What is South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme?

South East Europe Programme is a European Union initiative aimed at improving the territorial, economic and social integration process and supporting the contribution to cohesion, stability and competitiveness through the development of transnational partnerships and joint actions on matters of strategic importance. The Programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), having a total ERDF budget of 206 MEUR available for supporting transnational cooperation in the programme area.

What is the SEE Programme Area?

The SEE cooperation area comprises the territory, or parts of the territory, of eight EU Member States: Austria (whole country), Bulgaria (whole country), Greece (whole country), Hungary (whole country), Italy (Regions: Lombardia, Prov Autonoma Bolzano/Bozen, Prov. Autonoma Trento, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Emilia Romagna, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Puglia Basilicata), Romania (whole country), Slovak Republic (whole country), Slovenia (whole country); six potential candidates or candidates countries: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia; and 2 neighbouring countries: Republic of Moldova and Ukraine (Chernivetska Oblast, Ivano-Frankiviska Oblast, Zakarpatska Oblast, Odessa Oblast).

How much money is allocated per priority axis?

Priority Axis 1 - Facilitation of innovation and entrepreneurship: 44 MEUR ; Priority Axis 2 ? Protection and improvement of the environment: 53.7 MEUR; Priority Axis 3 ? Improvement of the accessibility: 55 MEUR; Priority Axis 4 - Development of transnational synergies for sustainable growth areas: 41 MEUR.

Is the 4th call for proposals opened to all priority axes?

Yes. Within the framework of the 4th call for proposals Lead Applicants have the possibility to submit projects on all Priority Axis and Areas of Intervention.

Are infrastructure and transport operators having commercial character eligible under all Priority Axes?

NO. Infrastructure and transport operators can apply as partners only on Priority 3 if they are established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest (being not relevant the industrial and commercial character); their eligibility shall however be confirmed at national level as stricter rules for funding might apply.

What is the budget for the 4th call?

Indicative budget to be allocated for the 4th call for proposals: - ERDF contribution ? indicative 52,748,558.16 EUR - IPA contribution ? indicative 10,389,348.47 EUR - ENPI contribution ? indicative 1,554,750 MEUR

What type of partners can be involved in a project?

A project can involve financing partners (receiving ERDF, IPA or ENPI funds) or Associated strategic partners (sponsored by an ERDF Partner).

What is the difference beween observers and Associated Strategic Partners (ASPs)

While observers cannot reimburse any funds within the programme, Associated Strategic Partners are sponsored by an ERDF project partner which can reimburse travel and accomodation costs for the ASP. Further to this difference, ASP should follow the same eligibility rules of the financing partners, while Observers do not follow any eligibility rule.

When partners coming from candidate, potential candidate or neighbouring countries should be involved as 10% partners?

Given the availability of IPA and ENPI funds for the 4th call, 10% PPs must be involved only in duly justified cases (for example: institutions representing the policy making level, which due to financial reasons cannot contribute directly to the project, can be involved as 10% partners for the specific added value they bring to the project).

When to involve 20% ERDF Project Partners?

Involvement of the 20% ERDF types of partners in a project is to be considered an exceptional case and has to be supported by a strong justification that proves the added value and the benefit of the SEE area. The involvement of the 20% partner should be driven by geographic and thematic reasons in the context of strengthening the territorial integration and cohesion.

What does it mean that the involvement of 20% partners is restricted to the neighbouring regions of the SEE Programme area?

Neighboring regions should not be interpreted in a restrictive way, meaning that only cross border regions of the SEE area must be involved, but should be interpreted at a macro level and should be strictly linked to the project theme and geographical coverage, with the scope of strengthening territorial integration.

What are the co-financing rates?

Both for ERDF and IPA project partners the co-financing rate of nonreimbursable funds is 85%, and for the ENPI project partners the co-financing rate of nonreimbursable funds is 90%.

What is the minimum number of partners/ countries to be involved in a project?

Each project must involve partners from at least 3 Financing partners from three different countries of the programme area, out of which at least one, the Lead Partner has to be located in the territory of a EU Member State.

Which is the maximum number of partners to be involved in a project?

There is no maximum limit established for the number of partners to be involved in a project. The number of partners may considerably vary between the projects depending on the character of the project. The partnership should be developed in a strategic manner and well adapted to its purpose. A partnership that is too small might reduce the potential of the project while a partnership which is very large might face significant organisational, communication and co-ordination problems and thus be cost ineffective.

What is the emaximum duration of a project?

24 Months

Are there any budget limits for the total budget?

There are no maximum budget limits. However the construction of the budget should be strictly linked to the activities envisaged to be implemented within the project, the number of partners involved and their contribution.

Are there any maximum budget limits for the Work Packages?

The only limit established at programme level refers to Preparation costs (WP0): costs for the preparation of the approved project cannot exceed 2% of the total eligible expenditures of the project or 40.000 EUR whichever is reached earlier.

What is the ideal weight of the preparation costs, transnational project management and communication in the total project budget?

The amount to be allocated within the project to transnational project management and communication depends on the complexity of the activities to be implemented and the size of the partnership. However, as a general insight based on previous practices, these costs usually don?t weigh more than 30% of the total project budget.

When the eligibility of expenditure for project implementation starts?

All expenditures are eligible from the date of final approval of the project by the Monitoring Committee (date of endorsement of the outcomes of the conditions? clearing exercise in case the project is approved under conditions) and within the eligibility period of the project.

How to plan as realistic as possible the external expertise expenditure in the Application Form?

In the application form the values for external expertise and services are only estimated. However, when planning the budget each partner should analyse carefully the market and take into consideration the possible future influences on the prices in order to have a rather realistic budget. Even though it seems like a rather difficult exercise, the applicants should bear in mind that the timeframe for approval of the project is approx. 1 year.

How to plan a realistic spending forecast?

Given the fact that the spending forecast cannot be modified during the project implementation it must be as realistic as possible. When developing the spending forecast applicants should have in mind: the timeframe for different payments as staff costs, travel costs etc. and also, more important the timeframe for public procurement which might take longer time depending on the national rules of each Member State.

Are the first level control expenditures to be inserted in the Application Form?

It depends from country to country, since there are different control systems established at national level (some have it centralised and free of charge as Romania, some have it decentralised and chargeable to the project as Italy or Bulgaria). Consequently each project partner should check at national level which type of control system they have before developing the project budget.

Can staff costs be used as own contribution by the partners?

The project budget is not divided into one part (e.g. external expertise, travel costs) being paid from ERDF and another part (e.g. staff costs) being paid from a partner's own contribution - instead each expenditure (e.g. staff costs) is part-financed by ERDF and the other part is contributed by the project partner. This means that after the project partner pays certain expenditures inside the project he reports them to the JTS and asks for their reimbursement. After verifying the eligibility of the expenditure the JTS approves the reimbursement. However the project partner will in fact get back only 85% of the costs requested, the other 15% being considered own contribution.

Is VAT eligible for the ERDF Project Partners according to the programme rules?

If the VAT is recoverable by any means then it is not considered eligible expenditures. However, in case the VAT is not recovered then it can be claimed within the project.

Is VAT eligible for the IPA-I Project Partners?

Value added taxes are eligible only if the following conditions are fulfilled: - they are not recoverable by any means - it is established that they are borne by the final beneficiary - They are clearly identified in the project proposal. Both for ERDF and IPA-I project partners, in case the partner budget is planned including the amounts of the non-recoverable VAT, the PP shall declare on the Annex 2 (Declaration of pre-financing and co-financing Statement for Project Partners under the SEE Transnational Programme of the Application package) that only non-recoverable VAT is included in the partner budget.

Is in kind contribution eligible?

NO, in kind contribution is not eligible either for ERDF, IPA or for ENPI.

Are common costs eligible?

Are common costs eligible?