membership fees to other networks supported by EU grants.



7.1. Exclusion

Applicant must sign a declaration on their honour signed in their name, 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

7.2. Rejection from the call for proposals

The Commission shall not award a grant to an applicant who: a. is in an exclusion situation;

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

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

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



The proposals which fulfil the eligibility criteria will be assessed according to the following award criteria:

 Relevance and coherence (Max. 20 points) Particular attention will be paid to:

o the extent to which the proposed annual work programme addresses the priorities announced by the Commission

o the coherence with the organisation's 4 year Action plan annexed to the Framework Partnership Agreement

 Quality of the annual work programme, which must be clear, realistic and well detailed (Max. 30 points)


Particular attention will be paid to

o how the activities are presented, in particular if they are clear, linked to the priorities of the Call, and realistic

o how to activities will be implemented, including the distribution of the work among the network and its members, which should be efficient and balanced, and the time schedule

o the use of human resources, including the roles and responsibilities and the division of tasks within the team

o the evaluation and monitoring strategy, including measures to assess the success of the activities and the indicators to be used

 European added value of the annual work programme (Max. 10 points) Particular attention will be paid to:

o transnational impact, including transnational aspect of the activities and the outputs

o contribution to the elaboration and dissemination of best practices or their potential to create practical tools and solutions that address cross-border or Union-wide challenges

o contribution to the consistent and coherent implementation of Union law and policies and to wide public awareness about the rights deriving from it

o potential to improve cross-border cooperation and to voice stakeholders' concerns from different regions of the Union

 Expected results, dissemination, sustainability and long-term impact (Max. 30 points)

Particular attention will be paid to

o the relevance of the expected results to achieve the network's objectives for 2019, and in particular of the proposed contribution/recommendations to be addressed to policy makers and to stakeholders at European, national, regional and/or local level

o the existence of a clear, targeted and appropriate dissemination strategy, which will ensure that the results efficiently reach the target groups and/or the general public, that they are accessible and that they are optimally used

o the sustainability of the activities after the EU funding
o the expected short and long-term quantitative and qualitative impact of the

activities and outputs on:
 the target groups and/or the general public
 on policies, strategies or systems at European, national, regional

and/or local level

 Cost-effectiveness (Max. 10 points) Particular attention will be paid to

o financial feasibility of the proposed activities by means of a clear, detailed, realistic and reasonable budget, coherent with the 2019 annual work programme of the applicant.

Applications will be ranked according to the total score awarded. Taking into account the available budget, the proposals with the highest total scores will be recommended for award, on condition that:

  •   the total score reaches at least 70% of the maximum possible mark;

  •   the score for each criterion is at least 50% of the maximum possible mark for that criterion.


In the event of a grant being awarded by the Commission, a Specific Grant Agreement, drawn up in euros and detailing the conditions and level of funding, will be sent to the Partner.

The two copies of the original specific agreement shall be signed by the Partner and returned to the Commission immediately. The Commission will sign them last.

The Commission may have made relevant corrections and deletion of ineligible costs or activities in the Specific Grant Agreement sent to the applicant – therefore the applicant should carefully read the whole specific agreement before signing and returning the copies to the Commission.

The applicable model Specific Agreement is published on the Europa website under the relevant call: There is no alternative to these models in the context of this call. In specific cases, international agreements conditions may apply.

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



Details on financial provisions are laid out in the Financial Guidelines for Applicants and the model Grant Agreement, both published on the Europa website under the relevant call:

Payment of the grant will be made in two instalments: one pre-financing payment, and one final payment. The pre-financing payment will amount to 80% of the grant, contrary to the 70% indicated in the Financial Guidelines for Applicants.

Implementation contracts/subcontracting:

Where the implementation of the work programme 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 interests.



The procedure to submit proposals electronically is explained in point 14 of the "Financial Guidelines for Applicants". Before starting, please read carefully the SWIM user manual:

Once the application form is filled in, applicants must submit it both electronically and in hard copy, by the deadline set in section 3(c).

The SWIM electronic application form is available until midnight on the day of the submission deadline. Since the applicants must first submit the form electronically, and then print, sign and send it by post service or hand delivery by the submission deadline, it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the appropriate postal or courier services are locally available on the day of the deadline.

The hard copy of the proposal must be duly signed and sent in two copies (one marked “original” and 1 marked “copy”), including all documents listed in section 13, by the deadline set in section 3(c), either by registered post, express courier service or hand delivery.

Address for registered post or express courier service:

European Commission
CAD J-27 00/120
B-1049 Bruxelles - BELGIUM

Evidence of posting or express courier deposit slip should be kept as it could be requested by the European Commission in cases of doubt regarding the date of submission.

a) registered post evidence : postmark
b) express courier service evidence : deposit slip of express courier service

Hand-delivered proposals must be received by the European Commission by 4 p.m. of the date indicated in section 3 at the following address:

European Commission
Service central de réception du courrier
(NOT TO BE OPENED BY CENTRAL MAIL SERVICES) Call for proposals VP/2018/015 – DG EMPL.C3 Avenue du Bourget, 1
B-1140 Evere


At that time, the European Commission's Central Mail Service will provide a signed and dated proof of receipt, which should be conserved as evidence of delivery.

If an applicant submits more than one proposal, each proposal must be submitted separately.

Additional documents sent by post, by fax or by electronic mail after the deadlines mentioned above will not be considered for evaluation unless requested by the European Commission (see section 12).

The applicant's attention is also drawn to the fact that incomplete or unsigned forms, hand- written forms and those sent by fax or e-mail will not be accepted.




Contacts between the Commission and potential applicants can only take place in certain circumstances and under the following conditions only:

Before the final date for submission of proposals

Any requests for additional information must be made by e-mail only to the coordinates stated below.

The information contained in the present call document together with the Financial Guidelines for Applicants provides all the information you require to submit an application. Please read it carefully before doing so, paying particular attention to the priorities of the present call.

The Commission has no obligation to reply to requests for additional information received after the deadline for questions and clarifications set in Section 3(b).

Replies will be given no later than 5 days before the deadline for submission of proposals. To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the Commission will not give a prior opinion on the eligibility of applicants, an action or specific activities.

No individual replies to questions will be sent but all questions together with the answers and other important notices will be published (FAQ in EN) at regular intervals on the Europa website under the relevant call:

At the request of the applicant, the Commission may provide additional information solely for the purpose of clarifying the nature of the call.

All enquiries must be made by e-mail only to:
For any technical problems, please contact:


The Commission may, on its own initiative, inform of any, error, inaccuracy, omission or clerical error in the text of the call for proposals on the mentioned Europa website.

It is therefore advisable to consult this website regularly in order to be informed of updates and of the questions and answers published. It is the applicant's responsibility to check for updates and modifications regularly during the submission period.

After the deadline for submission of proposals

No modification to the proposal is allowed once the deadline for submission has elapsed.

If clarification is requested or if obvious clerical errors in the proposal need to be corrected, the Commission may contact the applicant by email provided the terms of the proposal are not modified as a result.

It is the applicant's responsibility to provide a valid e-mail address and contact details and to check this e-mail address regularly. In case of any change of contact details, please send an e-mail with the application VP reference and the new contact details to (empl-vp-2018-

Applicants will be informed in writing about the results of the selection process. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the reasons for rejection. No information regarding the award procedure will be disclosed until the notification letters have been sent to the beneficiaries.



13.1. Instructions for the presentation of the application

The application comprises an application form including the budget, a description of the action and work plan plus a series of other required documents (see section 13.2).

The description of the action and work plan must be written using the template available in SWIM. All the information related to the description of the action and the work plan must be presented in one single document. The budget must be presented using the application form in SWIM.

In case of subcontracting any tasks comprising part of the action (see the Financial Guidelines), the description of the action must provide details on the tasks to be subcontracted and the reasons for doing so and these tasks must be clearly identified in the budget. Core tasks as defined in section 6.2(c) of the call cannot be subcontracted.

13.2. Required documents

The table in annex includes the documents that should be provided, including the documents mentioned in 13.1. Please note that documents are necessary for the admissibility (see section 5) It also indicates where originals are required. We recommend that applicants use the table as a checklist in order to verify compliance with all requirements.

While some information must be supplied using the templates available in the SWIM, other documents may need to be completed and/or attached electronically, usually either administrative documents or free format text descriptions. The SWIM application indicates in each section where SWIM templates should be used as well as which and where free format documents can be uploaded electronically.

Regarding the compilation of the application file, it is recommended to:

  1. 1)  follow the order of documents as listed in the checklist (and attach a ticked checklist as below to the proposal);

  2. 2)  print the documents double-sided;

  3. 3)  use 2-hole folders (do not bind or glue; stapling is acceptable).

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