1. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE OF THIS CALL 1.1. The Consumer Programme
On 26 February 2014, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Regulation establishing a programme of Community action in the field of consumer policy (2014- 2020)1. The Consumer Programme is intended to complement, support and monitor the policies of the Member States and to contribute to protecting the health, safety and economic and legal interests of consumers, as well as to promote their right to information, to education and to organise themselves in order to safeguard their interests, supporting the integration of such consumer interests into other policy areas.
Its specific objectives are:
(a) Safety: to consolidate and enhance product safety
(b) Consumer information and education and support to consumer organisations (c) Rights and redress: to develop and reinforce consumer rights
(d) Enforcement: to support enforcement of consumer rights
1.2. The Commission’s annual work programme for 2016
On 2 December 2015 the Commission adopted a Decision concerning the adoption of the annual work programme in the area of consumer policy for 2016.
The Commission’s annual work programme for 2016 sets out details of the financing mechanisms and of the priority areas for actions in implementing the Consumer Programme (Commission Decision C (2016) 8386 of 02/12/2015)2.
1.3. Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency
Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (hereafter Chafea) replaces and supersedes, from 1st January 2014 the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC). Chafea is, inter alia, entrusted by the European Commission with the implementation of parts of the Consumer programme and will be in charge of this invitation.
1.4. The present call for proposals
The present call for proposals relates to the financing mechanisms for specific joint actions between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws, in the framework of objective I Action 2 of the Consumer Programme
2014-2020: "Coordination of market surveillance and enforcement actions on product safety with regard to Directive 2001/95/EC, and actions to improve consumer services safety".
In particular, the present call relates to specific joint actions in the area of the safety of non-food consumer products and services, under Directive 2001/95/EC.
The proposed joint actions should improve the effective application of Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety (GPSD) through co-operation between national authorities responsible for the assessment, market surveillance and enforcement of the safety of non-food consumer products and services.
The area for funding, the exclusion, eligibility, selection, and award criteria for funding, the financial provisions and the procedure to apply are described hereafter.
The Commission’s annual work programme sets out the specific priority areas for action to be implemented through this call for proposals.
Under this call, the joint actions may cover one or more of the following aspects of administrative cross-border cooperation activities related to surveillance and enforcement of European Union safety requirements for non-food consumer products and services: assessment of risks posed by non-food consumer products and services; product testing; market surveillance operations; exchange of expertise and development and exchange of best practices related to risk assessment; meetings and workshops included in the project.
In particular, the joint actions may cover the execution of joint or co-ordinated activities, the exchange of information, the development of a common methodology approach, protocols and check-lists and database development work.
In addition, the joint actions shall cover the development and implementation of an effective communication strategy regarding the achieved results and integrate online surveillance issues into the specific products as well as horizontal activities.
The awarding authority will only accept proposals for specific joint actions which fall under the scope specified in this call for proposals.
3. TIMETABLE & DEADLINE
The deadline for submission is 5 July 2016, 17:00:00 Hs. (Brussels local time)
Publication of the call
Deadline for submitting the application
5 July 2016
Evaluation period (indicative)
End of July 2016
Notification letter (results of the evaluation)
End of August 2016
Signature of grant agreement (indicative)
Starting date of the action (indicative)
Implementation period: As a general rule, the maximum duration of joint actions ranges from 12 to 36 months. The indicative starting date and duration of the joint action shall be specified in the grant application.
4. BUDGET AVAILABLE
The total amount available for this call is EUR 2.500.000.
The contribution will, in principle, be up to 50% and in no event exceed 70% of the total cost of the action in case of actions of exceptional utility (see section 11 Financial provisions).
5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
Applications must be submitted via the online submission system before the deadline specified under point 3.
Applications must be drafted in one the EU official languages. However, if the proposal is submitted in another language than English, you are strongly encouraged to accompany the proposal with an English translation, in order to facilitate assessment by the evaluators, as the working language of the Agency is English.
6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA 6.1. Eligible applicant
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria set out in section 2.1.1 of the 2016 annual work programme:
o Beneficiaries eligible for grants may be Member States’ authorities responsible for consumer affairs and corresponding authorities of third countries notified to the Commission in accordance with Directive 2001/95/EC by a Member State or by a third country referred to in Article 7 of the Consumer Programme 2014-2020, or non-profit-making bodies expressly designated by those authorities for that purpose.
o The grant application is eligible if submitted by:
- legal person(s),
- entity/ies which do(es) not have legal personality under the applicable national law, provided that its/their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on behalf of the entity and offer(s) guarantees for the protection of the Union's financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
The application shall state the legal status of the applicant.
6.2. Eligible countries
Only applications from entities established in one of the following countries are eligible:
o EU Member States;
o Article 7 of the Consumer Programme 2014-2020 states that participation in the Programme shall be open to: the countries of the European Free Trade Association participating in the European Economic Area (EFTA/EEA countries), in accordance with the conditions established in the Agreement on the European Economic Area. Therefore, all reference in this invitation to the Member States, their representatives, authorities and bodies must be read as also referring to the EFTA/EEA countries under the applicable conditions.
6.3. Eligible activities
The proposed joint actions should improve the effective application of Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety (GPSD) through cooperation between national authorities responsible for the assessment, market surveillance and enforcement of the safety of non-food consumer products and services.
The joint actions may cover one or more of the following aspects of administrative cross- border co-operation activities related to surveillance and enforcement of European Union safety requirements for non-food consumer products and services:
o Assessment of risks posed by non-food consumer products [and services];
o Product testing;
o Market surveillance operations;
o Exchange of expertise and development and exchange of best practices related to risk assessment;
o Meetings and workshops included in the project.
In particular, the joint actions may cover the execution of joint or co-ordinated activities, the exchange of information, the development of a common methodology approach, protocols and check-lists and database development work.
Authorities and other eligible bodies interested in applying for a joint action shall identify and agree among themselves the objectives, content and planning of the activities they intend to carry out in line with the text of this call for proposals.
As a rule, the maximum duration of project is 36 months. The grant application must specify the scheduled starting date (if possible) and duration of the action.
The compliance with the eligibility criteria will be assessed based on the application content.
7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA
7.1. Exclusion from participation
Applicants will be excluded from participating in the call for proposals procedure if they are in any of the following situations:
(a) the economic operator is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an
arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;
(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the economic operator is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the contracting authority is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;
(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the economic operator is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the economic operator belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following: (i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract; (ii) entering into agreement with other economic operators with the aim of distorting competition; (iii) violating intellectual property rights; (iv) attempting to influence the decision-making process of the contracting authority during the procurement procedure; (v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the procurement procedure;
(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the economic operator is guilty of any of the following: (i) fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995; (ii) corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the economic operator is established or the country of the performance of the contract; (iii) participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA; (iv) money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council; (v) terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision; (vi) child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;
(e) the economic operator has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract financed by the budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;
(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the economic operator has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/953.
7.2. Exclusion from award:
Applicants will not be granted financial assistance if, in the course of the grant award procedure, they:
(a) are subject to a conflict of interest;
(b) are guilty of misrepresenting the information required by the contracting authority
as a condition of participation in the grant award procedure or fail to supply this information;
(c) find themselves in one of the situations of exclusion, referred to in the above section.
In order to demonstrate compliance with the exclusion criteria, the applicant has to check the relevant box in the electronic submission system certifying that it is not in one of the situations referred to in articles 106(1) and 107 to 109 of the Financial Regulation, as amended. The applicant should follow the instructions in the participant portal.
8. SELECTION CRITERIA
8.1. Financial viability
The selection criteria are set out in point 2.1.1 of the Commission’s annual Work Programme for 2016.
The applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding as well as the necessary professional resources, skills and experience required in order to carry out the proposed actions. The verification of the financial capacity will not apply to public bodies.
In case co-funding will be awarded, the financial viability of all beneficiaries will be assessed, except if:
a) the EU-contribution for the coordinator / other beneficiary is ≤ EUR 60 000
b) the beneficiary is a public body
The documents that will be requested when assessing the financial viability include:
• The annual accounts (including the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement) for the past financial year for which the accounts were closed (for newly created entities, the business plan shall be submitted to replace the closed accounts);
In addition for a coordinator or other beneficiary requesting an EU-contribution of ≥ EUR 750 000:
• An audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available.
8.2. Operational capacity
To be awarded a grant, applicants must have the necessary operational resources, skills and professional experience to complete the proposed action.
As evidence the CV of the coordinator and a general description of all organisations involved in the proposed action must be provided.
9. AWARD CRITERIA
The award criteria are set out in point 2.1.1 of the Commission’s 2016 Work Programme. A maximum of 100 points can be attributed to a proposal. Proposals have to reach a minimum of 60 points to be accepted.
Actions shall be ranked on the basis of the award criteria below. Financial contribution shall be awarded to the highest scoring actions up to available budget.
(1) Potential benefits of the cooperation activities in terms of increased effectiveness of market surveillance and enforcement in the area covered (20 points);
(2) Potential impact on consumer safety (risk of migration, exposure and product spread across the internal market, including imported articles) (15 points);
(3) Degree to which the estimated budget is clear and well detailed for the expenses in relation to the corresponding activities carried out in the joint project (20 points);
(4) Balanced and fair distribution of tasks and activities between the participants in joint actions (15 points);
(5) Clarity and quality of the objectives, work plan including communication activities, organisation and description of the results and benefits expected (30 points).
10. LEGAL COMMITMENTS
Following the evaluation, Chafea establishes a list of proposals recommended for funding, ranked according to the total number of points awarded. Depending on budget available, the highest ranked proposal(s) will be awarded co-funding.
In the event of a grant awarded, the coordinator is invited to enter in an adaptation period via an electronic submission system. If successful, this should result in a grant agreement, drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of funding.
Grant agreement: must be signed electronically first by the coordinator on behalf of the consortium and then by Chafea. All co-beneficiaries must accede to the grant agreement by signing it electronically.
11. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
Applicants need to conform to the principles and rules as set out by the EU Financial Regulation, i.e. the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and the related rules of application of the financial regulation and most importantly provisions under Title VI (Grants).
This section provides information on the general aspects of financial management of a grant in order to have a better understanding of the applicable principles and rules that need to be taken into account within the context of preparing and submitting your application
As already stated earlier, the EC contribution will, in principle, be up to 50% and in no event exceed 70% of the total cost of the action in the case of exceptional utility.
Financial contributions of up to 50% are permitted for joint actions with the participation of bodies from at least 5 Member States.
The effective implementation of the General Product Safety Directive will be reinforced if a large number of eligible bodies from different Member States are involved in the action. Actions which involve a large number of Member States are considered of exceptional utility.
Actions shall be considered as of exceptional utility where they involve at least 10 Member States taking part in the European network of Member States’ competent authorities for product safety referred to in Article 10 of Directive 2001/95/EC or they contribute to the implementation of market surveillance activities in the field of product safety that have been provided for in a Union legal act.
11.1. General Principles applicable to grants providing EU-co-funding
Grants awarded under the Consumer programme must comply with the following principles:
a) Principle of non-cumulative award
An action may only receive one grant from the EU budget.
In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. To ensure this, applicants shall indicate the sources and amounts of Union funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action or for their functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.
b) Principle of non-retroactivity
No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.
A grant may be awarded for an action, which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed.
In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.
c) Principle of co-financing
Co-financing means that the resources which are necessary to carry out the action may not be entirely provided by the EU grant.
Co-financing of the action may take the form of:
d) No-profit principle
Grants shall not have the purpose or effect of producing profit. Profit is defined as surplus of the receipts over eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary at the time of payment request.
The estimated budget of the action is to be attached to the application form. It must have revenue and expenditure in balance. The budget must be drawn up in euros.
Where the implementation of the action requires the award of procurement contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must award the contract to the bid offering best value for money or the lowest price (as appropriate), avoiding conflicts of interests and retain the documentation for the event of an audit.
For public bodies: entities acting in their capacity of contracting authorities in the meaning of Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2014/25/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors and repealing Directive 2004/17/EC Text with EEA relevance shall abide by the applicable national public procurement rules.
Sub-contracting, i.e. the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action as described in the technical proposal must satisfy the conditions applicable to any implementation contract (as specified above) 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;
- it must be clearly stated in the proposal.
11.2. Form of the grant
The grant is a partial reimbursement of the action's total eligible costs at the reimbursement rate defined above. The grant is expressed both as a maximum amount and also as a pre-defined percentage of the eligible costs.
In other words, the grant has a double ceiling: the maximum amount and the reimbursement rate are applied on the total eligible cost.
Definitions of Eligible and Ineligible costs
Eligible costs are actually incurred by the beneficiary of a grant and meet all the criteria
indicated in Article 6 of the grant agreement.
- Eligible (direct and indirect) costs are indicated in the grant agreement (see Articles 6.1., 6.2. and 6.3.);
- Ineligible costs are indicated in the grant agreement (see Article 6.4.). Please note that contributions in kind are not considered eligible costs.
Determination of the final grant amount
Chafea establishes the final amount of the grant to the coordinator and the other beneficiaries after completion of the action, and upon approval of the final technical and financial reports containing the documents indicated in the grant agreement.
The final grant amount is calculated as indicated in the grant agreement (see Article 5).
EU grants may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit. Profit shall be defined as a surplus of the receipts over the eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary, when the request is made for payment of the balance. In this respect, where a profit is made, Chafea shall be entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the final rate of reimbursement of eligible actual costs approved by the Agency.
11.3. Payment scheme
Payments will be made to the coordinator. The coordinator must distribute the payments between the beneficiaries without unjustified delay.
Chafea will transfer a pre-financing payment (see Article 16.2) to the coordinator within 30 days either from the entry into force of the Agreement (see Article 42) or from 10 days before the starting date of the action (see Article 3), provided all requested guarantees have been received, whichever is the latest. All other beneficiaries have to sign the accession forms before the coordinator distribute the pre-financing.
Chafea will make an interim payment (see Article 16.3) to reimburse the actual eligible costs incurred to implement the action during a given reporting period. The number of interim payments will be set in the grant agreement. Interim payments are subject to the approval of the periodic report with the corresponding deliverables and the declaration of actual costs incurred by the beneficiaries. The maximum amount of the interim payments
(including the amount of pre-financing) is limited to the 90% of the maximum grant amount as set out in the grant agreement.
Chafea will establish the amount of the final payment to be made to the coordinator on the basis of the calculation of the final grant amount (see section 11.2 above). If the total amount of earlier payments is greater than the final grant amount, the payment of the balance takes the form of a recovery.
If the total amount of earlier payments is lower than the final grant amount, the Agency will pay the balance. Payment is subject to the approval of the final report.
For more details, please see Article 16 of the grant agreement.
11.4. Pre-financing guarantee
In the event that the applicant's financial capacity is not satisfactory, measures may be taken in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment. These may include requesting for a pre-financing guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre- financing or split the payment into several instalments.
If requested, the financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the Member State of the European Union. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, the authorising officer responsible may agree that a bank or financial institution established in that third country may provide the guarantee if he 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. Amounts blocked in bank accounts shall not be accepted as financial guarantees.
The guarantee may be replaced by a joint and 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.
The guarantee shall be released as the pre-financing is cleared against payments of balances to the beneficiary, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement (Article 16.2).
No financial guarantee will be requested for a beneficiary receiving an EU contribution of EUR ≤60. 000 (low value grants).
12.1. By the beneficiaries
Beneficiaries must clearly acknowledge the European Union’s contribution in all publications or in conjunction with activities for which the grant is used in line with Article 22 of the grant agreement.
In this respect, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name and emblem of the European Union on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed project.
To do this they must use the text, the emblem and the disclaimer available at http://ec.europa.eu/eahc/management/visual_identity.html .
If this requirement is not fully complied with, the beneficiary’s grant may be reduced in accordance with the provisions of the grant agreement.
12.2. By the Executive Agency / the Commission
With the exception of scholarships paid to natural persons and other direct support paid to natural persons in most need, all information relating to grants awarded in the course of a financial year shall be published on an internet site of the European Union institutions no later than the 30 June of the year following the financial year in which the grants were awarded.
The following information will be published:
name of the beneficiary;
address of the beneficiary when the latter is a legal person, region where the beneficiary is a natural person, as defined on NUTS 2 level4 if he/she is domiciled within EU or equivalent if domiciled outside EU;
subject of the grant;
Upon a reasoned and duly substantiated request by the beneficiary, the publication shall be waived if such disclosure risks threatening the rights and freedoms of individuals concerned as protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union or harm the commercial interests of the beneficiaries.
13. DATA PROTECTION
The reply to any call for proposals involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and CV). Such data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 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 indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested are required to evaluate the application in accordance with the specifications of the call for proposal will be processed solely for that purpose by the Executive Agency / the Commission. Details concerning the processing of personal data are available on the privacy statement at:
Your personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES) if you are in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106 of the Financial Regulation5.
14. SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
A formal application for funding for specific joint actions to improve the effective application of Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety (GPSD) shall be submitted to Chafea via the online application tools developed under the Horizon 2020 Research programme.
The application form is only available online; proposals must be submitted via the Participant Portal and before the call deadline.
No modification to the application is allowed once the deadline for submission has elapsed. However, if there is a need to clarify certain aspects or for the correction of clerical mistakes, the Executive Agency may contact the applicant for this purpose during the evaluation process.
Applicants will be informed in writing about the results of the selection process.
Before submitting a proposal:
(1) Find the call:
(2) Create an account to submit a proposal:
(3) Register all partners via the beneficiary registry:
Information on how to access the online application tool will be available in call section of the Chafea website:
In submitting a proposal, the applicant accepts the procedures and conditions as described in this call and in the documents to which it refers.
For issues regarding the online submission tools please contact the IT helpdesk set-up for this purpose via the participant portal web-site.
For non-IT related questions please contact Chafea’s helpdesk at:
In all correspondence related to this call (e.g. an information request) reference must be clearly made to this specific call. Once the electronic exchange system allocates a proposal ID, the applicant must use this number in all subsequent correspondence.
After the deadline for submission modifications to the application are impossible.