1. CALL CONTEXT
The general context for this call for proposals is defined in Section 2.1 of the 2016 CEF Telecom work programme as published on the call page on the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) website.
2. BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
The background and rationale for this call for proposals are defined in Section 3.3.1 of the 2016 work programme.
The priority outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in Section 126.96.36.199 of the 2016 work programme, namely to integrate the eID and/or eSignature DSI in an existing e- service/system/online platform operating cross border to enable private and public sector entities (including local administrations) to accept issued eIDs and eSignatures from any Member State.
For eID, the primary focus will be on a few selected private sector areas presenting potential high volume cross-border transactions (i.e banking, electronic/Internet payment services, other
financial services, insurance and aviation). However, other private sectors in which there is a demonstrated, realisable benefit are not excluded from the scope of this call.
The uptake and use of eSignature will be primarily supported amongst public sector entities involved in the establishment and operation of the points of single contact under the Services Directive as well as by public sector bodies in view to comply with the requirements set in the eIDAS Regulation. Notably, this involves the integration of the tools provided by the eSignature DSI by public sector bodies in order to facilitate the cross-border completion of electronic procedures by companies applying for administrative decisions with public administrations of other Member States. Priority will be given to the public and private sector bodies which manage the points of single contact under the Services Directive.
4. RESULTS EXPECTED FROM THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
The benefits and expected outcomes of this call for proposals are defined in Section 188.8.131.52 of the 2016 work programme. This call will contribute in particular to:
Increasing the widespread uptake and use of eID by the private sector, in particular banking, electronic/internet payment services, other financial services, insurance, and aviation which have the highest potential for take up in domestic and cross border scenarios and which are potentially the largest users and contributors to the Digital Single Market.
Improving the cross-border acceptance of eSignatures by public sector bodies, promoting business mobility and increasing the interoperability of eSignatures.
The indicative amount to be allocated on the basis of this call for proposals to projects of common interest in the field of trans-European telecommunications for eID & eSignature generic services is €4.5 million. Out of this budget, €0.5 million is indicatively expected to be allocated to eSignature proposals.
Date of publication of call for proposal
12 May 2016
Deadline for the submission of proposals
15 September 2016 (17:00.00 Brussels time)
Evaluation of proposals
September-December 2016 (indicative)
Consultation of the CEF Committee
January 2017 (indicative)
Adoption of the Selection Decision
February 2017 (indicative)
Preparation and signature of grant agreements
As of February 2017 (indicative)
7. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
A proposal will not be evaluated if at least one of the following situations occurs:
8. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
8.1 Eligible applicants
In accordance with the 2016 work programme and pursuant to Article 9 of the CEF Regulation, only those proposals submitted by one of the following types of applicants are eligible:
One or more Member States;
With the agreement of the Member States or EEA countries concerned, international organisations, joint undertakings, or public or private undertakings or bodies established in Member States.
In accordance with section 4.3.1 of the work programme, European Free Trade Association
(EFTA) countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) may participate7 in the call for proposals, even when not explicitly mentioned, with the same rights, obligations and requirements as EU Member States. At the moment of the publication of this call, these conditions apply to Norway and Iceland only.8
Where necessary to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest and where duly motivated, third countries and entities established in third countries may participate in actions contributing to the projects of common interest. They may not receive funding under the CEF Regulation, except where it is indispensable to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest.
Acceding states and candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy may also participate in the sector of the CEF covering telecommunications infrastructure in accordance with agreements signed with the EU. As at the time of the publication of this call no such agreements have been signed, the same conditions as for third countries apply to acceding states and candidate countries.
Third countries and entities established in third countries may only participate as part of a consortium with applicants from EU/EEA countries. The application must contain the agreement of the Member State concerned by the proposed Action and a declaration from the European partner involved in the proposal on why the participation of the third country applicant is indispensable. Applicants that are entities established in a third country must also provide proof of the support of the third country authorities concerned.
Proposals may be submitted by entities which do not have legal personality under the applicable national law, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf and offer guarantee for the protection of the EU's financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
Proposals submitted by natural persons are not eligible.
Any applicant that cannot provide the agreement of the EU Member State or EEA country concerned will not be eligible.
Applicants may designate affiliated entities within the meaning of Article 122(2)(b) of the Financial Regulation9, for the purpose of supporting the implementation of the action submitted for funding. Such affiliated entities must comply with the eligibility criteria for applicants.
For multi-applicant proposals, a coordinator must be designated.
The exclusion criteria are defined in Annex 2 of the 2016 work programme. Applicants must certify that they are not in any of the situations listed below:
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 contracting authority or those of the country where the contract 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 organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity, where such illegal activity is detrimental to the Union’s financial interests;
they are subject to a financial or administrative penalty referred to in Article 109(1) of the Financial Regulation;
they are subject to a conflict of interests;
they are guilty of misrepresenting the information required by the contracting authority as
a condition of participation in the procurement procedure or have failed to supply that information.
Proposals failing to meet the above criteria will not be further evaluated.
These same exclusion criteria also apply to affiliated entities. Applicants and their affiliated entities, if applicable, must certify that they are not in one of the situations listed above.
8.2 Eligible actions
Only actions which can be identified as "projects of common interest" as defined in the Telecom Guidelines may receive EU financial assistance.
Proposed actions also must comply with eligibility criterion regarding consortium composition, which must consist of at least 4 entities from one or more Member State(s).