Interreg-IPA CBC Bulgaria-the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia logo

Second Call for proposals of the Interreg-IPA Cross-border Cooperation Bulgaria-the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Deadline: 11 May 2018   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono Interreg-IPA CBC Bulgaria-the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Environment
 Sustainable Tourism
 Tourism
 Cultural heritage
 Interregional cooperation
 Business Development
 INTERREG

Preface

These Application’s Package for the Second Call for Proposals under the Interreg – IPA Cross- border Cooperation Programme Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2014-2020 include the following integral parts, which must be considered in their entirety by all potential Applicants:

  •   Guidelines for Applicants for the Second Call for Proposals;

  •   Attachments - contain important information and all Applicants must take them

    into consideration:

    •   Attachment 1 - Assessment of project proposals;

    •   Attachment 2 - Fulfilment of Programme Indicators and Ranking of Project

      Proposals;

    •   Attachment 3 - Complaint procedure;

    •   Attachment 4 - State aid and de minimis provisions;

    •   Attachment 5 - Instruction for electronic submission of project proposals.

  •   Application Form - to be filled in by the project partnership;

  •   Annexes (A1-A3) to the Application form - contain templates of all declarations

    that must be submitted by the project partners together with the project proposal:

    •   Annex A1 - Checklist of submitted documents;

    •   Annex A2 - Project Partnership Agreement;

    •   Annex A3 - Declaration of E-mail Address of the Lead partner.

  •   Subsidy contract - draft version (for information purposes only). Legal basis In the elaboration of the Guidelines for Applicants the following legal provisions have been observed:

  •   Regulation (EU) No 231/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II);

  •   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 447/2014 of 2 May 2014 on the specific rules for implementing Regulation (EU) No 231/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II);

  •   Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on specific provisions for the support from the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal;

  •   Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 481/2014 of 4 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to specific rules on eligibility of expenditure for cooperation programmes;

  •   Regulation (EU) No 236/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 laying down common rules and procedures for the implementation of the Union's instruments for financing external action;

  •   Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006;

  •   Regulation (EU, EURATOM) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002;

  •   Regulation (EU, EURATOM) 2015/1929 of the European parliament and of the Council Of 28 October 2015 amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union; Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2462 of 30 October 2015 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 on the rules of application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union;

  •   Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 of 29 October 2012 on the rules of application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union.

Basic programme rules:

  •   Interreg - IPA CBC Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Programme

    2014 - 2020, approved by the European Commission on 05.08.2015 by Decision No C(2015) 5653 with programme reference number CCI 2014TC16I5CB006, amended with Commission Implementing Decision No C(2016) 2851 from 4.5.2016 and Decision No C(2016) 8627 from 13.12.2016;

  •   Memorandum on Implementation of Interreg – IPA Cross-Border Cooperation Programme CCI Number: 2014TC16I5CB006 between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia;

  •   Financial Agreement between the European Commission and the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

National legislation
Besides EU rules and rules of the Programme, national legislation in force ruling specific fields such as environmental interventions, natural and cultural heritage, construction, human resources, etc. has to be respected.

Please note that the legal provisions must be observed by the Applicants (Lead Partner and Project Partners) during both project development and project implementation phases.

 

1. General information

The Guidelines for Applicants under Second Call for Proposals will serve as an essential reference document for all potential applicants interested in applying for funding under the Call within the framework of the Interreg - IPA CBC Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Programme 2014-2020.

These Guidelines for Applicants aim to provide practical information for the Applicants and information that they need, in order to start application procedure (partnership, budget, filling in the application form) and other related requirements as project selection criteria, assessment and selection procedure and other practical advices.

 IMPORTANT
The present version of the document is only relevant in connection to the Second Call for Proposals under the Interreg - IPA Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia CBC Programme 2014-2020.
Possible modifications will be communicated via the Programme website.

The applicants are recommended to frequently visit the Programme website (http://www.ipa-cbc- 007.eu/) to check the publication of the answers to the questions submitted and, before finalising the project proposal once more for any eventual changes.

1.1.Overview of the INTERREG - IPA CBC Programme 2014-2020

This programme is financed by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) and co-financed by Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia through contributions from state budgets. Own co-financing by the project beneficiaries is allowed.

The programming document drafted jointly by the two countries through a large partnership with national, regional and local stakeholders was approved by the European Commission on 05.08.2015 (Decision No C(2015)5653). It sets out the general framework of intervention of IPA II in the Programme cross-border area.

According to the IPA II Regulations, the two partnering countries have established the following main management and implementation bodies:

Managing Authority (MA) - Territorial Cooperation Management Directorate at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works of the Republic of Bulgaria is designated to perform the functions of single Managing Authority - responsible for managing and implementing the Interreg - IPA CBC Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Programme in accordance with the principles of sound financial management and the provisions of Article 125 of Regulation (EU) No National Authority (NA) - The Ministry of Local Self-Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia cooperates with the Managing Authority in joint programming, management and implementation of the programme.

Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) is composed of representatives of MA, NA, European Commission, as well as other relevant national authorities and stakeholders. The composition of the JMC respects the principles of partnership and multi-level governance. JMC shall carry out its functions in accordance with the provisions of Article 38 of IPA II Implementing Regulation and Articles 49 and 110 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013.

Joint Secretariat (JS) is a common structure assisting the MA, NA and the JMC in carrying out their respective functions and providing relevant information on the programme to the potential beneficiaries. The main office of JS is based in Kyustendil (Bulgaria) and branch office - in Strumitsa (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

The programming document and application package are available on the following web sites:

 www.ipa-cbc-007.eu
 www.mrrb.government.bg
 www.mls.gov.mk

1.1.1. Eligible cross-border area

The border area includes on Bulgarian side two NUTS III districts - Blagoevgrad and Kyustendil (52,5% of the CBC programme area), comprising of 23 municipalities, 462 settlements and a population of 452 973 people (46.2% of the total programme area population, 6,2% of the country population):

  •   District of Blagoevgrad: 14 municipalities - Bansko, Belitsa, Blagoevgrad, Gotce Delchev, Garmen, Kresna, Petrich, Razlog, Sandanski, Satovcha, Simitli, Strumiani, Hadjidimovo, Yakoruda;

  •   District of Kyustendil: 9 municipalities - Bobovdol, Boboshevo, Dupnitza, Kocherinovo, Kyustendil, Nevestino, Rila, Sapareva Banya, Trekliano.

The border area of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia comprises the North-East, the East and the South-East NUTS III statistical regions (47,5% of the programme area, 33,4% of the country area), consisting of 27 municipalities, 597 settlements and a population of 527 402 people (53,8% of the total programme area population, 25.6 % of the country population):

  •   North-East region: 6 municipalities - Kratovo, Kriva Palanka, Rankovce, Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagoricane;

  •   South-East region: 10 municipalities - Valandovo, Gevgelija, Bogdanci, Dojran,  Radovis, Konce, Strumica, Bosilovo, Vasilevo and Novo Selo;

  •  East region: 11 municipalities - Berovo, Pehcevo, Vinica, Kocani, Cesinovo - Oblesevo, Zrnovci, Probistip, Stip, Karbinci, Delcevo and Makedonska Kamenica.

 

1.1.2. Programme strategy, priorities and objectives

The Programme strategy and the selection of priorities is based on the relevance of the topic regarding CBC, the identified potentials of the Programme area, the main needs and challenges that are impacting sustainable and socio-economic development of the region as well as budget constraints and lessons learnt from previous periods. The selected thematic priorities encompass subject matters and types of interventions of common interest, benefiting a broad spectrum of institutions and organisations located on both sides of the border and also having good potential for benefitting youth, women and vulnerable groups.

The overall objective of the Interreg - IPA CBC Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Programme 2014 – 2020 is

"to intensify cross-border cooperation between the people and institutions of the region in order to jointly address common challenges and exploit untapped potentials”

The Programme had been prepared in compliance with three out of eight Thematic Priorities (TP) set in Annex III of Regulation (EU) No231/2014 (the IPA II regulation):

 Thematic Priority (b): Protecting the environment, promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk prevention and management;

 Thematic Priority (d): Encouraging tourism and cultural and natural heritage;

 

 Thematic Priority (g): Enhancing competitiveness, business environment and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, trade and investment.

In order to achieve the objectives set out in the programming document, the partnering countries have jointly agreed upon the main directions on which the interventions under this programme should focus. These main directions are called Priority Axes and are as follows:

 Priority Axis 1: Environment;
 Priority Axis 2: Tourism;
 Priority Axis 3: Competitiveness;
 Priority Axis 4: Technical Assistance.

 IMPORTANT

Only the first three Priority Axes finance projects submitted by applicants, while the fourth one (Technical assistance) is dedicated to ensuring the proper functioning of the programme management and implementation bodies.

The priority axes are broken down to the specific objectives (SO) as follows:

Priority Axis 1: Environment

  •   Specific objective 1.1 Environmental protection and sustainable use of the common natural resources of the CBC area

  •   Specific objective 1.2 Prevention and mitigation of consequences of natural and man- caused disasters of cross-border dimension and impact

Priority axis 2: Tourism

  •   Specific objective 2.1 Enhancing the tourism potential of the region through cooperation initiatives in better preservation and sustainable utilization of natural and cultural heritage

  •   Specific objective 2.2 Raising the competitiveness of the CBC region’s tourist offer

  •   Specific objective 2.3 Promoting cooperation among regional actors in the area of sustainable tourism

Priority axis 3: Competitiveness

  •  Specific objective 3.1. Improving the competitiveness of regional businesses

For further details on programme priority axes and specific objectives, please refer to the programming document.

 

1.2. Financial allocation of the Call for Proposals

The amount allocated for this Call for Proposals represents Programme financial allocation for 2019 and 2020 for the three priority axes, broken down as follows:

(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)

In addition to the above funds, the Programme shall also use all the generated savings from the financial resources that have been allocated towards the First Call for Proposals. Therefore, project under the current Call for Proposals may be contracted after approval by the Joint Monitoring Committee until the full exhaustion of the Programme funding for the 2014-2020 period.

The EU will finance 85% of the eligible expenditures and the state budgets of the two participating countries shall provide 15% co-financing.

Voluntary own co-financing by the partners is allowed.

1.3. Programme indicators and ranking of project proposals

The indicators are vital to the efficient and effective implementation of the Programme. They serve to monitor and evaluate the extent to which the Programme has achieved its objectives, and the efficiency with which it has done so.

The achievement of the Programme objectives will be measured by output and result indicators:

 Output indicators - measure the achievement of the quantitative targets of the Programme.

 Result indicators - tracking the values of result indicators allows an on-going assessment on whether or not the supported actions under the Programme correspond to the specific objectives to be achieved.

 IMPORTANT

Each project must contribute to the achievement of at least one of the Programme output indicators.

Under each Specific objective for every Priority Axis, the Programme has identified a number of output indicators and has set target values for each of them. These targets need to be reached through the implemented interventions under the Programme, since each project must contribute to the achievement of the output indicators. Failure to fulfil the set targets shall indicate that the Programme has not achieved its goals in terms of overall cross-border impact, which in return shall result in loss of EU funding.

 IMPORTANT

The financing under the current Call for Proposals shall be made available to potential beneficiaries through a competitive process while high priority will be given to project proposals contributing to the Programme output indicators, which will be not fully achieved by the project contracted under the First Call for Proposals.

The applicants should pay serious attention to the information for fulfilment of Programme indicators and the rules for ranking of project proposals specified in Attachment 2 - Fulfilment of Programme Indicators and Ranking of Project Proposals.

 

2. Rules of the Call for Proposals

2.1. Eligibility criteria

The present Call for Proposal has the goal of establishing solid cross-border partnerships by encouraging the implementation of both “soft” activities (as studies, seminars, know-how exchanges, etc.) and “investment” activities (construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, restoration works and/or supplies, etc.)

Given the prevailing kind activities, two types of projects will be financed:
 Soft projects – projects that mainly involve elaboration of studies and strategies,

seminars, know-how exchanges, etc., but which can also include small scale construction and/or supply components (representing Budget Line 5 – Equipment and Works), forming no more than 50% of the total eligible cost of the entire project;

 Investment projects – projects that have small scale construction and/or supply components (representing Budget Line 5 – Equipment and Works), forming more than 50% of the total eligible cost of the entire project. In addition, it is highly recommended those projects to involve also “soft” activities relevant to the proposed investment measures, such as studies, common strategies, trainings, seminars, know-how exchanges, etc. Thus their contribution to the achievement of the Programme specific objectives, results and outputs will increase.

In order to be eligible for funding under the Programme, the project proposal should meet three sets of eligibility criteria:

 eligibility of applicants (see section 2.1.1);  eligibility of activities (see section 2.1.2);

 eligibility of expenditures (see section 2.1.3). 2.1.1. Eligibility of applicants

All partners involved in the project should fulfil the following criteria:

  •   be legally established organizations (legal persons) according to the national legislation of the state on whose territory they are located;
    Exception is made for subsidiary structures of local/regional/national authorities. In case a structure of local/regional/national authority is not and cannot act as a legal entity, its legally established central organization, if such exists, shall be the project partner;

    and

  •   be registered within the eligible cross border region between Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;
    Exception is made for national/regional public authorities whose area of competence, established by legal acts, extends to the eligible area of the programme or structures of central public authorities located in the eligible cross border region which cannot be registered as legal entities – in this case the central authority is a project partner;

    and

     be non-profit making bodies/organizations, and

     be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with their partners, not acting as an intermediary.

 IMPORTANT
Every project must include at least one partner from each side of the border region. Projects which do not comply with this requirement will not be eligible.

 IMPORTANT
Local and regional branches of organizations whose headquarters are registered outside the eligible border region between Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are not eligible under current Call for Proposals with exception of regional structures of central public authorities located in the eligible cross-border area that cannot be registered as legal entities.

Political parties/organizations and trade companies are not eligible applicants under the programme.

 IMPORTANT
In addition to other eligibility criteria specified above, Lead partner must be registered at least 12 months before the deadline for submission of project proposals under current Call for Proposals.

Indicative lists of potential beneficiaries under each priority axis and type of measures are given below:

Priority axis 1 Environment:

  •   Local and regional authorities and their associations

  •   Regional structures of central public authorities (including protected areas administration and those dealing with emergency situations and nature / environment protection)

  •   Regional and sectoral development agencies, non-government organisations

  •   Research, education and training institutions

  •   Social institutions

  •   Any association of the above

Priority axis 2 Tourism:

  •   Local and regional authorities and their associations

  •   Regional structures of central public authorities (including protected areas administration and those dealing with tourism development)

  •   Regional and sector development agencies

  •   Civil society / non-government organisations

  •   Regional touristic associations / NGOs in the field of tourism

  •   Business support structures - chamber of commerce, business association, business cluster and others

  •   Education and training institutions / centres

  •   Cultural institutes (museum, library, art gallery, community centre, and others)

  •   Euroregions

  •   Any association of the above

Priority axis 3 Competitiveness:

  •   Local and regional authorities (and their associations)

  •   Regional structures of central public authorities (including regional offices of employment agency; structures dealing with economic development and others)

  •   Business support structures – chamber of commerce, business association, business cluster and others

  •   Regional and sector development agencies, non-government organisations

  •   Research, education and training institutions / centres

  •   Euroregions

  •   Associations of the above

Potential applicant is not eligible to participate in this Call for proposals or be awarded a contract if:

a) – it is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;

b) - it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established;

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

i) - fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of eligibility criteria or in the performance of a contract;

ii) - entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;

iii) - violating intellectual property rights;

iv) - attempting to influence the decision-making process during the evaluation, selection and pre-contracting procedure;

v) - attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the evaluation, selection and pre-contracting procedure;

d) - it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:

i) - fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

ii) - corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the Managing Authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;

iii) - participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

iv) - money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC Page 15 of 63

Guidelines for Applicants Second Call for Proposals No 2014TC16I5CB006-2018-2

of the European Parliament and of the Council;

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

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

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

f) - it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/951;

g) - the applicant is in situation of conflict of interests; the conflict of interests represents any circumstances that may affect the evaluation or implementation process, in an objective and impartial manner. Such circumstances may result from economic interests, political or national preferences or family connection.

 

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