Call for proposals no. VP/2013/007. EESSI Pool of Excellence. Establishment of a 4-year Framework Partnership Agreement

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1 Call for proposals no. VP/2013/007 EESSI Pool of Excellence Establishment of a 4-year Framework Partnership Agreement Period covered:

2 Table of Contents Table of Contents General background and context Objectives and description of activities envisaged Objectives of this call for proposals The Framework Partnership Agreement The outline action plan Activities envisaged Eligible activities Indicative time-table EU financing Framework Partnership Agreement Specific Grant Agreement for annual action grant Annual description of the action Co-financing rate and available amount of the first annual action grant Other conditions Exclusion, eligibility and selection criteria Exclusion criteria Eligible applicants and partners Eligible actions Eligible applications Selection criteria Financial capacity Proof of financial capacity Operational capacity Proof of operational capacity Award criteria Submission of proposals Application form Submission formalities Presentation of applications Contacts Accepted and rejected applications Annex April

3 1. General background and context One of the fundamental rights under the EU Treaty is the right of free movement of workers, as incorporated in Article 45 TFEU (ex-art. 39 EC). In order to ensure that this right can be effectuated, the worker s social security rights must be guaranteed when moving from one Member State to the other. However, under Community law, there is no unified European social security system. Each Member State is responsible for its own social security system. Therefore, Community rules have been put in place to provide for the coordination of these national social security systems. In order to ensure an effective application of the Regulations by the Member States, national social security institutions need to exchange with each other information on the person concerned, such as his insurance history records, certificates concerning health care or certificates which show that a worker is posted to work in another Member State. In accordance with the Regulations (EU) no 883/2004 and its Implementing Regulation 987/2009, all Member States will be required, after the end of a transitional period, to exchange this information electronically by the use of a common secure network which is called the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (hereinafter: EESSI). EESSI is primarily a communication (messaging) system between national social security institutions to exchange social security information concerning persons that exercise their right to free movement within the EU. Once implemented, it is expected that the exchange of data through the EESSI system will allow for more efficient, rapid and correct information exchanges between social security institutions for the implementation of the coordination rules in comparison to today s paper based data exchange. For the citizens, the automated data exchanges will lead to an essential improvement of the services provided under the Regulations, as the electronification of the data exchange will accelerate and make more accurate and timely the actual payment of social security benefits. Notwithstanding the benefits of this system, EESSI brings with it a significant number of challenges at European level where a common ground has to be identified so as to various business and technical needs existing at national level are captured, accommodated and implemented in a central solution. Even more so, at the level of the Member States significant efforts, resources and investments are required for putting in place technical, business, operational and institutional framework and infrastructure in place for making EESSI happen in reality. The EESSI project has already known a first iteration loop. Based on a feasibility study on the possibilities to establish such a European architecture for this complex coordination of social security, issued in 2007, DG EMPL proceeded together with an external contractor with the development of the EESSI system. The software developed by the external contractor was delivered and subjected, starting beginning of 2011, to an intensive testing campaign, organised with the collaboration of 6 testing Member States. Based on the tests carried out, it became apparent that the system developed, even if delivered in accordance with the tender specifications, did not reply to all the business needs that the Member States had. Therefore, based on a decision of the governance bodies, in March 2012 a reflection period was organised within the project, with the aim of assessing whether the business, functional and non-functional requirements that have been agreed upon at the outset of the project are still valid, and based on this, to identify the future road for the project. This reflection period is still on-going. April

4 One of the most important lessons learned from the last years was the need to put in place structures and facilitate the gathering of input and contribution from what is a very wide and diverse space of end users of the EESSI project. In fact, during the last years, the involvement of the testing countries in bringing feedback, organising discussions and making suggestions was a precious contribution to the improvement of requirements and specifications of the EESSI system so as to bring it closer to the needs of those who will finally use it. The EESSI project being strongly rooted on the partnership between Member States and the Commission, it is foreseen that also in the production phase as well as in the period preparing for the production, the need for a platform of discussions, exchange of best practices, sharing of experience and preparation of proposals would be of high value and would feed into discussions within the Technical Commission on EESSI functioning and further developments. Building up on this experience, it is proposed that a stable framework is put in place through a Framework Partnership agreement that will create an environment for further organising contributions from a wide range of EESSI stakeholder in a more structured way and with resources being made available to those involved, as long as the activities envisaged have a strong trans-national component. 2. Objectives and description of activities envisaged 2.1. Objectives of this call for proposals The objective of the call is to conclude a single Framework Partnership Agreement with multiple beneficiaries for the setting-up and implementation of an EESSI Pool of Excellence, covering the Member States, EEA countries and Croatia for a duration of four years 1, to allow Member States and participating countries to: - develop common tools, share experience, best practise and know-how; - collect and share direct feed-back from a user-perspective; - strengthen their own, national competences related to EESSI. 3. The Framework Partnership Agreement The conclusion of a Framework Partnership Agreement will help to forge strong relations with a considerable number of institutions in Member States, providing the base for a successful setting up and implementation of an EESSI Pool of Excellence. This EESSI Pool of Excellence shall contribute to a stable and structured environment for gathering feedback, knowledge and expertise from the Member States and the end-user of the EESSI project in the further implementation of the EESSI project which is in the common interest of the Commission and of the awarded applicant organisation and its partners. The decision to favour a multi-year partnership also reflects the very nature of the EESSI project whose roll-out takes place in the medium term. 1 Provided that the EU's budgetary authority makes available the necessary funds. April

5 Partnerships are implemented by two legal instruments: Framework Partnership Agreements and Specific Grant Agreements: - Firstly, the Framework Partnership Agreement will set out the framework conditions governing potential grants to partners carrying out activities, on the basis of a 4-year outline action plan and jointly agreed general objectives. This first-level agreement does not constitute an obligation for the Commission to conclude a Specific Grant Agreement for an annual action grant. Framework Partnership Agreements define the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission and the consortium of partners in implementing the partnership. They present the common objectives agreed upon by the consortium of partners and the Commission, the type of activities envisaged, the procedure for concluding a Specific Grant Agreement, the general rights and obligations of each party under the Specific Grant Agreement. - Secondly, the Specific Grant Agreement based upon the Framework Partnership Agreement for a specific Union grant in line with the outline action plan and the joint general objectives will set out all the purely specific provisions governing the annual grant. The Commission will invite the partners with whom the Framework Partnership Agreement will be signed, to provide a detailed annual activity plan and the corresponding detailed budget in order to conclude a Specific Grant Agreement for an annual action grant (see chapter 6 below). Please note that concluding a Specific Grant Agreement is subject to the Commission's assessment of the detailed annual specific proposal and the corresponding detailed budget, as well as to the disposition of funds to be made available by the European Union's budgetary authority. 4. The outline action plan Activities envisaged Applicants are invited to present an outline action plan for the full duration of the Framework Partnership Agreement (i.e. 4 years), proposing activities targeting the work packages described below. A template for the outline action plan has been provided to that extent as annex to the present call for proposals. Specific requirements, if applicable, for the information to be provided by the applicant in view of the evaluation of its proposal are further included under each of the work packages. Where relevant, the minimum requirements in terms of deliverables have been identified. The detailed activities for each annual grant, the timetable of the activities, a comprehensive list of deliverables to be elaborated under each work package will be specified in the outline action plan that will be developed by the partners and integrated in the Specific Grant Agreement for an annual action grant and will therefore have to be presented and evaluated at a later stage. However, it is expected that at this stage (i.e. evaluation in view of signing the Framework Partnership Agreement) the applicants give a first indication of the type of activities that they would envisage under each of the work package, main objectives, results and/or outputs that they would try to achieve under each work package, identify, if and where possible, the main deliverables of the actions (if any additional April

6 deliverables than the minimum requested ones can be already foreseen in light of proposed approach taken under the respective work package) and present, if and where possible, a first high level planning of these activities (for example if the activities envisage the 1 st, 2 nd, 3 rd or 4 th year of the Framework Partnership Agreement). A. Work package 1 Project management component This component aims at ensuring the smooth running of the FPA through timely and sound management. It should therefore address, at least, the following: a) putting in place and operating the structures and mechanisms for the coordination between the consortium partners as well as streamlining the activities under the different work packages; b) achievement of the project goals and fulfilment of the action plan; c) general management of the resources in view of implementation of the action plan within the budgetary constraints; d) continuous measurement of progress and monitoring; e) quality assurance and change management; f) issues and problems resolution; g) risk management; h) reporting towards the European Commission. Minimum requirements concerning deliverables The applicant is expected to elaborate and submit, as deliverables under this component, Quarterly Progress Reports. The Quarterly Progress Reports should cover a 3 months period and should be delivered no later than 30 days after the respective quarter has ended. The progress reports should provide information on the following: - progress of activities included in the action plan for the reporting period against milestones and plan; - man-power consumption for the reporting period; - deviations, if any, from the initial action plan and reasons for changes; - risks and issues (if any) raised with appropriate mitigation/resolution; - short summary of dissemination activities undertaken under work package 2, point d); - proposals of items/issues/documents that are considered useful by the applicant to be brought to the attention of all Member States or the EESSI governance bodies so as to inform their decision making procedures or to the attention. The reporting for the 4th quarter can be integrated in the final report to be issued for the final payment of each annual specific grant. B. Work package 2 Information sharing and dissemination component The aim of this component is to: a) support and foster the development of specialists networks and exchange of knowledge, experience and know-how related to the EESSI project between Member States and relevant institutions; April

7 b) develop or improve EESSI related information and/or documentation; c) enhance the availability of EESSI related information and/or documentation to all Member States, European Commission and the EESSI governance bodies; d) ensure the dissemination of relevant outputs/results/activities obtained in all work packages of the Framework Partnership Agreement towards all Member States, European Commission and the EESSI governance bodies. Minimum requirements concerning deliverables For point d) a specific regular reporting obligation is included as part of the Quarterly Progress Reports (see Work-Package 1). For the other points the deliverables will be in line with the type of proposed activities and could include for example: report from conferences/workshops, elaborated documents etc. C. Work package 3 Testing and piloting component The aim of this component is to: a) support and organise testing of the EESSI system (software (including integration with national components) and business model) with a view to identify if the system is fit for purpose and for production. The piloting of the EESSI system (i.e. in a production type of environment) could be also envisaged under this component; b) collect, process, structure and disseminate the results of the testing and, if applicable, also piloting exercises to the EESSI governance bodies to allow them to make informed decisions on the launch of the EESSI system or alternatively apply corrective measures. Minimum requirements concerning deliverables Under this work package, it is expected that the applicants will prepare a test strategy, test plan and all relevant documents for testing (and piloting if applicable) such as testing acceptance criteria, tests scripts, tests results and analysis. D. Work package 4 Transition and deployment support component The aim of this component is to provide support, organise analysis and reflection, identify common problems as well as generate ideas and solutions for the transition from the paper to electronic environment in particular around the following subjects: a) EESSI deployment strategy at national levels (e.g. tasks to be performed to connect the national EESSI software to the target EESSI system); b) Readiness for live operation in EESSI IT system; c) Business, operational and institutional change and readiness for EESSI (including for example institutional and operational adjustments and preparations which are necessary at the level of the social security coordination institutions for transition from the paper to the electronic environment). Minimum requirements concerning deliverables A report containing elements of analysis and reflection on the possible EESSI deployment strategy which is to be presented during the first annual specific grant. April

8 E. Work package 5 Technical and business expertise This component aims at providing structured or ad hoc expertise/advice/support on technical, business and operational trans-national, common interest EESSI issues, in accordance with the specific needs that the EESSI project encounters at various stages of its existence. It is expected that for each year approximately two main focus topics would be identified under this work-package where more in-depth feedback, reflection, analytical input and even implementation could be organised. These topics would be items relevant for the central EESSI project or a common problem/issue for several Member States in the EESSI implementation (for instance: interconnectivity, security/fraud detection and prevention). These topics would be agreed in the annual work-programme to be included in the Specific Action Grants. However, the applicants are expected to provide in the outline of the action plan some preliminary indications of these focus topics, at least for one or two years of the FPA. General requirements In addition to the requirements mentioned above, the applicants are invited to provide details on the following: - the management structures within the consortium and the mechanisms that will be put in place to ensure the coordination between the various consortium partners; - the mechanisms that will be put in place to ensure coordination between the activities in various work packages be ensured; - description of the process for monitoring the progress of activities across various work packages and consortium partners; - description of the quality control process that will be put in place for checking the deliverables Eligible activities A variety of activities can be considered eligible under this call for proposals and the list below only presents a non-exhaustive itemisation of examples: - activities related to the planning, coordination and preparing the implementation of the content related activities, as well as the reporting, administrative and resource management etc. - conferences, workshops, seminars, round tables, focus groups, study visits, training, training of trainers, coaching activities, civil servants exchanges, - actions aiming at the creation, operation and improving of networks of experts and specialists, - actions aiming at identifying, exchanging or disseminating good practices/experience/knowledge/know-how; - studies, analysis, elaboration of reports, strategic or reflection papers, questionnaires; - providing expertise, advise, expert knowledge - software development activities, to the extent that these developments will have a transnational benefit ; - elaboration, improvement and dissemination of documentation (manuals, guidelines, etc.); April

9 - set up/develop/enhance communication tools or structuring the available information etc.; - activities related to the testing of EESSI-related products (i.e. in testing, simulating real life environment); - activities related to the piloting of EESSI related products (i.e. in real life but lower scale and limited scope production environment). Activities with a strict national relevance where no trans-national benefit can be identified will not be eligible for funding under the Framework Partnership Agreement. 5. Indicative time-table a) Scheduled signature of the awarded Framework Partnership Agreement during September b) Scheduled signature of the awarded Specific Grant Agreement during December c) Scheduled starting date of the action governed by the Specific Grant Agreement is set for the first trimester d) Applications must respect the maximum duration of the Framework Partnership Agreement of 4 years e) Applications must take into consideration the duration of the Specific Project of 12 months The intention is to inform applicants of the outcome of the award procedure no later than during the month of September EU financing 6.1. Framework Partnership Agreement The Commission envisages making available a maximum amount of EUR over the duration of the 4-year Framework Partnership Agreement which shall be implemented by Specific Grant Agreements of a maximum duration of 12 months. Following this call for proposals, the Commission intends to award only a single Framework Partnership Agreement Specific Grant Agreement for annual action grant Annual description of the action Following the signature of the Framework Partnership Agreement, the Commission will invite the partners awarded to provide an annual description of the action (activity plan) and the corresponding detailed budget for one year. The partners will be provided at this stage with budgetary forms and other material necessary for their proposal, including the award criteria to be applied for the assessment of their annual description of the action and corresponding detailed budget. The Commission will than carry out an evaluation of these detailed proposals against the communicated award criteria. 2 Provided the necessary funds are being made available by the European Union's budgetary authority. April

10 A Specific Grant Agreement for an annual action grant, based upon the Framework Partnership Agreement will then be signed provided a positive outcome of the evaluation against the award criteria and subject to availability of funds. The Specific Grant Agreement contains all purely specific provisions governing the subject of the grant, since the applicable general conditions are already included in the governing Framework Partnership Agreement Co-financing rate and available amount of the first annual action grant The estimated maximum budget allocated by the Commission for the first Specific Grant Agreement scheduled to start in the first trimester 2014 is EUR The overall EU co-financing rate is fixed at 80% of total eligible costs. Specific proposals with a requested EU co-financing beyond any of the above specified maxima will be considered ineligible. The period of eligibility of costs for Specific Grant Agreements will begin as of the starting date of the Specific Grant Agreement ('the action'), after the Specific Grant Agreement is signed by the last of the parties Other conditions Please note that: - One action may give rise to the award of only one grant from the European Union budget to any one partner; - EU co-financing for specific grants cannot cover 100% of the total cost of an action; - Specific grants will not be awarded for more than the amount requested; - The publication of this call for proposals does not guarantee availability of funds for the overall duration of the presented outline action plan; - The Commission grant may not have the purpose or effect of producing profit for the beneficiary. Profit is defined as a surplus of receipts over expenses. The amount of the grant will be reduced by the amount of any surplus. 7. Exclusion, eligibility and selection criteria In what follows 'co-applicants' (partners) are to be understood as any potential cosignatory of a future Framework Partnership Agreement subject to this call and as proposed by the applicant ('co-ordinator'). The lead applicant and co-applicants must satisfy the same eligibility criteria Exclusion criteria Applicants and co-applicants must be in conformity with Articles 106(1) and 107 to of the Financial Regulation 4. 3 The situations referred to include bankruptcy, compulsory winding-up, being under court administration, in an arrangement with creditors or any other similar proceedings; convictions of professional misconduct; non-fulfilment of social security or tax payment obligations; convictions of fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation or any other illegal activity; declared in serious breach of contract April

11 7.2. Eligible applicants and partners Eligible applicants and co-applicants must: - be a properly constituted and registered legal entity 5, having the registered office based in one of the Member States of the European Union, in one of the EEA countries (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) 6 or in Croatia 7 ; - fall within one of the following categories: o national social security institutions, or o liaison bodies or o organisations hosting the Access Points to EESSI. Applicants or co-applicants cannot be individuals Eligible actions Eligible actions must comply with the following conditions: - being clearly linked to the objective of the call for framework partnership agreement - being implemented in co-operation with active co-applicants established in at least 10 different Member States, EEA countries or Croatia; - only applications which are strictly non-profit making and/or whose immediate objective is non-commercial are considered eligible; - applications must respect the duration of projects as laid out in chapter 3 of this document; 7.4. Eligible applications Eligible applications must comply with the following conditions: - applications must be submitted on time, in conformity with the specifications for submission as laid out in this document; - applications must compulsorily be submitted on-line and their respective printouts must be submitted in accordance with the requirements laid down in chapter 9 of this document; - applications must be complete and include all the documents indicated in the following checklist at the end of these call specifications Selection criteria Only organisations (applicants and co-applicants) with the necessary financial and operational capacity may be considered for award. in relation to activities funded by the EU budget; subject to conflict of interest; guilty of misrepresentation in supplying the required information. 4 Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 966/2012 of 25 October 2012 (OJ L298, 26 October 2012); 5 Please see Annex I to the call text (Financial Guidelines for Applicants) for the definition of the different eligible types of partners. 6 subject to the final confirmation by the EEA Joint Committee of the participation of the EEA countries in the budget line. 7 subject to the effective succession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union. April

12 Financial capacity The applicant and co-applicants must have access to solid and adequate funding to maintain the activities for the period of the action and to help finance it as necessary. The verification of financial capacity does not apply to public bodies Proof of financial capacity In order to demonstrate the financial capacity, the applicant and co-applicants for whom the financial verification applies are invited to provide: - A declaration on their honour (see chapter 7.1 exclusion criteria) - The most recent balance sheet which, by definition, must include assets and liabilities. The applicant should specify which currency is being used in the balance sheet. - The external audit reports produced by an approved auditor, certifying the accounts of the applicant organisation for the last two years Operational capacity Operational capacity to complete the proposed action: the applicant and co-applicants must have the operational resources (technical, management) and the professional skills and qualifications needed to successfully complete the proposed action, as well as the ability to implement it. The applicant and co-applicants must have a strong track record of competence and experience in the field of social security and in particular in the type of action proposed. The verification of operational capacity does not apply to public bodies Proof of operational capacity In order to demonstrate the operational capacity, the applicant and partners are invited to provide the following documentation: - The CV of the project coordinator and the CV of at least 4 additional key resources that they would like to use in the project; - A list of main previous projects and activities performed and connected to the actions to be carried out - this requirement does not apply to public bodies; - A written declaration signed by the project manager certifying the professional competence of the team performing the tasks associated with the action for which funding is requested. April

13 8. Award criteria Proposals fulfilling the selection, eligibility and selection criteria as indicated in the previous chapter will be assessed against the following award criteria: AWARD CRITERIA The extent, to which the proposed action ensures coverage of Member States, EEA countries and Croatia. For assessing this criterion the following will be taken into consideration: - Number of represented Member States - Representativeness of institutions for a Member State or a certain sector of a Member State (to this extent the following factors are considered: whether the institutions have a national/ regional/sectorial jurisdiction or coordinating capacity, whether the institutions are able to provide a credential letter/letter of intent from its line ministry/coordinating body or authorities stating that the applicant institutions act on behalf of national/regional interests or benefits of support at national/regional level). - Efficiency of the consortium composition (a consortium composed of an extremely high number of institutions with limited coverage of the territory or social security sectors of the concerned Member States will be considered less efficient than a consortium composed of a smaller number of institutions with a higher coverage of the participating Member States) The extent, to which the action ensures transnational activities, supports and creates synergies and has a multiplier effect. The extent, to which the action takes into consideration the EESSI project objectives and needs as well as the wider multi-annual strategy for implementing the EESSI project and to which the action meets the objective and priorities of the call for proposals and creates added value. POINTS For assessing this criterion, the following will be taken into consideration: - Understanding of the nature, context, constraints and expected objectives of the Framework Partnership Agreement The extent, to which there is a clear and well-supported diagnosis of the issues addressed in the proposal, adequate and effective methods used for 15 addressing these issues and a clear indication of the proposal's contribution to the objectives of the call; The clarity, relevance and feasibility of the proposed action plan, including an outline timetable and methodology, and in particular its capacity to achieve the planned objectives through well-identified and well-planned activities, proposals, initiatives. 20 For the assessment of this criterion it will be taken into consideration that the applicants are asked to submit only a high level action plan. Therefore it is acknowledged that the proposal may not contain all details of the proposed activities. However the application will be assessed on the capacity of the proposed methodology and outline of action to deliver a detailed action plan together with the Specific Proposal. The efficiency and adequacy of the management, coordination and reporting structures between the applicants and in relation with the team of experts; The following aspects will also be taken into consideration in the assessment of this criterion - The extent to which there is clear presentation of the intended work organisation 20 - The envisaged set-up of the management and coordination structures - The way and frequency in which the reporting process (on progress of activities, consumption of resources etc.) will be organised - Effectiveness of quality assurance processes The extent to which the applicants plan to ensure sustainability after the 5 end of the EU funding for activities where such sustainability is relevant; Maximum points that can be allocated 100 April

14 In order to be considered for the award of the Framework Partnership agreement, the proposals must obtain the minimum of 60% of the total (100) available points. Proposals with the highest scores will be awarded in order of merit. The Commission intends to award only one Framework Partnership Agreement. 9. Submission of proposals 9.1. Application form The compulsory on-line grant application form is an electronic form which must be filled by using the Internet Web system "SWIM" at the following internet address: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/swim/external/displaywelcome.do This system allows the introduction, edition, validation, printing and submission of the grant application form. Once the application is submitted electronically, a print out of an exemplar has to be signed by the legal representative of the organization submitting the proposal and be sent to the Commission as per point 9.2. After submission of the application electronically no changes are possible. At the above quoted web site other requested forms, the financial guidelines for applicants and other useful documents can be found Submission formalities The deadline for submission of proposals is 9/08/2013 Please send your covering letter of application, together with all the documents listed in the checklist, as signed originals as well as one copy of all these documents (in total: 2 sets of documents), by the deadline of 9/08/2013, either: a) by registered mail (date of postmark serving as proof of timely shipment) to the following address Call for proposals VP/2013/004 European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Directorate-General Unit EMPL-B.4 J-54 02/ Brussels Belgium April

15 or b) by courier service (date of deposit slip serving as proof of timely shipment) to the following address Call for proposals VP/2013/004 European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Directorate-General Unit EMPL-B.4 J-54 02/057 Service central de reception du courier Avenue du Bourget, Brussels Belgium or c) delivered by hand, in person or by an authorised representative (date of acknowledgement of receipt by the Commission service serving as proof for timely submission) to the following address Call for proposals VP/2013/004 European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Directorate-General Unit EMPL-B.4 J-54 02/057 Service central de reception du courier Avenue du Bourget, Brussels Belgium In case of hand-delivery, please keep a receipt as proof of submission, signed and dated by the official in the Commission s central mail department who took delivery. This department is open from to from Monday to Thursday and from to on Friday; it is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and on Commission holidays. Please note that for security reasons, hand deliveries (including courier services) are not accepted in other Commission buildings Presentation of applications Regarding the presentation of the application file, it is recommended to: - follow the order of documents as listed in the checklist in Annex; - print the documents double-sided, where possible; - use only 2-hole folders (please do not bind or glue). If an applicant submits more than one proposal, each one must be submitted separately Contacts Contacts between the awarding authority and potential applicants can only take place in certain circumstances and under the following conditions: a) Before the submission deadline At the request of the applicant, the Commission may provide information solely for the purpose of clarifying the nature of the call. April

16 Any requests for additional information must be made in writing by only to the address given below. Requests for additional information should reach the Commission at the latest 5 days before the deadline for submission. After this date, the Commission does neither commit to provide a timely answer nor to publish the corresponding information. The Commission may, on its own initiative, inform interested parties of any error, inaccuracy, omission or other clerical error in the text of the call for proposals. Any additional information including that referred to above will be published on the Internet in accordance with the various call for proposal-documents. b) After the submission deadline If clarification is requested of if obvious clerical errors in the proposal need to be corrected, the Commission may contact the applicant provided the terms of the proposal are not modified as a result. If the Authorising Officer finds that those proposals, which have been listed for award need limited adaptations, the applicant(s) concerned will receive a formal letter setting out the requested modifications. Any such modification must stay within the limits of the request. This phase will not lead to a reevaluation of the proposal(s) but a proposal may be rejected if the applicant does not provide a positive follow-up to the request. Contact address: 9.5. Accepted and rejected applications Applications will be examined by an Evaluation Committee, which will meet, in principle, within 40 working days following the deadline for submission indicated in point 9.2. Only proposals which satisfy the eligibility and the selection criteria will be assessed against the award criteria. The Evaluation Committee will draw up a list of proposals recommended for funding. Rejected applications The European Commission will notify unsuccessful applicants in writing no later than one month after the meeting of the Evaluation Committee at which the application was examined. Requests concerning the progress of dossiers sent prior to the elapse of this time period will not be answered. Selected applications The successful applicant will receive two original copies of the Framework Partnership Agreement for acceptance and signature. Both these copies must be sent back to the Commission, which will then return one of them once it has been signed by both parties. April

17 Annex Checklist: The Evaluation Committee will not examine applications lacking one or more of the following documents: Official covering letter of application quoting the reference number of the call for proposals (VP/2013/004) with the original signature of the legal representative of the applicant organization. Print-out of the duly completed and submitted on-line application form, dated and with the original signature of the legal representative. NOTE: The on-line form must first be electronically submitted before printing. After the electronic submission no further changes to the application are possible. The detailed and signed print-out must be submitted as set in point 9.2. A signed declaration of honour (to be found on-line as an annex to the application form) to be provided by the lead applicant and by each individual co-applicant, certifying that entity is not in one of the situations listed in Article and 107 to 109 of the Financial Regulation as well as the financial and operational capacity. This must have the original signature of the legal representative of each entity. A letter of mandate from each co-applicant. This mandate must follow the template provided, be written on the official letterhead paper of the organisation and have the original signature of the entity's legal representative. It must also be submitted electronically in annex to the on-line application form. For affiliated entities only: a document providing proof of the legal and/or capital link with the lead applicant or partner entity. "Financial identification" forms duly completed by the lead applicant only with the original signature of the account holder and the original signature and stamp of the bank. The financial identification form can be found annexed to the on-line application form. NOTE: The bank account must be held in the name of the applicant. Applications cannot be accepted with an account held in the name of an individual. "Legal entity" forms for the lead applicant and each co-applicant, duly completed with the original signature of the legal representative of the entity. The legal entities form can be found annexed to the on-line application form. The lead applicant and co-applicants must also provide: a copy of the certificate of official registration or other official document attesting to the establishment of the entity (where this exists) not necessary for public bodies and international organizations; a copy of the articles of association/statutes or equivalent, proving the eligibility of the organization; a copy of a document confirming the applicant's tax or VAT number, if available. An outline action plan for the duration of the Framework Partnership Agreement, signed by the legal representative of the lead applicant. This document must be provided as an annex to the online application form by using the mandatory structure for proposals (available online, together with this document). The detailed description of the action and work program should be submitted in English, French or German. A signed letter of commitment of each co-applicant, explaining the nature of the co-applicants's involvement. These letters of commitment shall be annexed to the on-line submission form and shall be submitted in English, French or German. A written declaration signed by the project manager certifying the professional competence of the team performing the tasks associated with the action for which funding is requested. This declaration shall be accompanied by the Curriculum vitae of the project manager indicating clearly the current employer with whom there exists either a permanent or temporary contract of employment. The declaration must include also the curriculum vitae of the 4 key experts who will perform the tasks associated with the action. The most recent balance sheets of the lead applicant and each co-applicant (not applicable for public bodies). The balance sheet, by definition, must include assets and liabilities. The entity shall specify the currency used. The external audit reports for the lead applicant and each co-applicant, produced by an approved auditor, certifying the accounts of the entity for the last two financial years available (not applicable for public bodies). April

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