Adequate, well integrated and reliable energy networks are a prerequisite for an integrated and competitive internal energy market. The aim of the Connecting Europe Facility1 is to accelerate investment in the field of trans-European networks and to leverage funding from public and private sectors. While the bulk of the investment needed in the energy sector should be delivered by the market and its costs recovered through tariffs, EU financing may be needed for specific projects with wider regional and European benefits which are unable to attract market-based financing.
In this context and on the basis of the multiannual work programme adopted on 17 March 20162, a call for proposals is launched to support projects of common interest as defined in the TEN-E Regulation3 last amended by the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/89 of 18.11.2015.
As indicated in section 3 of the Annex to the multiannual work programme, this call for proposals aims to enable projects of common interest to be prepared and implemented within the framework of the trans-European networks policy in the energy sector. In particular, the call shall contribute
to supporting energy infrastructure projects of common interest that have significant societal benefits and that ensure greater solidarity among Member States, but which do not receive adequate financing from the market. Special focus shall be placed on the efficient use of public investment.
3. EXPECTED RESULTS FROM THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
As indicated in section 5 of the Annex to the multi-annual work programme, it is expected that the financial assistance contributes to the further development and implementation of projects of common interest in electricity and gas, helping to achieve the broader energy policy objectives of:
increasing competitiveness by promoting the further integration of the internal energy market and the interoperability of electricity and gas networks across borders;
enhancing the Union security of energy supply, and
contributing to sustainable development and protection of the environment, inter alia by the integration of energy from renewable sources and by the development of smart energy networks.
Furthermore, in accordance with recital 57 of the CEF Regulation, this multiannual work programme aims at directing the major part of the financial assistance to electricity projects, subject to market uptake, the quality and maturity of actions proposed and their financing requirements, while fully recognising the importance of the gas projects on the PCI list.
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 energy infrastructure is €600 million.
Date of publication of call for proposals : 30 June 2016
Deadline for the submission of proposals: 8 November 2016 (17:00 Brussels time)
Evaluation of proposals : November 2016 - January 2017 (indicative)
Consultation of CEF Coordination Committee; Information of European Parliament : February 2017 (indicative)
Adoption of the Selection Decision : March 2017 (indicative)
Preparation and signature of individual grant Agreements : As from March 2017 (indicative)
6. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
A proposal will not be evaluated if at least one of the following situations occurs:
It is not submitted electronically in the TENtec Information System eSubmission module4.
In this respect, proposals or part(s) of proposals submitted by email or in hard copy shall not be admissible
It is submitted after the deadline for submission of proposals (see sections 5 'Timetable' and 13.2 'Submission of proposals').
The proposal is incomplete, i.e. any form A, B, C or D is missing.
The proposal is not duly signed by the applicant(s). E-signatures supported by verifiable valid certificates5 in the meaning of the electronic signatures Directive (1999/93/EC)6 shall be accepted.
7. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
7.1 Eligible applicants
Pursuant to Article 9 of the CEF Regulation7, 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 concerned, international organisations, joint
undertakings, or public or private undertakings or bodies established in Member States.
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 except where it is indispensable to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest.
Applications presented by third countries and entities established in third countries must contain the agreement of the Member State concerned by the proposed Action and a declaration on why the participation of the applicant is indispensable. Applicants that are entities established in a third country8 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 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 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, it is recommended that an applicant is designated to coordinate the application.
7.2. Exclusion criteria
In line with Articles 106 to 108 and 131 of the Financial Regulation and Article 141 of the Rules of Application10, applicants will be excluded from participating in the call for proposals procedure 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 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 European Union’s financial interests;
they are subject to a financial or administrative penalty referred to in Article 109(1) of the Financial Regulation.
The cases referred to in point (v) above cover:
cases of fraud as referred to in Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the EU financial interests established by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;
cases of corruption as referred to in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Union or officials of Member States of the European Union, established by the Council Act of 26 May 1997;
cases of participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2(1) of Joint Action 98/733/JHA of the Council;
cases of money laundering as defined in Article 1 of Council Directive 91/308/EEC.
Applicants will not be granted financial assistance if, in the course of the grant award procedure:
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 grant award procedure or have failed to supply that information;
find themselves in one of the situations of exclusion, referred to above.
The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities. Applicants and their affiliated entities, if applicable, must certify that they are not in one of the situations listed above.
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