1 How do we want to live? Religion and Democracy
In March 2014 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Regulation No 230/2014 establishing an instrument contributing to stability and peace (IcSP), which replaces the former Instrument for Stability. Through this instrument the European Union can support actions in the areas of crisis response, conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis-preparedness, and global and transregional threats.
The current Call for Proposals is implemented under the conflict prevention, the peace-building and crisis preparedness component of the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, i.e. Article 4 of the IcSP Regulation, which foresees EU support – among other things – for:
The current Call for Proposals is further implemented under the Action Document "Support to in-country civil society actors in conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis preparedness" of the 2015 Annual Action Programme (AAP) for the IcSP – Article 4.
The overall objective indicated in this Action Document is "to support (sub-national) and regional initiatives in countries affected by / or emerging from conflict or whose peace and stability is at risk and build in-country sustainable capacities for effective conflict management and peace-building".
The Document further states that activities under this Action should create restore or consolidate appropriate ways, tools and mechanisms at local, national and regional level to prevent conflicts and contribute to durable peace. The selected initiatives should contribute, inter alia, to a) enhancement of the overall capacity or relevant in-country civil society actors to prevent conflicts, respond to crises and build peace; b) improving in-country civil society actors' networking and advocacy skill; c) fostering and facilitating dialogue between civil society actors and local national, regional and international institutions.
The current Call for Proposals refers to Priority area 1: "Youth affected by Conflicts/: Young people as agents for peace".
Religion has become a prominent subject in Kyrgyzstan's public policies. The objective of the State policy on religions has been formulated in the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2013-2017 (January 2013) as follows: to form a system of interaction between state, religious and civil society institutions that will foster inter-religious understanding and religious tolerance, and to develop effective ways and means to counter religious extremism. The analytical part of the same section describes as one of the main challenges that Kyrgyzstan has become a place, where the interests of diverse foreign religious-political projects collide. The Strategy states further that the growing religious extremism in the world as well as in Central Asia represents a threat to the national security. The "Kyrgyz Republic State Concept in the area of religion for 2014 – 2020" (November 2014) concretised ideas laid out in the Strategy. The formulated objectives of the state policy include the protection of the freedom of religion and belief on the one hand and countering religious radicalisation and extremism on the other. The State Commission for Religious Affairs developed a plan of action for the implementation of the Concept for the period 2015-2020.
In a nutshell, policy papers and implementation of policies are strongly driven by the aim to foster the positive role religion can play in a democratic society as well as to prevent radicalisation and counter religious and violent extremism.
Given the policies and the developments in the world and in Kyrgyzstan, media reports touch on the subject of religion often in the context of radicalisation, extremism and violence, or more concretely on cases of detention, confiscation of material or sentences. Reports then emphasise that in particular young people are at risk of being drawn into radicalisation processes.
Through this Call for Proposal the European Union wants to help facilitating a public discourse on religion, which follows a different vector, namely a discourse about religion in a democracy. If such a discourse is informed by diverse members of the society – politicians, officials, experts, religious leaders, human activists and citizens, in particular young people –, if it is conducted openly, freely and without intimidation or stigmatisation, if it is further rooted in respect for diversity and tolerance, it can make a real contribution to a more cohesive democratic society. Through such a discourse people learn about the positioning of members and groups of society, how they argue, which value and belief systems they are following, which visions they have and why they act in a specific way, and what the challenges are that they experience. Last, but not least, such a discourse has the potential to reach out to those who are at the margins of society, in the process of isolation or at risk of being radicalised.
The global objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to a more cohesive society through an open and free public discourse on religion and democracy, a discourse in which civil society – religious and non-religious actors – participate along with institutional and state actors and in which young people have a fair voice.
The specific objective(s) of this call for proposals is/are:
(1) To support an open public discourse and communication about the freedom of religion and belief, the role of religion in people's life, the interrelation between state and religious institutions, state policies on religion
(2) To strengthen the expert community – including, but not limited to, anthropologists, religious studies experts, and theologians
(3) To help in particular young people to find a purpose in life and role in public life
(4) To build resilience against extremist rhetoric and help that moderate voices are being heard
(5) To support community level security dialogue and action
A proposed action must relate to the title and overall objective of this Call for Proposals and to at least two specific objectives.
The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 2 500 000. The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.
Size of grants
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
Any grant requested under this Call for Proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum percentages of total eligible costs of the action:
The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the action and the amount requested from the Contracting Authority) must be financed from sources other than the European Union Budget or the European Development Fund.
These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of the actions financed under this call, in conformity with the Practical Guide, which is applicable to the present call (available at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en) .
There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:
(1) In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:
(2) Potential applicants may not participate in calls for proposals or be awarded grants if they are in any of the situations listed in section 2.3.3 of the Practical Guide;
In Annex A.2, section 5 (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies) are not in any of these situations.
The lead applicant must act with co-applicant(s) as specified hereafter.
If awarded the grant contract, the lead applicant will become the beneficiary identified as the Coordinator in Annex E3h1 (Special Conditions). The Coordinator is the main interlocutor of the Contracting Authority. It represents and acts on behalf of any other co-beneficiary (if any) and coordinate the design and implementation of the action.
Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.
Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant.
In addition to the categories referred to in section 2.1.1, the following are, however, also eligible:
Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Annex A.2., section 4.
If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s)(if any) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the Coordinator).
The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies)
Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):
Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.
This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:
(i) Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:
Entities affiliated to applicant may hence be:
(ii) Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.
The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.
By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so-called “sole applicants” or “sole beneficiaries”. A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members.
The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:
How to verify the existence of the required link with an applicant?
The affiliation resulting from control may in particular be proved on the basis of the consolidated accounts of the group of entities the applicant and its proposed affiliates belong to.
The affiliation resulting from membership may in particular be proved on the basis of the statutes or equivalent act establishing the entity (network, federation, association) which the applicant constitutes or in which the applicant participates.
If the applicants are awarded a grant contract, their affiliated entity(ies) will not become beneficiary(ies) of the action and signatory(ies) of the grant contract. However, they will participate in the design and in the implementation of the action and the costs they incur (including those incurred for implementation contracts and financial support to third parties) may be accepted as eligible costs, provided they comply with all the relevant rules already applicable to the beneficiary(ies) under the grant contract.
Affiliated entity(ies) must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant and the co-applicant(s). They must sign the affiliated entity(ies) statement in Annex A.2., section 5.
The following entities are not applicants nor affiliated entities and do not have to sign the "mandate for co-applicant(s)" or "affiliated entities' statement":
Other organisations or individuals may be involved in the action. Such associates play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs. Associates do not have to meet the eligibility criteria referred to in section 2.1.1. Associates must be mentioned in Annex A.2., section 4 — ‘Associates participating in the action’.
The beneficiaries and their affiliated entities are permitted to award contracts. Associates or affiliated entity(ies) cannot be also contractors in the project. Contractors are subject to the procurement rules set out in Annex IV to the standard grant contract.
An action is composed of a set of activities.
The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 24 months nor exceed 36 months.
Sectors or themes
(1) Open public discourse and communication about the freedom of religion and belief, the role of religion in people's and public life, the interrelation between state and religious institutions, state policies on religion
(2) Strengthening the expert community – including anthropologists, religious studies experts, and theologians
(3) Helping in particular young people to find a purpose in life and role in public life
(4) Building resilience against extremist rhetoric and facilitate that moderate voices are being heard
(5) Supporting community level security dialogue
A proposed action must relate to the title and overall objective of this Call for Proposals and to at least two of the listed themes.
Actions must take place in the following country: Kyrgyzstan. Actions may include a cross-border dimension.
Types of action
All actions must be based on the full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and on the full respect for diversity and inter-cultural and inter-faith tolerance.
Types of actions which may be financed under this call include inter alia (non-exhaustive list):
(1) Actions aimed at widening up the public discourse about religion, in which representatives of diverse society groups, with particular emphasis on young people, participate in an active and passive role.
(2) Actions aimed at increasing the level of capacity within the expert community, supporting thematic research, as well as national and international networking / learning / experience sharing
(3) Actions aimed at preventing young people and women at risk from joining violent and/or extremist movements and at engaging them in processes that enable them to reconnect where marginalisation and exclusion are factors, enhance confidence, respect for diversity and tolerance.
(4) Actions aimed at engaging in targeted communication with young people and women
(5) Actions aimed at enabling community security dialogues and action on the subject of religion and democracy and preventing radicalisation and violent extremism, with the participation of civil society and office bearers and at fostering the role of civil society in community policing.
The following types of action are ineligible:
Types of activity
Types of activity which may be financed under this call include inter alia (non-exhaustive list):
(1) TV programmes such as discussions and special features, radio programmes, dialogue platforms in the capital and the regions for both a broad and a specific audience; input to policy process.
(2) Support to local research, to peer-reviewed publications, connecting experts for networking and exchange with professionals from the region and other parts of the world; participation in expert and public discourse; input to policy process.
(3) Formal and informal education activities targeting youth and their communities and aimed at providing young people with alternative models to violence and radicalism and at offering young people an alternative sense of purpose and belonging (inclusive identity); such activities should preferably be linked with offering young people alternative livelihood opportunities.
(4) Establishing communication in e.g. relevant internet forums and social media, other tailor-made communication that challenge extremist ideology (online and offline); challenge radical or extremist communications at the platforms used most by those who are at risk to be radicalised in a language appropriate to context and audience; analysis and decomposition of radical and extremist communication; creation of counter-narratives; target group tailored information.
(5) Support to Local Crime Prevention Centres and other forums engaged in community security dialogue relating to the identification how they can best address the challenges of radicalisation, violent and religious extremism, marginalisation and exclusion and implementation of proposed measures.
Financial support to third parties
Applicants may propose financial support to third parties.
Applicants may propose financial support to third parties in order to help achieving the objectives of the action.
The maximum amount of financial support per third party is EUR 60 000. The financial support to a third party may constitute 100% of its total eligible costs, implying the third parties do not necessarily need to provide co-financing.
Under this call, financial support to third parties may not be the main purpose of the action.
In compliance with the present guidelines and notably of any conditions or restrictions in this section, the lead applicant should define mandatorily in section Annex A.2, section 2.1.1:
(iv) the criteria for selecting these entities and giving the financial support
In all events, the mandatory conditions set above for giving financial support (points (i) to (vi)) have to be strictly defined in the grant contract as to avoid any exercise of discretion.
In general, the third parties must meet the same eligibility criteria (section 2.1.1 above) and must respect the same rules concerning the number of applications and grants (this section 2.1.4) as those applicable to the co-applicant(s) under this call.
However, the following entities are ineligible to receive the financial support:
In addition, the following entities are also eligible to receive financial support:
Only such activities and actions as eligible under this Call for Proposals may be allocated financial support.
The applicants must take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the European Union has financed or co-financed the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union must incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.
Applicants must comply with the objectives and priorities and guarantee the visibility of the EU financing (see the Communication and Visibility Manual for EU external actions specified and published by the European Commission at https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu-external-actions_en).
Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities
The lead applicant may not submit more than one application under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant may not be awarded more than one grant under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant may be a co-applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may submit more than one application under this call for proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be awarded more than two grant under this call for proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may be the lead applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.
Only ‘eligible costs’ can be covered by a grant. The categories of costs that are eligible and non-eligible are indicated below. The budget is both a cost estimate and an overall ceiling for ‘eligible costs’.
The reimbursement of eligible costs may be based on any or a combination of the following forms:
Simplified cost options may take the form of:
The amounts or rates have to be based on estimates using objective data such as statistical data or any other objective means or with reference to certified or auditable historical data of the applicants or the affiliated entity(ies). The methods used to determine the amounts or rates of unit costs, lump sums or flat-rates must comply with the criteria established in Annex K, and especially ensure that the costs correspond fairly to the actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies), are in line with their accounting practices, no profit is made and the costs are not already covered by other sources of funding (no double funding). Refer to Annex K for directions and a checklist of controls to assess the minimum necessary conditions that provide reasonable assurance for the acceptance of the proposed amounts.
Applicants proposing this form of reimbursement, must clearly indicate in worksheet no.1 of Annex B, each heading/item of eligible costs concerned by this type of financing, i.e. add the reference in capital letters to "UNIT COST" (per month/flight etc), "LUMPSUM" or "FLAT RATE" in the Unit column. (see example in Annex K)
Additionally in Annex B, in the second column of worksheet no.2, "Justification of the estimated costs" per each of the corresponding budget item or heading applicants must:
At contracting phase, the Contracting Authority decides whether to accept the proposed amounts or rates on the basis of the provisional budget submitted by the applicants, by analysing factual data of grants carried out by the applicants or of similar actions and by performing checks established by Annex K.
The total amount of financing on the basis of simplified cost options that can be authorised by the Contracting Authority for any of the applicants individually (including simplified cost options proposed by their own affiliated entities) cannot exceed EUR 60 000 (the indirect costs are not taken into account).
Recommendations to award a grant are always subject to the condition that the checks preceding the signing of the grant contract do not reveal problems requiring changes to the budget (such as arithmetical errors, inaccuracies, unrealistic costs and ineligible costs). The checks may give rise to requests for clarification and may lead the Contracting Authority to impose modifications or reductions to address such mistakes or inaccuracies. It is not possible to increase the grant or the percentage of EU co-financing as a result of these corrections.
It is therefore in the applicants' interest to provide a realistic and cost-effective budget.
The simplified cost option may also take the form of an apportionment of Field Office's costs.
Field Office means a local infrastructure set up in one of the countries where the action is implemented or a nearby country. (Where the action is implemented in several third countries there can be more than one Field Office). That may consist of costs for local office as well as human resources.
A Field Office may be exclusively dedicated to the action financed (or co-financed) by the EU or may be used for other projects implemented in the partner country. When the Field Office is used for other projects, only the portion of capitalised and operating costs which corresponds to the duration of the action and the rate of actual use of the field office for the purpose of the action may be declared as eligible direct costs.
The portion of costs attributable to the action can be declared as actual costs or determined by the beneficiary(ies) on the basis of a simplified allocation method (apportionment).
The method of allocation has to be:
1. Compliant with the beneficiary's usual accounting and management practices and applied in a consistent manner regardless of the source of funding and
2. Based on an objective, fair and reliable allocation keys. (Please refer to Annex K to have examples of acceptable allocation keys).
A description prepared by the entity of the allocation method used to determine Field Office's costs in accordance with the entity's usual cost accounting and management practices and explaining how the method satisfy condition 1 and 2 indicated above, has to be presented in a separate sheet and annexed to the Budget.
The method will be assessed and accepted by the evaluation committee and the Contracting Authority at contracting phase. The applicant is invited to submit (where relevant) the list of contracts to which the methodology proposed had been already applied and for which proper application was confirmed by an expenditure verification.
At the time of carrying out the expenditure verifications, the auditors will check if the costs reported are compliant with the method described by the beneficiary(ies) and accepted by the Contracting Authority.
Adequate record and documentation must be kept by the beneficiary(ies) to prove the compliance of the simplified allocation method used with the conditions set out above. Upon request of the beneficiary(ies), this compliance can be assessed and approved ex-ante by an independent external auditor. In such a case, the simplified allocation method will be automatically accepted by the evaluation committee and it will not be challenged ex post.
When costs are declared on the basis of such allocation method the amount charged to the action is to be indicated in the column "TOTAL COSTS" and the mention "APPORTIONMENT" is to be indicated in the column "units" (under budget heading 1 (Human resources) and 4 (Local Office) of the Budget).
Eligible direct costs
To be eligible under this call for proposals, costs must comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the General Conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines).
The budget may include a contingency reserve not exceeding 5 % of the estimated direct eligible costs. It can only be used with the prior written authorisation of the Contracting Authority.
Eligible indirect costs
The indirect costs incurred in carrying out the action may be eligible for flat-rate funding, but the total must not exceed 7 % of the estimated total eligible direct costs. Indirect costs are eligible provided that they do not include costs assigned to another budget heading in the standard grant contract. The lead applicant may be asked to justify the percentage requested before the grant contract is signed. However, once the flat rate has been fixed in the Special Conditions of the grant contract, no supporting documents need to be provided.
If any of the applicants or affiliated entity(ies) is in receipt of an operating grant financed by the EU, it may not claim indirect costs on its incurred costs within the proposed budget for the action.
Contributions in kind
Contributions in kind mean the provision of goods or services to a beneficiaries or affiliated entities free of charge by a third party. As contributions in kind do not involve any expenditure for beneficiaries or affiliated entities, they are not eligible costs.
Contributions in kind may not be treated as co-financing.
However, if the description of the action as proposed includes contributions in kind, the contributions have to be made.
The following costs are not eligible:
To apply for this call for proposals, lead applicants need to:
PADOR is an on-line database in which organisations register and update information concerning their entity. Organisations registered in PADOR get a unique ID (EuropeAid ID), which they must mention in their application. PADOR is accessible via the website: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/pador_en.
It is strongly recommended to register in PADOR well in advance and not to wait until the last minute before the deadline to submit your application in PROSPECT.
If it is impossible for the organisation to register online in PADOR for technical reasons, applicants and/or affiliated entity(ies) must complete the ‘PADOR off-line form attached to these guidelines. This form must be sent together with the application, by the submission deadline (see section 2.2.2.).
Before starting using PADOR and PROSPECT, please read the user guides available on the website. All technical questions related to the use of these systems should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-ITemail@example.com via the online support form in PROSPECT.
Applications must be submitted in accordance with the instructions on the grant application form annexed to these guidelines (Annexes A.1 and A.2). Applicants must apply in English.
Any error or major discrepancy related to the concept note or any major inconsistency in the application form (e.g. if the amounts in the budget worksheets are inconsistent) may lead to the rejection of the application.
Clarifications will only be requested when the information provided is not sufficient to conduct an objective assessment.
Applications must be submitted online via PROSPECT https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prospect following the instructions given in the PROSPECT user manual.
Upon submission of the application online, the lead applicant will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt in its PROSPECT profile.
If it is impossible for the organisation to submit its application online via PROSPECT for technical reasons, the applicant must send its application in a sealed envelope (Annex A.1: concept note and Annex A.2.: full application form), budget and logical framework. In particular, the lead applicant must send, in a sealed envelope as described below the following items:
a. One original signed copy of the complete application form (Annex A.1: concept note and Annex A.2: full application form), the budget and logical framework. The declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.2., section 8 of the full form) must be stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope
b. Two additional copies in A4 size, each bound.
c. An electronic version (CD-ROM or USB sticks of the items under point (a). The electronic file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed.
The outer envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’ and ‘Не открывать до начала работы оценочного комитета’.
To reduce expense and waste, we strongly recommend that you do not use plastic folders or dividers. Please also use double-sided printing if possible.
Applications must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) at the address below. Where a lead applicant sends several different applications (if allowed to do so by the guidelines of the call), each one has to be sent separately:
Postal address and address for hand delivery or by private courier service
Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic
Finance and Contracts Section
Business Centre Orion, 5th floor
21 Erkindik Boulevard
Applications sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected. Hand-written applications will not be accepted.
Please note that incomplete applications may be rejected. Lead applicants are advised to verify that their application is complete using the checklist (Annexes A.1 and A.2, Instructions).
The deadline for the submission of applications is 14/09/2016 at 13:00 (Brussels date and time, which is 17:00 by Bishkek time). In order to convert this deadline to local time you can use any online time converter tool that takes into account timezones and winter/summer time changes (example available here). Lead applicants are strongly advised not to wait until the last day to submit their applications, since heavy Internet traffic or a fault with the Internet connection (including electricity failure, etc.) could lead to difficulties in submission. The contacting authority cannot be held responsible for any delay due to such aforementioned difficulties.
In the exceptional case of submission by post or by hand-delivery (see section 2.2.2), the date of submission is evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of hand-deliveries, the deadline for receipt is at 17:00 hours local time (Bishkek) as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt.
Any application submitted after the deadline will be rejected.
However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may also reject any application sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the proposal evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2).
Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of applications to the address(es) below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date.
Replies will be given no later than 11 days before the deadline for the submission of applications.
To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the Contracting Authority cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entity(ies), an action or specific activities.
No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure will be published on the EuropeAid website: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome and on the website of the Delegation the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic: http://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/kyrgyzstan/index_en.htm. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.
All questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-ITemail@example.com via the online support form in PROSPECT: Please note that the working languages of the IT support are English, French and Spanish. Therefore, users are invited to send their questions in those languages should they wish to benefit from an optimum response time.
Applications will be examined and evaluated by the contracting authority with the possible assistance of external assessors. All applications will be assessed according to the following steps and criteria.
If the examination of the application reveals that the proposed action does not meet the eligibility criteria stated in section 2.1, the application will be rejected on this sole basis.
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