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Town Twinning 2017 – second deadline - EACEA 36/2014
Deadline: 01 Sep 2017   CALL EXPIRED

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 Development and Cooperation
 Citizenship
 Europe for Citizens

1. Introduction

The European Union is made of its citizens and for its citizens! Encouraging and facilitating citizens' wider involvement in the European Union and what it stands for is of great importance. This ranges from the need to increase their participation in current affairs to the need of ensuring a broader understanding of the history of the European Union (hereinafter “Union") and its origins in the aftermath of two world wars.

The Lisbon Treaty at the end of 2009 led to a number of changes towards bringing the Union closer to its citizens and fostering greater cross-border debate about Union policy issues. The new Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union introduces a whole new dimension of participatory democracy.

Europe has a challenging agenda for the next seven years, with serious issues at stake. With decisions and policies needed on issues ranging from economic growth, security and Europe’s role in the world, it is now more important than ever for citizens to take part in discussions and help shape policies. Considering the European citizenship as an important element in strengthening and safeguarding the process of European integration, the European Commission continues encouraging the engagement of European citizens in all aspects of the life of their community, thus enabling them to participate in the construction of an ever closer Europe.

In this context, the Europe for Citizens Programme adopted for the period 2014-2020 is an important instrument aimed at getting the Union’s 500 million inhabitants to play a greater part in the development of the Union. By funding schemes and activities in which citizens can participate, the Programme is promoting Europe’s shared history and values, and fostering a sense of ownership for how the Union develops.

A budget of EUR 185 468 000 for the period 2014-2020 will be allocated for the "Europe for Citizens" Programme.

2. Purpose of the Programme Guide

The aim of this Programme Guide is to assist all those interested in developing projects or receiving financial support under the "Europe for Citizens" Programme (2014-2020) and to help them understand the objectives of the Programme and the types of activities that can be supported.

It gives detailed information on:
- funding opportunities under the "Europe for Citizens" Programme; - application procedures;
- selection procedures;
- general rules relevant to Union grants;
- calendar for the submission of applications;

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Europe for Citizens - Programme Guide - version valid as of 2017

CHAPTER I: GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE EUROPE FOR CITIZENS PROGRAMME

1. Objectives and priorities of the Europe for Citizens Programme

All projects will have to be in line with the objectives of the Programme. Priority will be given to projects additionally targeting the multiannual priorities of the Programme.

General and specific objectives
Under the overall aim of bringing the Union closer to citizens the general objectives are:

• to contribute to citizens' understanding of the Union, its history and diversity;

• to foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level.

Specific objectives shall be pursued on a transnational level or with a European dimension:

• raise awareness of remembrance, common history and values and the Union's aim that is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples by stimulating debate, reflection and development of networks;

• encourage democratic and civic participation of citizens at Union level, by developing citizens' understanding of the Union policy making-process and promoting opportunities for societal and intercultural engagement and volunteering at Union level.

Multiannual priorities of the "Europe for Citizens" Programme

In line with the general objectives of the Programme, multiannual priorities were defined in 2016 by the European Commission after consultation of the Programme Committee. They will apply throughout the remaining period of the programme (2016-2020) so that applicants have more time to plan and prepare their projects. This is without prejudice to the possibility for the European Commission to review, adapt and/or modify the list of priorities should the need arise, at any moment, after consulting the programme stakeholders represented in the civil dialogue group and the Programme Committee. Applicants are encouraged to develop projects in line with the objectives of the Programme and targeting the multiannual priorities. The multiannual priorities are announced on the website of Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and European Commission.

2. General features of the Europe for Citizens Programme

Equal access

The Europe for Citizens Programme should be accessible to all European citizens without any form of discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. Project promoters should pay due attention to the necessity of promoting equal opportunities for all and non-discrimination. Particular attention will be given to hard-to-reach groups.

Special attention should be paid to the balanced integration and participation of citizens and civil society from all Member States into transnational projects and activities taking into account the multilingual character of the Union and the need to include underrepresented groups.

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Europe for Citizens - Programme Guide - version valid as of 2017

Transnationality and local dimension

European Citizenship can best be experienced in an environment which goes beyond a national vision. Transnationality represents therefore an important feature of this Programme, which can be expressed in different ways:

  • The theme of the project can be transnational by tackling an issue from a European perspective or by critically comparing different national points of view. Such a transnational theme can be implemented by giving the floor directly to persons from different national backgrounds or to people having an original, transnational point of view on the issue.

  • The transnationality can also derive from the nature of the project promoters: the project can indeed be developed and implemented through the cooperation of a number of partner organisations, coming from different participating countries.

  • Transnationality can also be achieved by ensuring that the project is targeted directly to a public from different countries or by disseminating the results of the project across borders, thereby reaching indirectly a European audience.

    Project promoters are encouraged to strengthen the transnational dimension of their project, possibly by combining the above mentioned characteristics.

    This transnational dimension should be accompanied by a strong local dimension. In order to help bridging the gap between them and the European Union, it is particularly important that projects or activities supported by this Programme reach citizens in their everyday life, on issues that are of relevance to them.

    Intercultural dialogue

    The European Commission committed itself to promoting intercultural dialogue through different initiatives and Programmes. The Europe for Citizens Programme can contribute to achieving this objective by bringing European citizens of different nationalities and different languages together and by giving them the opportunity to participate in common activities. Participation in such a project should raise awareness on the richness of the cultural and linguistic environment in Europe. It should also promote mutual understanding and tolerance, thereby contributing to the development of a respectful, dynamic and multifaceted European identity. Project promoters are invited to present in their application how their project will tackle these issues.

    Volunteering - expression of active European citizenship

    Volunteering is an essential element in active citizenship: by giving one’s time for the benefit of others, volunteers service their community and play an active role in society. They develop the sense of belonging to a community thereby also gaining ownership. Volunteering is therefore a particularly powerful means to develop citizens’ commitment to their society and to its political life. Civil society organisations, associations of a European general interest, town twinning associations and other participating organisations often rely on volunteer work to carry out and to develop their activities. Therefore, particular attention is paid within this Programme to the promotion of volunteering, in particular through the European Solidarity Corps (see below).

    European Solidarity Corps

    In his State of the Union speech of 14 September 2016, the President of the European Commission announced the setting up of a European Solidarity Corps with the aim to give young people across the EU the opportunity to volunteer where help is needed and to respond to crisis situations.

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Europe for Citizens - Programme Guide - version valid as of 2017

The Corps will be rooted in the core EU values of engagement and solidarity. By joining the Corps, participants will express their commitment and willingness to devote a period of their lives to helping others. By supporting others, including the most vulnerable in our societies and communities, young people will not only put the core EU value of solidarity into practice, but also acquire skills and experience, including language skills, that can be valuable when looking for a job or considering further education and training.

In a first phase, the European Solidarity Corps will build on existing EU programmes including the Europe for Citizens programme.

In this context, project promoters are encouraged to make use of the European Solidarity Corps. A dedicated European Solidarity Corps web-portal will be set up by the Commission.

Information is available on the Internet at the following addresses:

http://europa.eu/solidarity-corps https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/europe-for-citizens_en

Please note that promoters making use of members of the European Solidarity Corps must comply with the requirements laid down by the European Solidarity Corps Charter (see https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity/charter_en), including the requirement relating to the insurance of the members. Indeed, within the framework of the Europe for Citizens Programme, the Agency does not provide directly or indirectly an insurance coverage to the volunteers/members used by the promoters for their projects. It is therefore for each promoter to ensure that the volunteers/members they are making use of are properly insured for their activities.

3. Structure of the Europe for Citizens Programme and types of grants

The Programme is implemented through two Strands and a horizontal Action:

  • Strand 1: European remembrance: Raise awareness of remembrance, common history and values and the Union's aim.

  • Strand 2: Democratic engagement and civic participation: Encourage democratic and civic participation of citizens at Union level.

    Measures in this strand are:

    Town Twinning Networks of Towns Civil Society Projects

    The two strands are complemented by a horizontal action that is not concerned by this guide.

• Horizontal Action: Valorisation: Analysis, dissemination and use of project results.

Types of grants:

A distinction has to be made between action grants and operating grants awarded within the Europe for Citizens Programme.

ACTION GRANTS can be granted for projects (within both strands), i.e. for actions with a limited lifetime during which proposed specific activities are implemented.

 

OPERATING GRANTS are different from action grants in that they provide financial support for costs required for the proper conduct of the usual and permanent activities of an organisation. That means: staff costs, the cost of internal meetings, publications, information and dissemination, travel costs arising from the implementation of the work programme, rental payments, depreciation and other costs directly linked to the organisation's work programme.

This guide concerns only action grants, operating grants are subject to a specific call for proposals.

 

Publication of the selection results

Applicants should be notified of the outcome of the selection procedure at the latest four months after the application deadline. During these four months assessment and selection of applications take place, followed by the adoption of the award decision. Only when these procedures are completed, the lists of selected projects will be published on the following website:

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/europe-for-citizens/selection-results_en

Moreover, applicants will be informed in writing.

 

5. Programme budget

The Programme has an overall budget of 187 718 000 euro for the seven years (2014-2020) and is financed under the budget line 18 04 01 01 of the Budget of the Union.

The annual budget is subject to decision of the budgetary authorities. The following site enables you to follow the different steps of the adoption of the budget:

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/annual/index_en.cfm

As an indication, the Regulation establishing the Programme provided that the overall breakdown between the different actions for the whole Programme period 2014 - 2020 should be as follows:

Strand 1 -European remembrance: approximately 20%
Strand 2 - Democratic engagement and civic participation: approximately 60%

Horizontal Action - Valorisation: approximately 10%

The remaining appropriations are allocated to cover the Programme's general, administrative and technical expenses.

6. Management of the Europe for Citizens Programme and contacts

The remaining appropriations are allocated to cover the Programme's general, administrative and technical expenses.

The European Commission

Directorate General for Migration and Home Affaires (DG HOME) is responsible for the development and smooth running of the Europe for Citizens Programme. It manages the budget and defines objectives, strategies and priority areas of action for the Programme, including, targets and criteria, on an ongoing basis, after consultation of the Programme Committee. Furthermore, it guides and monitors the general implementation, follow-up and evaluation of the Programme at European level. The European Commission has delegated the responsibility for tasks related to the implementation of the Programme to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA)

The EACEA, established by Decision 2013/776/EU of the European Commission of 18.12.2013 is responsible for the implementation of the majority of activities of the Europe for Citizens Programme. The EACEA is in charge of the management of the complete life cycle of these projects, including drawing up calls for proposals, selecting projects and signing Grant Decisions/Agreements, financial management, monitoring of projects, communication with beneficiaries and on the spot controls.

More information: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/europe-for-citizens_en Contact:

EACEA - Unit C1 Europe for Citizens1

Avenue du Bourget, 1 (BOUR 01/04A) B-1140 Brussels - Belgium

 

Member States and other participating countries

The EU Member States take part in the implementation of the Europe for Citizens Programme through the Programme Committee, to which they appoint representatives. The Programme Committee is formally consulted on different aspects of the implementation of the Programme, including on the proposed annual work plan, the selection criteria and procedures, etc. Other countries participating in the Programme also take part in the Programme Committee, as observers without voting right.

 

CHAPTER II: SUBMISSION AND SELECTION PROCEDURES

For all strands/measures an electronic application system has been set up. The project proposals have to be submitted using the grant application electronic form (eForm).

Applications submitted on paper by post, fax or e-mail will NOT be accepted for further evaluation.

1. Submission procedure

Step1: Register organisations

In order to submit an application, applicants and all the organisations that will participate in the application must provide their Participant Identification Code (PIC) in the application form. The PIC can be obtained by registering the organisation in the Unique Registration Facility (URF) hosted on the Education, Audiovisual, Culture, Citizenship and Volunteering Participant Portal.2

Moreover, applicants (and only applicants) must attach the following documents:
• Legal Entity form (applicants can find the appropriate forms at the following address:

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/legal_entities/legal-entities_en.cfm)

• Financial Identification form duly completed and certified by the bank preferably with a copy of a recent bank statement (see the corresponding financial identification form for each country at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/financial_id/financial-id_en.cfm)

The Unique Registration Facility allows applicants, to upload or update the information related to their legal status.

Information on how to register can be found in the portal under the following address:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/participants/portal

 

Complementary documents to be sent ONLY upon request of the EACEA

The following documents might be requested by the EACEA:

For all the strands/measures:

  • a copy of an official VAT document if your organisation has a VAT number;

  • a copy of the resolution, law, decree or decision establishing the entity in question (applicable only to non-profit organisations and twinning committees);

 

• Financial capacity form: applies only to non-public bodies and if the requested grant is higher than € 60 000. In such case, the financial statements (including the balance sheet, the profit and loss accounts and the annexes) of the last financial year for which the accounts have been closed must be attached to the duly completed financial capacity form.

The official forms of these documents are also available at: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/europe-for- citizens_en

For Town-Twinning and Networks of Towns:

• Proof that your organisation is acting on behalf of one or more local authorities (applies only to non-profit organisations and twinning committees.

 

 

2. Selection procedure

The awarding of grants from the European Union is subject to the principles of transparency, equal treatment and non-discrimination. Throughout the selection procedure applications will be assessed against the following criteria: eligibility, exclusion, selection and award criteria.

In the following chapters criteria applying to all strands (point 2) and specific criteria per strand (point 3) will be presented.

 

2.1 Eligibility criteria for all strands

Applications must fully comply with the eligibility criteria common to all strands of the Programme (see box below) as well as with the specific eligibility and award criteria applicable to each measure (see below point 3).

The eligibility criteria are divided into three main categories: a) applicant and partners, b) project nature and dimension and c) application. "Partners" should be understood as organisations involved in the project.

This guide provides an overview table on the eligibility criteria applying under the "Europe for Citizens" Programme (see ANNEX I).

Only the applications that have been judged eligible are assessed against award criteria3.The reliability of the verification of the eligibility criteria by the eForm is supervised by the EACEA's staff. If a project proposal does not meet these criteria, it will be rejected without being further evaluated.

A. Applicant and partners

 

1. Legal status

The applicants and partners must be either public bodies or non-profit organisations with legal personality (Please refer to specific eligibility criterion of each strand/measure).

2. Established in a participating country

The applicants and partners must be established in one of the countries participating to the

 

Programme. At least one EU Member State must be involved.

• Participating countries

The Programme is open to the 28 Member States of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

• Potentially participating countries
The Programme is potentially open to the following categories of countries provided that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commission.

a) acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective Framework Agreements, Association Council Decisions or similar Agreements;

b) the EFTA countries party to the EEA Agreement, in accordance with the provisions of that Agreement.

3. Type of organisation

Please refer to specific eligibility criterion of each strand/measure.

4. Number of Partners

Please refer to specific eligibility criterion of each strand/measure.

B. Project nature and dimension

Please refer to specific eligibility criterion of each strand/measure.

1 Number of participants
2 Budget
3 Venue and number of activities
4 Eligibility period/project duration

C. Application

1. Official application form

The project proposal is admissible if it is submitted using grant application electronic form (eForm).

Applications submitted on paper by post, fax or e-mail will NOT be accepted for further evaluation. For more details please see chapter 1 “Submission Procedure”.

2. Deadline

The project proposals have to be submitted within the deadlines and start within the relevant eligibility period (see Calendar).

3. Official languages

The official application form (eForm) has to be completed in full in one of the 24
EU official languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian , Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish

(See: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/translating/officiallanguages/index_en.htm)

 

 

2.2 Exclusion criteria for all strands

Applicants requesting a grant exceeding EUR 60.000 must sign a ‘declaration on honour’ certifying that they are not in any of the situations referred to in Articles 106(1), 107and 109(2)(a) of the 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 4 (the Financial Regulation) and set out below. This ‘declaration on honour’ constitutes an integral part of the application form.

Applicants will be excluded from participating in the 'Europe for citizens' Programme if they are in any of the following situations:

• they are bankrupt or being wound up, are having their affairs administered by the courts, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities, are the subject of proceedings concerning those matters, or are in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations;

  • they or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over them have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgment of a competent authority of a Member State which has the force of res judicata;

  • they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authority can justify, including by decisions of the EIB and international organisations;

  • they are not in compliance with their obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or the payment of taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established or with those of the country of the Responsible Authorising Officer or those of the country where the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision is to be performed;

  • they or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over them have been the subject of a judgment which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the Union's financial interests;

  • they are subject to an administrative penalty referred to in Article 109(1) of the Financial Regulation;

Applicants will not be granted financial assistance if, on the date of the grant award procedure, they:

  • are subject to a conflict of interests;

  • are guilty of misrepresenting the information required by the Agency as a condition of participation in the grant award procedure, or fail to supply that information.

  • find themselves in one of the situations of exclusion, referred to in Article 106(1) of the Financial Regulation, for the grant award procedure.

 

 

In accordance with Article 109 of the Financial Regulation, administrative and financial penalties which are proportionate may be imposed on applicants who are guilty of misrepresentation or are found to have seriously failed to meet their contractual obligations under a previous grant award procedure.

2.3 Selection criteria for all strands

Eligible project proposals undergo an in-depth evaluation of the financial and operational capacity of the applicant organisations.
Financial capacity means that the applicant has stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain its activity throughout the project. The applicant shall submit a “declaration on honour” attesting of its financial capacity. Additionally, in case of a grant request that exceeds EUR 60.000, the financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following document to be submitted by the applicant:

• the Financial Capacity form accompanied by the official financial statements (including the balance sheet, the profit and loss accounts and the annexes) of the last financial year for which the accounts have been closed.

N.B. The financial capacity check does not apply to public bodies.

If the EACEA concludes that the required financial capacity - assessed on the basis of the documentation submitted - has not been proved or is not satisfactory, then it may:

  • ask for further information;

  • require a bank guarantee;

  • offer a Grant Agreement/Grant Decision without pre-financing;

  • offer a Grant Agreement/Grant Decision with a pre-financing paid in instalments.

  • reject the application;

Operational capacity means that the applicant must show the necessary competencies and motivation to carry out the proposed project. The operational capacity will be assessed on the basis of the applicants' experience in managing the projects in the field concerned. The applicant shall submit a “declaration on honour” and for grant request above EUR 60.000, the Agency may require additional supporting documents. This information is to be provided under a specific section of the application form developed for this purpose.

2.4 Award criteria for all strands

The award criteria allow the European Commission and the EACEA to evaluate the quality of submitted applications in relation to the objectives of the 'Europe for Citizens' Programme. On the basis of these criteria, grants will be awarded to those applications which maximise the overall effectiveness of the 'Europe for Citizens' Programme.

Eligible applications are analysed by an Evaluation Committee composed of European Commission and EACEA officials. Its work is based on the quality assessment of the eligible applications undertaken by experts. The Evaluation Committee proposes a list of projects for granting on the basis of their assessment score and of the available budgetary resources.

The following award criteria are applying to all projects:

 

30%

Consistency with the objectives of the Programme and Programme Strand:

  • Appropriateness of the objective of the submitted project with regard to the

    objectives of the Europe for Citizens Programme, strand and measure.

  • The proposed activities and expected outcomes should contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Programme, strand and measure.

  • The thematic focus must be in line with the objectives of the Programme, strand and measure and taking into consideration the multiannual priorities.

 

35% 

Quality of the activity plan of the project:

  • The activities must be appropriate to reach the project's needs and objectives.

  • Coherence: correspondence between the different objectives of the proposed

    activities and adaption of the proposed inputs and resources to the objectives.

  • Effectiveness: effects should be obtained at reasonable cost.

  • Projects have to present a clearly elaborated European dimension.

  • Projects gather different types of organisations (local authorities, NGOs, research institutes, etc.) or develop different types of activities (research, non-formal education, public debates, exhibitions, etc.) or involve citizens coming from different target groups, including – for Remembrance projects and Civil Society Projects ONLY - members of the Solidarity Corps.

  • Projects use new working methods or propose innovative activities or with less opportunities.

 

15%

Dissemination:

  • Each project supported by the Programme must make the necessary efforts for ensuring the exploitation and dissemination of its results.

  • The proposed project should create a multiplier effect among a wider audience than that directly participating in the activities.

  • A realistic and practical dissemination plan should be in place in order to allow an effective transfer and exchange of the results foreseen by the project.

 

 

20%

Impact and Citizen involvement:

  • The number of organisations, participants and countries involved should be large enough to ensure a real European outreach of the proposed project.

  • Impact: Preference will be given to grants for projects with a high impact irrespective of their size, in particular those which are directly linked to Union policies with a view to participate in the shaping of the Union policy agenda.

  • Sustainability: Proposed projects/activities should aim at reaching middle or long- term effects.

  • The proposed activities should give participants the possibility to engage actively in the project and with the issue raised.

  • A balance should be sought between citizens who are already active within organisations/institutions and citizens who are not yet involved.

  • Projects involve citizens from underrepresented groups or with less opportunities.

  • For Remembrance projects and Civil Society Projects ONLY: Priority will be given to projects involving members of the European Solidarity Corps.

 

Size of projects and geographical balance

As required in the basic act, a geographical balance will be taken into account, as far as possible, in the selection.

 

2.5. Award of grant

Only after completion of the selection procedure described above, the selection process can be considered as finalised and the list of proposals selected for co-financing can be published.

Up to the limits of funds available, eligible proposals with the highest score receive a grant. Selected applicants receive a Grant Agreement / Grant Decision quoting the amount of the grant awarded by the Union and setting out the conditions under which the grant is awarded.

 

 

3.2. Strand 2: Democratic engagement and civic participation

This strand will support activities that cover civic participation in the broadest sense with a particular focus on activities directly linked to Union policies, with a view to concretely participate in the Union policy-making process in areas related to the objectives of the Programme. This can be achieved at all stages, and with all institutional interlocutors, and includes notably: agenda-setting activities, advocating during the preparation phase and negotiation of policy proposals, providing feed-back on relevant initiatives that are implemented. It is also expected that funded activities will make use of structuring methods to ensure a lasting effect of funded activities. The strand also covers projects and initiatives that develop opportunities for mutual understanding, intercultural learning solidarity, societal engagement and volunteering at Union level.

3.2.1. Measure Town Twinning

This measure aims at supporting projects bringing together a wide range of partner towns in a town twinning event around topics in line with the objectives of the Programme and taking into consideration the multi-annual priorities.

By mobilising citizens at local and Union levels to debate on concrete issues from the European political agenda, this measure will seek to promote civic participation in the Union policy making process and develop opportunities for societal engagement and volunteering at Union level.

Twinning must be understood in largo sensu, thus referring to the municipalities which signed or are engaged to sign twinning agreements as well as to the municipalities having other forms of partnerships fostering their cooperation and cultural links.

 

 

Selection procedure

In addition to the general eligibility, exclusion, selection and award criteria described above (see 2.1 to 2.3) the following specific eligibility criteria for Town Twinning Projects have to be fulfilled.

Specific criteria for Town Twinning Projects

A. Applicant and partners

1.Type of organisation

Towns/municipalities or their twinning committees or other non-profit organisations representing local authorities.

2. Number of Partners
A project must involve municipalities from at least 2 eligible countries of which at least one is an EU Member State.

B. Project nature and dimension

1. Number of participants
A project must involve a minimum of 25 invited participants. "Invited participants" are international participants5 sent by the eligible partner/s.

2. Budget
Maximum eligible grant for a project: 25 000 EUR

3. Venue

The activities must take place in any of the eligible countries participating to the project.

4. Eligibility period/project duration

The project must start within the relevant eligibility period, which depends on the deadline of the Measure within which the application is submitted (see Calendar).
Maximum duration of the meeting: 21 days.

3.2.2. Measure Networks of Towns

Municipalities and associations working together on a common theme in a long-term perspective may wish to develop networks of towns to make their cooperation more sustainable. Networking between municipalities on issues of common interest appears to be an important means for enabling the exchange of good practices.

Twinning is a strong link that binds municipalities; therefore, the potential of the networks created by a series of town twinning links should be used for developing thematic and long-lasting cooperation between towns. The European Commission supports the development of such networks, which are important for ensuring structured, intense and multifaceted cooperation, therefore contributing to maximising the impact of the Programme.

 

 

Networks of Towns are expected to:

  • Integrate a range of activities around the subject(s) of common interest to be addressed in the context of the Programme’s objectives or multiannual priorities

  • Have defined target groups for which the selected themes are particularly relevant and involve community members active in the subject area (i.e. experts, local associations, citizens and citizens’ groups directly affected by the theme, etc.);

  • Serve as a basis for future initiatives and actions between the towns involved, on the issues addressed or possibly on further issues of common interest.

Selection procedure

In addition to the general eligibility, exclusion, selection and award criteria described above (see 2.1 to 2.3) the following specific eligibility criteria for networks of towns have to be fulfilled.

Specific criteria for Networks of Towns:

A. Applicant and partners

1. Type of organisation/ Applicants:

  • Towns/municipalities or their twinning committees or networks;

  • Other levels of local/regional authorities;

  • Federations/associations of local authorities.

  • Non-profit organisations representing local authorities

    2. Partners:

    In addition to the applicants mentioned above under point 1. non-profit civil society organisations can be partners to those projects.

    2.1. Number of Partners
    A project must involve municipalities from at least 4 eligible countries of which at least one is an EU Member State.

B. Project nature and dimension

1. Number of participants
A project must involve a minimum of 30% of invited participants. "Invited participants" are international participants sent by the eligible partner/s.

2. Budget
Maximum eligible grant for a project: 150 000 EUR

3. Venue and number of activities
The activities must take place in any of the eligible countries. At least 4 events per project have to be foreseen.

4. Eligibility period/project duration

The project must start within the relevant eligibility period, which depends on the deadline of the Measure within which the application is submitted (see calendar).

Maximum project duration is 24 months.

 

 

3.2.3. Measure Civil Society Projects

This measure aims at supporting projects promoted by transnational partnerships and networks directly involving citizens. Those projects gather citizens from different horizons, in activities directly linked to Union policies, with a view to give them an opportunity to concretely participate in the Union policy-making process in areas related to the objectives of the Programme. As a reminder, this can be achieved at all stages, and with all institutional interlocutors, and includes notably: agenda-setting activities, advocating during the preparation phase and negotiation of policy proposals, providing feed- back on relevant initiatives that are implemented. To that end, those projects will invite citizens to act together or debate on the multiannual priority themes of the Programme at local and European level.

The project should consist in stimulating and organising reflection, debates or other activities related to the multiannual priority themes of the Programme and propose concrete solutions that can be found through cooperation or coordination at European level, and ensure a concrete link with the policy making process indicated above. Projects should actively involve a large number of citizens in the implementation and aim at setting the basis for, or encouraging the development of, long-lasting networking between many organisations active in the field.

 

This measure supports projects implemented by transnational partnerships promoting opportunities for solidarity, societal engagement and volunteering at Union level.

A Civil Society Project must include at least two of the following three types of activities:

 

  •  Promotion of societal engagement and solidarity: activities able to promoting debate/campaigns/actions on the themes of common interest in the larger framework of the rights and responsibilities of the Union citizens and making the link to the European political agenda and policy making process.

  •  Gathering of opinions: activities aiming at gathering the individual opinions of the citizens on a specific topic to be yearly defined, favouring a bottom up approach (including the use of social networks, webinars, etc.) and media literacy.

  •  Volunteering: activities promoting solidarity among Union citizens and beyond.

 

 

Selection procedure

In addition to the general eligibility, exclusion, selection and award criteria described above (see 2.1 to 2.3) the following specific eligibility criteria for Civil Society Projects have to be fulfilled.

Specific criteria for Civil Society Projects:

A. Applicant and partners

1. Type of organisation
Applicants: non-profit organisations, including civil society organisations, educational, cultural or research institutions.

Partners: Public local/regional authorities or non-profit organisations, including civil society organisations, educational, cultural or research institutions, town-twinning committees and networks.

2. Number of Partners
A project must involve organisations from at least 3 eligible countries of which at least one is an EU Member State.

 

B. Project nature and dimension

1. Budget

The project proposals must respect the criterion related to the maximum eligible grant to be awarded per project.

Maximum eligible grant for a project: 150 000 EUR. 2. Venue of activities

The activities must take place in any of the eligible countries.

3. Eligibility period/project duration

The project must start within the relevant eligibility period (see calendar). Maximum project duration is 18 months.

 

CHAPTER III FINANCIAL AND CONTRACTUAL CONDITIONS

As with all European Union grants, financial contributions awarded under the Europe for Citizens Programme are subject to the rules deriving from the Financial Regulation and its Rules of Application6 applicable to the General Budget of the Union, as laid down in the General Conditions applicable to the grants of the European Commission. Their application is compulsory.

Grant amount

It should be noted that the amount granted by the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision is a maximum which cannot be increased in any circumstances. The EACEA will determine the amount of the final payment to be made to the beneficiary on the basis of the final report drawn up by the latter.

Co-financing principle

The Union grant cannot finance the entire costs of the project.

Grant Decision and Grant Agreement

When a project is approved, the beneficiary receives either a Grant Decision or a Grant Agreement depending on the place where it is legally established

• The Grant Decision: is a unilateral act awarding a subsidy to a beneficiary. Contrary to the Grant Agreement, the beneficiary does not have to sign the Grant Decision and can start the action immediately upon receipt/notification. The Grant Decision will thus speed up the process. The Grant Decision applies to the beneficiaries established within the EU.

• The Grant Agreement must be signed by the beneficiary and returned to the EACEA

 

immediately. The EACEA will be the last party to sign. The Grant Agreement applies to the beneficiaries established outside of the EU.

A model of the Grant Decision and Grant Agreement will be available on the following website:

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/europe-for-citizens_en

The general conditions applicable to the Grant Decision/Grant Agreement are available in the 'Documents register' of the EACEA website https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/about-eacea/document- register_en.

Obligations arising from the Grant Decision and Grant Agreement

By submitting a grant application form the applicant organisation commits itself to all of the conditions specified in the Programme Guide, including the General Conditions, annexed to the Grant Decision/Grant Agreement.

Any request for a modification of the Grant Decision/Grant Agreement must be submitted to the EACEA in accordance with the provisions of the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision. The request must be submitted to the EACEA at the latest one month before the end of the project in writing for prior approval. No changes having the effect of altering the main concept of the planned activities are allowed. Any changes to the planned activities without prior approval by the EACEA may lead to the grant termination.

Principle of non-retroactivity

No grant may be awarded retrospectively for projects already completed.

A grant may be awarded for a project which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate the need to start the project before the Grant Agreement has been signed or the Grant Decision is notified. In such cases, expenditure eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

Starting the project before signing the Grant Agreement or notification of the Grant Decision is done at the risk of the organisation and does not make it more likely a grant will be awarded and in no circumstances the EACEA will be bound to fund such projects.

Principle of non-cumulative award

Each individual project is entitled to receive one, and only one, grant from the Union budget for the same activity.

No-profit principle

To this end, applicants must give details in their application form of any other grant requests they have submitted to the Union for the same project or part of the same project, for the same financial year, stating for each grant the budget heading, the Union programme and the amount.

Grants shall not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the beneficiary.

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This principle shall not apply to grants based on lump sums and to grants lower than or equal to EUR 60.000.

Observance of deadlines

Should the beneficiary wish to postpone his/her project so that it finishes later than the date specified in the Grant Decision/Grant Agreement, while respecting the maximum duration for each action, an official request has to be presented to the EACEA. It must explain the reasons for the delay and propose the modified timetable. The request will be analysed by the EACEA and – if accepted – an amendment to the Decision/Agreement will be sent to the beneficiary.

Furthermore, requests for postpone of the project greater than three months will NOT be accepted. Calculation of the grant

The grant is calculated on the basis of Lump sum financing system fixed per "tranches". The same parameters are valid for all participating countries.

The lump sums cover all the eligible costs of the actions, i.e.:
- staff costs linked directly to the action;
- travel and subsistence costs of participants at events;
- rental of room/interpreting and translation needed for the running of events; - communication/dissemination costs linked to the events;

- coordination costs generated by the involvement of several organisations;
- cost of research and IT tools needed for the preparatory activities under actions 1 and 2.3.

For Town Twinning, the lump sum is based only on the number of participants invited, i.e. international participants sent by partners from countries eligible for the programme, other than the country hosting the twinning.

For the other strands/measures, the lump sum is based on three parameters which constitute the essential elements of all the citizenship actions: the number of participants, the number of countries involved and the number of events developed, with no direct impact on the format of activities. Initially, the lump sum is determined by taking into account the number of participants and the number of countries, then, in the case of several events/activities, the lump sums corresponding to each event/activity are accumulated.

For the projects in strand 1 (European remembrance) and 2.3 (civil society projects), it may be useful to provide for preparatory or research activities, or activities linked to social networks. For this purpose, the system provides for limited lump sums which are in line with the number of participants in these activities. These amounts cover all preparatory activities together; in other words, the lump sum is linked to the total number of participants and not to the number of preparatory activities performed. Only one lump sum of this type can be awarded per project.

This lump sum system is subject to five requirements:

a- Unicity

The system is a unique approach for all the actions in the programme, irrespective of their particularities (with the exception of the Town Twinning measure).

b- Simplicity

The system does not require any calculations; it can be used immediately.

c-Transparency

The system is transparent: it allows the ex ante or ex post grant to be identified immediately.

 

d- Equal treatment

The system is non-discriminatory, since all candidates – irrespective of their country of origin – are treated on the basis of the same parameters.

e- Efficiency

The system allows for faster processing of the final reports and, consequently, faster payment.

Payment procedures

Pre-financing

When a project is approved, the EACEA sends a Grant Decision or a Grant Agreement, drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of funding, to the beneficiary.

On the basis of the assessment of the beneficiary’s financial capacity a pre-financing payment of the grant may be transferred to the beneficiary. The pre-financing is aimed at providing cash flow to the beneficiary. The EACEA may require a beneficiary which has been awarded a grant exceeding 60.000 euro to provide a pre-financing guarantee in advance, for up to the same amount as the pre-financing in order to limit the financial risks linked to pre-financing payment. In such case the pre-financing payment is conditioned by the reception of the guarantee. (see point pre-financing guarantee).

Amount of pre-financing per strand/measure: Pre-financing is not applicable to Town Twinning projects.

For Network of Towns, European Remembrance, and Civil Society Projects, pre-financing is applicable up to 50% of the grant.

A pre-financing payment will be done within 30 days following the date when the EACEA signs the Agreement (in case of Grant Agreement) and following the notification of the Grant Decision (in case of Grant Decision).

Payment of the balance

Final reporting

The grant will be paid to the beneficiary after submission to, and acceptance by the EACEA of a payment request included in the final report form.

The final report has to be submitted with official final report forms within two months following the end date of the eligibility period and must give a description of the results of the project as compared to the initial objectives. In order to receive the final (balance) payment, the beneficiary must send the final report and justifications/compulsory annexes specified under each Measure as indicated on the following website:

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/europe-for-citizens/beneficiaries-space_en

Calculation of the final (balance) payment

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If the real number of eligible participants, in the case of Town Twinning projects, or the number of eligible participants and/or countries involved, in the case of other measures, are lower than those anticipated in the project proposal the reduction of the grant will be calculated on the basis of the fixed "tranches" of participants and/or countries.

In any event, if the number of participants is lower than the lowest figure in the lowest bracket (i.e.: 25), no financing may be granted.

Where applicable, the beneficiary will be required to reimburse any excess amounts paid by the EACEA in the form of pre-financing. The EACEA also reserves the right to reduce the amount of the grant if the organisation has not fully implemented the selected project.

Pre-financing guarantee

In the event, the applicant's financial capacity is not satisfactory, the EACEA may require an organisation which has been awarded a grant exceeding 60.000 euro to provide a financial pre- financing guarantee first, for up to the same amount as the pre-financing, in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment. The purpose of this guarantee is to make a bank or a financial institution stand as irrevocable collateral security, or first-call guarantor of the beneficiary's obligations under the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision.

This financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the Member States of the European Union. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, the EACEA may agree that a bank or financial institution established in that third country may provide the guarantee, if it considers that the bank or financial institution offers equivalent security and characteristics as those offered by a bank or financial institution established in a Member State.

That guarantee may be replaced by a joint and/or several guarantees by a third party or by the irrevocable and unconditional joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of an action who are parties to the same grant agreement/decision, after acceptance by the EACEA.

The guarantee shall be released as the pre-financing is gradually cleared against interim payments or payments of the balance to the beneficiary, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision.

This requirement does not apply to public bodies.

Subcontracting and award of procurement contract

The beneficiary may resort to subcontracting for specific technical services requiring specialised skills (relating to the legal, accounting, tax, human resources fields, etc.) or implementation contracts. The costs incurred by the beneficiary for this type of services may therefore be considered eligible costs provided they meet all the other criteria of the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision and of the Call for Proposals.

Where implementation of the project requires the procurement of goods, works or services (implementation contract), beneficiaries must award the contract to the economically most advantageous offer, i.e. the bid offering the best value for money, or, as appropriate to the tender offering the lowest price, ensuring that there is no conflict of interests and that documentation is retained in case of audit.

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Subcontracting is the externalisation to a third party of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action as described in the proposal of the beneficiary. Subcontracting must satisfy the conditions applicable to implementation contracts and in addition to them the following conditions:

  • -  it may only cover the implementation of a limited part of the action;

  • -  it must be justified having regard to the nature of the action and what is necessary for its

    implementation.

Audits

Selected projects applications may be subject to checks, audits and evaluations according to the provisions of the Grant Decision/Grant Agreement. The responsible person in the organisation will undertake, with his or her signature, to provide proof that the grant has been used correctly. The European Commission, the EACEA, and the Court of Auditors of the EU, or a body mandated by them, may check the use made of the grant, at any time during the term of the Grant Decision/Grant Agreement and during a period of five years following the last payment executed by the EACEA and of three years in case the maximum amount of the grant is not more than €60.000.

Ownership/use of the results

The beneficiary grants the European Commission and the EACEA the right to make free use of the results of the action as provided in the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision, provided it does not thereby breach its confidentiality obligations or existing industrial and intellectual property rights.

Visibility and Publicity

By the beneficiaries

All activities funded under the Europe for Citizens Programme have to contribute to promoting this Programme. Enhancing visibility of the Europe for Citizens Programme means for example that activities and products funded within the Programme must clearly mention that they have received Commission support.

Commission support should also be made clear in relations with the media. Project partners should make use of all opportunities to ensure appropriate media coverage (local, regional, national, international) for their activities, before and during their implementation.

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

In this respect, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name or logo of the Union, the European Commission, and the ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed project. The names, logos and disclaimer can be downloaded from the following website: https://europa.eu/european- union/documents-publications/publishers_en.

If this requirement is not fully complied with, the beneficiary’s grant may be reduced, in accordance with the provisions of the Grant Agreement/Grant Decision.

By the EACEA and/or the European Commission

All information relating to grants awarded in the course of a financial year must be published on the Internet site of the European Union institutions no later than the 30th of June of the year following the financial year in respect of which the grants were awarded. The information may also be published using any other appropriate medium, including the Official Journal of the European Union.

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The beneficiary authorises the EACEA and/or the European Commission to publish the following information in any form and medium, including via Internet:

  • -  name;

  • -  address of the beneficiary;

  • -  amount awarded;

  • -  nature and purpose of the grant;

Upon reasoned and duly substantiated request by the beneficiary, the EACEA may agree to forgo such publicity, if disclosure of the information indicated above would risk threatening the rights and freedoms of individuals concerned as protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union or harm the commercial interest of the beneficiary.

Valorisation and dissemination of results

Valorisation can be defined as the process of disseminating and exploiting the results of actions with a view to optimising their value, strengthening their impact and making the largest possible number of European citizens benefit from them. This objective of valorisation has three consequences:

• Mobilisation of the potential of the individual actions:

Each action supported by this Programme should make the necessary efforts for ensuring its valorisation. Beneficiaries should carry out activities aimed at making the results of their projects more visible, better known and sustainable in their own country and across borders. For example, they could encourage appropriate media coverage. They could inform - and possibly involve- local, regional, national or European officials and/or elected representatives as well as the Representation Offices of the European Commission in the Member States and the Europe Direct Information Network (http://europa.eu/europedirect/meet_us/index_en.htm). They could also plan to develop promotional/citizens involvement activities such as VTT (Voluntary activities, T-shirts identifying the project or transnational social networks - debate forums). Thanks to these activities, it means that the results of a project will continue to be used and have a positive effect on the largest possible number of citizens once the project has come to an end. By planning valorisation activities as part of their actions promoters will increase the quality of their work and actively contribute to the overall impact of the Europe for citizens Programme.

  • Structuring the Programme:

This Programme has been designed for ensuring its greatest possible impact, for example through the setting of priorities, applicable to the whole Programme, or through the networking of organisations having gained experience in the same thematic area. The horizontal strand "valorisation" has a specific role to play in this field.

 

  • Actions taken by the European Commission:

The European Commission will analyse the situation of valorisation under this Programme and will then carry out various activities for strengthening this dimension and supporting project promoters in 

this respect.

Data protection

All personal data (such as names, addresses, etc.) shall be processed in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.

Unless marked as optional, the applicant's replies to the questions in the application form are necessary to evaluate and further process the grant application in accordance with the specifications of the call for proposals. Personal data will be processed solely for that purpose by the department or Unit responsible for the Union grant programme concerned (entity acting as Data Controller). Personal data may be transferred on a need to know basis to third parties involved in the evaluation of applications or in the grant management procedure, without prejudice of transfer to the bodies in charge of monitoring and inspection tasks in accordance with European Union law.

The applicant has the right of access to, and to rectify, the data concerning him or her. For any question relating to these data, please contact the Data Controller. Applicants have the right of recourse to the European Data Protection Supervisor at any time. A detailed Privacy statement, including contact information, is available on EACEA's website:

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/about/documents/calls_gen_conditions/eacea_grants_privacy_statement.pdf

Furthermore, information provided may lead to an entry in the Early Detection and Exclusion System Database (EDES-Database) managed by the European Commission, in compliance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/1929 (the revised FR). Information exchanged within the EDES will be centralised in this database. The database shall contain information on economic operators that could represent a threat to the Union's financial interests, economic operators who are in one of the exclusion situations listed in Article 106 (1) and economic operators on which financial penalties are imposed (Article 106 (13) of the revised FR), in the form of cases created therein. The EDES foresees the right of economic operator to be informed of the data stored in the database upon its request to the Commission. The information contained in the database shall be updated, where appropriate, following a request for rectification or erasure of the data stored.

For more information, please visit:

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/explained/management/protecting/protect_en.cfm

Legal basis

The following rules, including any future updates or amendments to which they might be subject, are applicable to the administration and financing of the Programme:

  • 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 No 1605/2002.

  • Commission Delegated Regulation No1268/2012 of 29October 2012 on the rules of application of Regulation 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union.

  • Council Regulation (EU) No 390/2014 of 14 April 2014 establishing the 'Europe for Citizens Programme' 2014-2020.



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