Frequently Asked Questions

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Intro

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The folllowing section contains FAQs referring specifically to the 3rd Call for Proposals. 

Properties

  • Duration of the call 14 November 2019 - 27 February 2020
  • The indicative budget of this call EUR 17,300,000

Content

1. If we already have a project selected in the 2nd call for proposals, can we submit another proposal?

All criteria linked to the eligibility of applicants, projects, costs and partnership are applicable to all applicants whether you have a selected projects or not. However, applicants are advised to observe the rule of avoiding double financing and proving enough capacity – financial and other resources to support the project (selection criteria).

Double financing shall be interpreted in as having the same Project proposal or proposals with similar (slightly similar) or overlapping activities submitted to any programme supported through the budget of the European Commission, cross border and transnational Programmes. 

Even if the same Applicant submits more applications with the same content or (slightly similar), although with slightly different partners and acquisitions, the application shall be investigated on the risks it poses vis-à-vis double financing.

2. Can we submit an application for the 3rd call by using the IMIS credentials we used for the 2nd call for proposals?

For the 3rd call applications you may use the same certificate and username you have installed on your computer for the 2nd call as well. However, it may be the case that that certificate expired and you may renew it by contacting the IMIS office at imisoffice@szpi.hu

3. What is the minimum requirement for setting up a partnership?

At least two partners – one from the Member State participating in the Programme and one from Ukraine - can set up a partnership and submit a project proposal. All partners must comply with the eligibility criteria described in the relevant sections 2.1.1 of the Guidelines for Applicants.

4. Is it better to have partners from all the participating countries?

It is better for your project if it can identify an area/ topic/ problem that is relevant to be solved across the borders from four countries. However, having partners from the four countries does not guarantee added value to your project from the cross-border impact point of view. Please review the selection and award criteria that are more nuanced and focus on a lot more levels than the number of partners. 

5. Can a partner be from i.e  Budapest?

Applicants can come from the social, economic or cultural centers that are part of the Programme territory (Budapest, Debrecen, Eger, Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, Zvolen, Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Kiev). However the following rule shall be observed (Guidelines for applicants): 

National or regional authorities or organisations located in the capital cities will be included in the Programme, in the specific cases when the involvement of these authorities and organisation is essential for the implementation or sustainability of the projects. In these cases, the authorities and organisations are allowed to participate in projects in the role of lead beneficiary or beneficiary. The project activities carried out by these authorities and organisations can be carried out in the major social, economic or cultural centres, but the results of these activities must always be to the benefit of the border region.

The above mentioned major social, economic or cultural centres are involved in all priorities of the programme. The type of authorities and organisations that may participate from these territories identified for each programme priority are listed in point 2.4 of the JOP.

Given the fact that the results of the activities must always be to the benefit of the border regions and that activities cannot be implemented outside the Programme territory, applicants are advised not to build artificial partnerships with organizations from these regions and take into account the selection criteria from the assessment grid in order to build their partnerships.  

6. What criteria (method of verification) are used to determine whether an entity is located in the eligible area?

The statutes or articles of association of the Lead Applicant organization and of the other project Applicants in both original language supplemented by a brief English translation is supposed to provide a sufficient method of verification on the location of the entity. Please ensure that in your brief translation in English such information is enclosed.
Where the Lead Applicant or the Applicants are public body created by a law, the Statutes or Articles of association are not required. In such cases the Lead Applicant/ Applicants should submit a statement referring to the relevant legal act.

8. Is there a limitation for an organization to participate as a partner in several partnerships?

The Lead Applicants as well as other Applicants may take part in more than one application and a Lead Applicant may at the same time be Applicant in other applications. Such entities may be awarded more than one grant under this Call for Proposals, if it can demonstrate its financial and administrative capacity of managing and co-financing all the awarded projects. Concentration of grants in some entities can be considered a risk factor and should be discussed by the Joint Monitoring Committee and consequently may lead to a rejection of the Project Application.  

9. What are the opportunities to find a project partner?

One can send his/ her project idea and contact details to the JTS Branch Offices in the territory at the following contacts https://huskroua-cbc.eu/contacts/branch-offices or to the JTS at info@huskroua-cbc.net. The BOs and JTS can put the respective applicant in contact with other applicants with similar interest or field of activity in the Programme territory.

10. Can the activities take place outside the eligible area?

Please note that whatever activities one project may be proposed, they have to be located in the eligible areas as stated in the Guidelines section 1.2.

11. Are existing staff’s salaries eligible?

Yes, such costs are eligible under the conditions that they do not exceed those normally borne by the Beneficiary or its partners and in the same time comply with the national laws they are subject to. As such, especially in the case of civil servants, it is highly advisable to consult the national legislations and consult the National Authority for the legal provisions one needs to comply with. Civil law contract under the budget line” staff” cannot be consider as eligible, but under the line dedicated to externalized services.

12.  Administrative costs (overheads or indirect costs) are eligible costs only for the Lead Applicant or for all Applicants?

The indirect costs are those that cannot be explicitly identifiable as specific costs directly linked to the performance of the project, but which can be identified and justified by the Lead Beneficiary/Beneficiary using his accounting system as having been indirectly incurred in connection with the eligible direct costs of the project.

These costs may be claimed by the grant Lead Beneficiary as well as by all other beneficiaries if agreed so in the budget, within the maximum limit of 2% of the total direct eligible costs (per project) entered in the budget without infrastructure component, but less than 60.000 EUR per applicant and per project. This flat-rate covers the indirect costs of the project and for which the Beneficiary does not need to provide supporting documents. However the basis for calculation for these costs should be assessed during the project evaluation phase. Please note that this does not put a limit to the actual administrative costs of a beneficiary. If the real costs are higher than 2%, the grant beneficiary may claim them as direct costs on the condition that the required supporting documents can be provided.

Costs of budget heading “5 Project dedicated office” is designed mostly for small organizations, while large public entities or organizations should use the budget heading “7. Administrative costs”. However, heading 5 and 7 cannot be used for the same organization. 

13. Can we initiate procurement procedures before the start of the implementation period of the project?

According to the Article 48 “Eligibility of costs” of the Commission Implementing (EU) No 897/2014 of 18 August 2014 laying down specific provisions for the implementation of cross-border cooperation programmes the procedures to award services, works or supplies contracts may have been initiated and contracts may be concluded by the beneficiary(ies) before the start of the implementation period of the project. 

However not earlier then the date of the Grant Award letter issued to the Lead Applicant. 

Moreover it is important to underline that any costs (except for costs of activities eligible for retroactive award as ruled under section 2.1.4 (a) (v) of the  Guidelines for applicants)  actually incurred by the beneficiary can be considered as eligible only when they are incurred during the implementation period of the project. In particular costs relating to services and works shall relate to activities performed during the implementation period (Article 48 “Eligibility of costs” ).

14. Is there a maximum value for the salaries, travel and subsistence costs of the staff employed in the team of the project?

Salaries as well as subsistence costs must not exceed those normally borne by the Beneficiary or its partners. In the same time, travel and subsistence costs for staff and other persons (project staff & representatives of the Lead Applicant/Applicant(s)) taking part in the project’s implementation are eligible under the condition that they exceed neither those normally borne by the Beneficiary or its partners, according with national legislation applicable for each type of legal entity nor the rates published by the Commission at the time of the mission if reimbursed. The MA as well as the JTS may require additional information and supporting documents (payrolls for example) in case there will be doubts concerning the requested levels.  

15. Are the travels to other locations outside the eligible area eligible?

Costs outside the eligible area are not eligible. In line with section 2.1.3 of the Guidelines for Applicants for the 3rd Call for Proposals the projects may not be implemented in regions other than those defined in point 1.2 as Programme eligible area.

18.   Can we submit unofficial translations of the documents?

Unofficial translations are accepted as well, but in any case, such a translation has to be certified by the legal representative of either the Lead Applicant or by the other Applicants on the case. Translations are not requested for any of the documents. However, English summary shall be submitted in the following cases: The Statutes or Articles of association of the Lead Applicant and Applicant organisation(s) shall be provided in original language accompanied with brief English summary (max. 1 page), reflecting the main content. The full feasibility study and Environmental Impact Assessment may be submitted in original language accompanied with brief English summary, reflecting the main content.

19. Can we get more information on the state aid rules?

State aid rules apply only to measures that satisfy all of the criteria listed in Article 107(1) of the Treaty, and in particular the followings:

The recipient is an undertaking
The recipient of the aid is an “undertaking”, which is carrying out an economic activity regardless of their legal status and regardless of whether they aim to make a profit or not.
The applicant shall examine every planned activity within the project. Economic activity may mean that the beneficiary provides service or sells products for payment. For example if the beneficiary undertakes to renew a church within the project and then sells tickets to visitors, it may mean economic activity. If the price of the ticket covers the maintenance costs then it is not state aid relevant activity.

Transfer of state resources
State aid rules cover only measures involving a transfer of State resources (including national, regional or local authorities, public banks and foundations, etc.).
This criteria is always „yes” – it is an immanent part of the programme - thus no option is provided.

Granting of an advantage
Aid (directly or indirectly) distorts or threatens to distort competition (all advantages have to be taken into account). The aid should constitute an economic advantage that the undertaking would not have received in the normal course of business.
The applicant shall declare if they could finance the activity from other sources.

Selectivity of the measure
Aid favours certain undertakings or the production of certain goods.
Since not every project will be granted, this criteria is always „yes” – its an immanent part of the programme - thus no option is provided.

Possible distortion of competition between Member States
Aid affects trade between Member States because the concerned activities are open to competition in various Member States.

The applicant shall examine who would be the potential clients regarding the project activities. For example if the visitors of the church would be only natives, the answer is no. If the visitors are mostly foreigners, they need further inquiry. If the tourists come because of the famous spa of the town, then its not state aid relevant activity. Or considering the few amount of visitors it may not be state aid relevant activity.

If all the criteria are relevant for the applicant (5 „yes”), then its a state aid relevant activity (even if one answer is „no”, its not state aid relevant). In case of „no” answer we expect a short explanation. The filled and signed state aid declaration (self assessment) shall be submitted by each and every applicant. The Managing Authority will examine every project and evaluate if any activity of the project is state aid relevant (assessment of the Managing Authority). Based on the result of the evaluation, the Managing Authority may recommend modifications.

20. The guidelines for Applicants mention that "Exceptionally and in duly justified cases, the Managing Authority may accept a later submission of the Building permit". What are the situations that would justify such cases?

Such situations may indeed occur and during the project developing and submission phase the LA/ Applicants must provide in any case a proof/ certificate that they have launched already the procedures to the relevant authorities in order to obtain the necessary building permit. This information as well as the expected time of obtaining it must be reflected in the section that tackles the readiness to start the project implementation. Please be aware that providing the justification/ documentation for such a case does not mean automatically acceptance from the MA.

During the administrative and eligibility check, the applicants will be asked to provide further clarifications on the status of obtaining the building permit or will be asked to provide it. 

In case the LA/ Applicants can not present the poof that the process of obtaining building permit have been initiated due to the requirements and norms of the national legislation the LA/ Applicants shall provide the official letter (signed by the Head of the organization) providing guarantees that LA/ Applicants will submit building permission to the JTS in time not later than the start of the contracting stage. 

21. How shall be tackle the indicators of the project?

Section 2.8.1 of the Guidelines refers in general terms to both program and projects’ indicators. When developing a project one is required to mention which Programme Output indicator(s) and, similarly which Programme Result Indicator(s), the project takes on board (mandatory).As such, applicants are advised to consult the document “Programme result and output indicators – Guidelines and metrics” available at the following link https://huskroua-cbc.eu/documents/project-implementation-documents in an early development of their project idea to be sure they are working on a project proposal that can attain the Programme result and output indicators. The mentioned document contains the methodology on dealing with all Programme’s indicators and how to calculate each. 

22. May I have a prior opinion of the JTS/MA on the eligibility of a partner or a project proposal?

The applicants (the Lead Applicant) can request for individual consultations with the JTS and can touch all aspects of the application process during such a meeting. The request is to be sent via email and should include a written project outline. However, in order to ensure the equal treatment of applicants and partners, the JTS may not give a prior opinion on the eligibility of an Applicant, a partner, a project proposal or specific activities. One must also take into account that the Joint Monitoring Committee is the only Programme body entitled to make last decisions on eligibility of applicants and projects.

23. Are expenditures related to the feasibility study and other documents related to technical documentation, building permit, environmental approvals for construction work eligible costs, taking into account the fact that they will be made before the official duration of project implementation?

A grant may be awarded retroactively to cover such costs. However, these costs can be considered eligible for financing if they have been incurred between the launching of the call for proposals (14th of November 2019) and prior to the date of the signing of the grant contract, if the project is to be selected. The signing of the grant contract is dependent upon the availability of the documentation for the infrastructure components as well on the availability of the building permit (if applicable).

24.  Would a non-final building permit submitted as part of the Application be acceptable?

Exceptionally and in duly justified cases, the Managing Authority may accept a later submission of the Building permit. Therefore, the submission of a non-final building permit (as a proof that the request is already submitted to the relevant authority) would be acceptable.

25. How should we proceed if our planned investment-type project activities are not touched by the Environmental Impact Assessment? Should it be proved somehow? What should be attached to the application in such cases?

Please consult the relevant national legislation in identifying whether your planned investment-type project activities have to be subject of an EIA or not. If according to the national legislation the EIA is not required, a certification from the relevant authority should be annexed that the works component does not have negative effect on the environment.

26. Is it eligible if building which would be renovated by project grant is co-owned also by private company or individual? The Applicant – a municipality owns only part of it.

Municipality is entitled to purchase part of the building, which it intends to reconstruct when the building is directly linked to the implementation of the project and its price DOES NOT EXCEED 10 % of the eligible expenditure of the project concerned.

Please note, that the final account on eligibility of costs is made after the implementation period of the project is over, thus after the final report of the project is approved.
The Applicant is in this case obliged to submit the future contract on purchase of the building and all the other documents connected to the infrastructure:

1.    Full Feasibility study or equivalent carried out, including the options analysis, the results, and independent quality review (if according to the national legislation it is required for the obtaining the building permission in the set format).   
2.    Environmental impact assessment in compliance with the Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council[1] and, for the participating countries which are parties to it, UN/ECE Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context of 25 February 1991
3.    Building permit signed by the relevant authority. If the investment does not require a building permit, a certification should be annexed that the works component is not subject of a building permission.
4.    Evidence of ownership by the beneficiaries or access to the land.

1.   In case the Beneficiary is the owner of the land and/or buildings where construction/reconstruction works will be carried out, the Beneficiary shall prove the ownership.
2.   In case the Beneficiary is not the owner of the land and/or buildings where construction/reconstruction works will be carried out, that property has to be owned by the State or a county/local government. 

a.    The Beneficiary shall submit permission to use or operate of the property for at least 10 years from the date of the launch of the present Call for proposals. 
OR
b.    The Beneficiary shall submit relevant rental contract together with the declaration of the owner of the property that the owner agrees with the submission of the Application to implement and subsequently operate the works component for at least 10 years from the date of the launch of the present Call for proposals.

In these cases above the following documents must be submitted together with the Application (if available), or by Contracting at the latest (in case of being selected):

1.    land or building registration certificate from the relevant public register;
2.    permission to use or operate of the property according to point 4.2.a;
3.    rental contract with the declaration according to point 4.2.b.

5.    Project technical documentation (ordinary copy), depending on the type of the investment,  could be considered: construction plan submitted for the building permit or, in case the works activity is not subject to permission, the technical description; diagrammatical plan and/or the general plan of the building site.

Exceptionally and in duly justified cases, the Managing Authority may accept a later submission of the Building permit (point 3). 

The full feasibility study (point 1) and Environmental impact assessment (point 2) may be submitted in original language accompanied with brief English summary, reflecting the main content.