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Commission Decision of 5 March 2008 laying down rules for the implementation of Council Decision 2007/435/EC establishing the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals for the period 2007 to 2013 as part of the General programme Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows as regards Member States' management and control systems, the rules for administrative and financial management and the eligibility of expenditure on projects co-financed by the Fund (notified under document number C(2008) 795) (Only the Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish texts are authentic) (2008/457/EC)

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ANNEX XIRULES ON THE ELIGIBILITY OF EXPENDITURE — INTEGRATION FUND

I.General principles

I.1.Basic principles

1.In accordance with the basic act, for it to be eligible, expenditure must be:
(a)

within the scope of the Fund and within its objectives, as described in Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the basic act;

(b)

within the eligible actions listed in Article 4 of the basic act;

(c)

needed to carry out the activities covered by the project, forming part of the multiannual and annual programmes, as approved by the Commission;

(d)

reasonable and comply with the principles of sound financial management, in particular, value for money and cost-effectiveness;

(e)

incurred by the final beneficiary and/or the partners in the project, who shall be established and registered in a Member State, except in the case of international governmental organisations that pursue the same objectives laid down in the basic act. With regard to Article 39(2) of this Decision, the rules applicable to the final beneficiary shall apply mutatis mutandis to the partners in the project;

(f)

linked to the target groups referred to in the framework of the basic act;

(g)

incurred in accordance with the specific provisions in the grant agreement.

2.In the case of multiannual actions within the meaning of Article 13(6) of the basic act, only the part of the action co-financed by an annual programme is considered to be a project for the application of these eligibility rules.
3.Projects supported by the Fund shall not be financed by other sources covered by the Community budget. Projects supported by the Fund shall be co-financed by public or private sources.

I.2.Budget of a project

The budget of a project shall be presented as follows:

a

Including assigned income as described in point IV.

ExpenditureIncome
+dDirect costs (DC)
+indirect costs (fixed percentage of DC, defined in the grant agreement)
+costs covered by assigned income (if applicable)
+contribution from the EC (defined as the lowest of the three amounts indicated in Article 12 of this Decision)
+contribution from the final beneficiary and the partners in the projecta
+contribution from third parties
+receipts generated by the project
= total eligible cost (TEC) = total income

The budget shall be balanced: Total Eligible Cost shall be equal to Total Income.

I.3.Income and non-profit principle

1.Projects supported by the Fund must be of a non-profit-making nature. If, at the end of the project, the sources of income, including receipts, exceed expenditure, the contribution to the project from the Fund shall be reduced accordingly. All sources of income for the project must be recorded in the final beneficiary's accounts or tax documents, and must be identifiable and controllable.
2.Project income shall come from all financial contributions granted to the project by the Fund, from public or private sources, including the final beneficiary's own contribution, and from any receipts generated by the project. ‘Receipts’ for the purpose of this rule covers revenue received by a project during the eligibility period as described in point I.4, from sales, rentals, services, enrolment/fees or other equivalent income.
3.The Community contribution resulting from the application of the principle of non-profit, as referred to under Article 12(c) of this Decision, will be the ‘total eligible cost’ minus the ‘contribution from third parties’ and ‘receipts generated by the project’.

I.4.Eligibility period

1.Costs relating to a project must be incurred and the respective payments (except for depreciation) made after 1 January of the year referred to in the financing decision approving the annual programmes of the Member States. The eligibility period is until 31 December of the year N + 1(1), meaning that the costs relating to a project must be incurred before this date.
2.An exception to the abovementioned eligibility period is made for:
(a)

projects supported under the 2007 annual programme, in accordance with Article 33(3) of the basic act;

(b)

technical assistance for Member States (refer to point V.3).

I.5.Record of expenditure

1.Expenditure shall correspond to payments made by the final beneficiary. These must be in the form of financial (cash) transactions, with the exception of depreciation.
2.As a rule, expenditure shall be justified by official invoices. Where this cannot be done, expenditure shall be supported by accounting documents or supporting documents of equivalent evidential value.
3.Expenditure must be identifiable and verifiable. In particular,
(a)

it must be recorded in the accounting records of the final beneficiary;

(b)

it must be determined in accordance with the applicable accounting standards of the country where the final beneficiary is established and with the usual cost accounting practices of the final beneficiary; and

(c)

it must be declared in accordance with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation.

4.Where applicable, the final beneficiaries are obliged to keep certified copies of the accounting documents justifying income and expenditure incurred by the partners in relation to the project concerned.
5.The storage and processing of such records must comply with the national data protection legislation.

I.6.Territorial scope

1.Expenditure for actions described in Article 4 of the basic act must be:
(a)

incurred by the final beneficiaries defined in point I.1(e); and

(b)

incurred in the territory of the Member States, with the exception of actions concerning pre-travel measures referred to in Article 4.1 (c) of the basic act, which may be incurred in the territory of the Member States or in the country of origin.

2.Partners in the project registered and established in third countries may participate in projects on a no-cost basis, except in the case of international governmental organisations. Therefore, costs incurred by these partners are ineligible.

II.Categories of eligible costs (at project level)

II.1.Direct eligible costs

The direct eligible costs of the project are costs that, with due regard to the general conditions of eligibility set out in part I above, are identifiable as specific costs directly linked to the implementation of the project. Direct costs shall be included in the estimated overall budget of the project.

The following direct costs are eligible.

II.1.1. Staff costs
II.1.1.1.General rules
1.Direct costs for staff are eligible only for persons that have a key and direct role in the project, such as project managers and other staff operationally involved in the project, for example planning project activities, implementing (or monitoring) operational activities, delivering services to the final recipients of the project, etc.

Costs for other members of staff in the final beneficiary organisation who only provide a supporting role (such as the general manager, accountant, procurement support, human resources support, information technology support, administrative assistant, receptionist, etc.) are not eligible as direct costs and are considered to be indirect costs (see point II.2).

2.Staff costs shall be detailed in the forward budget, indicating functions, number of staff and names.

If the names of the persons are not yet known or cannot be disclosed, indication shall be provided of the professional and technical capacities of the persons set to implement the relevant functions/tasks within the project.

3.The cost of staff assigned to the project, i.e. salaries and social security contributions and other statutory costs, shall be eligible, provided that this does not exceed the average rates as regards the final beneficiary's usual policy on remuneration. Where applicable, this figure may include all the usual contributions paid by the employer, but it must exclude any bonuses, incentive payments or profit-sharing schemes. Levies, taxes or charges (in particular, direct taxes and social security contributions on wages) arising from projects co-financed by the Fund amount to eligible costs only where they are actually borne by the final beneficiary of the grant.
II.1.1.2.Specific conditions for staff costs of public bodies

Staff costs of public bodies implementing the project are considered to be direct eligible costs only in the following situations:

(a)

a person contracted by the final beneficiary solely for the purpose of implementing the project;

(b)

a person employed on a permanent basis by the final beneficiary who:

  • fulfils tasks specifically linked to the implementation of the project on the basis of overtime remuneration, or

  • is seconded by a duly documented decision of the organisation to tasks that are specifically linked to the implementation of the project which do not form part of his/her normal routine and he/she is replaced for his/her usual tasks by another person recruited by the organisation.

II.1.2. Travel and subsistence costs
1.Travel and subsistence costs are only eligible as direct costs for:
(a)

staff of the final beneficiary whose costs are eligible as defined in point II.1.1;

(b)

in duly exceptional and justified cases, staff of the final beneficiary providing a supporting role as defined in point II.1.1;

(c)

other persons outside the final beneficiary who participate in the activities of the project. In this case, attendance lists should be kept as supporting evidence.

2.Travel costs shall be eligible on the basis of the actual costs incurred. Reimbursement rates shall be based on the cheapest form of public transport and flights shall, as a rule, be permitted only for journeys over 800 km (return trip), or where the geographical destination justifies travelling by air. Boarding passes must be kept. Where a private car is used, reimbursement is normally made either on the basis of the cost of public transport, or on the basis of mileage rates in accordance with published official rules in the Member State concerned or used by the final beneficiary.
3.Subsistence costs shall be eligible on the basis of real costs or a daily allowance. Where an organisation has its own daily rates (subsistence allowances), they shall be applied within ceilings established by the Member State in accordance with national legislation and practice. Subsistence allowances are normally understood to cover local transport (including taxis), accommodation, meals, local telephone calls and sundries.
II.1.3. Equipment
II.1.3.1.General rules
1.Costs pertaining to the acquisition of equipment (based on depreciation of purchased assets, leasing or rental) are only eligible if they are essential to the implementation of the project. Equipment shall have the technical properties needed for the project and comply with applicable norms and standards.
2.Costs for day-to-day administrative equipment (such as printer, laptop, fax, copier, phone, cabling, etc.) are not eligible as direct costs and are to be considered as indirect costs (see point II.2).
3.The choice between leasing, rental or purchase must always be based on the least expensive option. However, if leasing or renting are not possible because of the short duration of the project or the rapid depreciation in value, purchase is accepted and the costs related to depreciation, as described below, may be eligible on the basis of national depreciation rules.
II.1.3.2.Renting and leasing

Expenditure in relation to renting and leasing operations is eligible for co-financing subject to the rules established in the Member State, national legislation and practice and the duration of the rental or lease for the purpose of the project.

II.1.3.3.Purchasing
1.Where equipment is purchased before or during the lifetime of the project, only the portion of equipment depreciation corresponding to the duration of use for the project and the rate of actual use for the project is eligible.
2.Equipment that was purchased before the lifetime of the project, but which is used for the purpose of the project, is eligible on the basis of depreciation. However these costs are ineligible if the equipment was originally purchased through a Community grant.
3.Purchase costs of equipment shall correspond to normal market costs and the value of the items concerned is written off in accordance with the tax and accounting rules applicable to the final beneficiary.
4.For individual items costing below EUR 1 000, the full purchase cost is eligible, provided that the equipment is purchased during the first three months of the project.
II.1.4. Real estate
II.1.4.1.General rules

The real estate shall have the technical properties needed for the project and comply with the applicable norms and standards.

II.1.4.2.Rental

Rental of real estate is eligible for co-financing where there is a clear link between the rental and the objectives of the project concerned, under the conditions set out below and without prejudice to the application of stricter national rules:

(a)

The real estate shall not have been purchased through a Community grant.

(b)

The real estate should only be used for implementation of the project. If not, only the portion of the costs corresponding to the use for the project is eligible.

II.1.4.3.Office space for the final beneficiary

Costs for the purchase, construction, renovation or rental of office space for the routine activities of the final beneficiary are not eligible. Such costs are considered to be indirect costs (see point II.2).

II.1.5. Consumables, supplies and general services
1.The costs of consumables, supplies and general services are eligible provided that they are identifiable and directly necessary for the implementation of the project.
2.However, office supplies as well as all kinds of small administrative consumables, supplies, hospitality costs and general services (such as telephone, internet, postage, office cleaning, utilities, insurance, staff training, recruitment, etc.) are not direct eligible costs; they are included in indirect costs, as referred to in point II.2.
II.1.6. Subcontracting
1.As a general rule, final beneficiaries must have the capacity to carry out the activities relating to the project themselves. Therefore, subcontracting must be limited and shall not exceed 40 % of the direct eligible costs of a project unless duly justified and approved in advance by the responsible authority.
2.Expenditure relating to the following subcontracts is ineligible for co-financing by the Fund:
(a)

subcontracting of tasks relating to the overall management of the project;

(b)

subcontracting that adds to the cost of the project without adding proportionate value to it;

(c)

subcontracting with intermediaries or consultants where payment is defined as a percentage of the total cost of the project, unless such payment is justified by the final beneficiary by reference to the actual value of the work or services provided.

3.For all subcontracts, subcontractors shall undertake to provide all audit and control bodies with all the necessary information relating to subcontracted activities.
II.1.7. Costs deriving directly from the requirements linked to EU co-financing

Costs needed to meet the requirements linked to EU co-financing, such as publicity, transparency, evaluation of the project, external audit, bank guarantees, translation costs, etc., are eligible as direct costs.

II.1.8. Expert fees

Legal consultancy fees, notarial fees and costs of technical and financial experts are eligible.

II.2.Indirect eligible costs

1.Indirect costs relate to categories of expenditure that are not identifiable as specific costs directly linked to the project. A fixed percentage of the total amount of direct eligible costs may be eligible as indirect costs, provided that:
(a)

the indirect costs are kept to a minimum and the exact percentage of indirect costs is set by the Member State in relation to needs;

(b)

the indirect costs are anticipated in the forward budget of the project;

(c)

the indirect costs do not include costs assigned to another heading of the budget for the project;

(d)

the indirect costs are not financed from other sources. Organisations receiving an operating grant received from the EU budget and/or from the Member States cannot include indirect costs in their forward budget;

(e)

as a general rule, the fixed percentage of indirect costs in relation to the total amount of direct eligible costs does not exceed 20 %. However, the fixed percentage of indirect costs shall not exceed 10 %:

  • where the responsible authority acts as an executing body as defined in Article 7(3), or

  • where subcontracting exceeds 40 % of the eligible direct costs.

2.The percentage allocated to indirect costs shall cover the following costs in particular:
(a)

staff costs that are ineligible as direct costs as per point II.1.1.1(1);

(b)

administration and management expenses, such as costs identified in II.1.5.2;

(c)

bank fees and charges (except bank guarantees as defined in section II.1.7);

(d)

depreciation of real estate and maintenance costs when linked to day-to-day administrative operations, such as costs identified in II.1.4.3;

(e)

all costs linked to the project but excluded from section II.1 — ‘Direct Eligible Costs’.

III.Ineligible expenditure

The following costs are not eligible:

(a)

VAT, except where the final beneficiary can show that he is unable to recover it;

(b)

return on capital, debt and debt service charges, debit interest, foreign exchange commissions and exchange losses, provisions for losses or potential future liabilities, interest owed, doubtful debts, fines, financial penalties, litigation costs, and excessive or reckless expenditure;

(c)

entertainment costs exclusively for project staff. Reasonable hospitality costs at social events justified by the project, such as an event at the end of the project or meetings of the project steering group, are permitted;

(d)

costs declared by the final beneficiary and covered by another project or work programme receiving a Community grant;

(e)

purchase of land and the purchase, construction and renovation of real estate;

(f)

staff costs for officials who contribute to project implementation by accomplishing tasks that are part of their normal routine;

(g)

contributions in kind.

IV.Costs covered by assigned income

1.In duly substantiated cases, co-financing of the project as regards the contribution from the final beneficiary and the partners in the project may be made up in part of contributions in terms of work carried out by permanent officials employed by these bodies and involved in the project. In this case these costs are not eligible as direct or indirect staff costs as defined under points II.1.1 and II.2 but as costs covered by assigned income.

2.Such contributions shall not exceed 50 % of the total contribution given by the final beneficiary. In this case, the following rules shall apply:

(a)

tasks of public officials are specifically linked to implementation of the project and do not arise from the statutory responsibilities of the public authority;

(b)

public officials entrusted with implementing a project are seconded by a duly documented decision of the competent authority;

(c)

the value of these contributions can be audited and may not exceed the costs actually borne and duly supported by accounting documents of the public authority.

V.Technical assistance at the initiative of member States

1.At the initiative of each Member State, the following technical assistance measures are eligible for each annual programme, within the limits specified in Article 15 of the basic act:

(a)

expenditure relating to the preparation, selection, appraisal, management and monitoring of actions (including computer equipment and consumables);

(b)

expenditure relating to audits and on-the-spot checks of actions or projects;

(c)

expenditure relating to evaluations of actions or projects;

(d)

expenditure relating to information, dissemination and transparency in relation to actions;

(e)

expenditure on the acquisition, installation and maintenance of computerised systems for the management, monitoring and evaluation of the Funds;

(f)

expenditure on meetings of monitoring committees and sub-committees relating to the implementation of actions. This expenditure may also include the costs of experts and other participants in these committees, including third-country participants, where their presence is essential to the effective implementation of actions;

(g)

expenditure on salaries, including social security contributions, although only in the following cases:

  • civil servants or other public officials seconded by duly documented decision of the competent authority to carry out tasks referred to in points (a) to (f),

  • other staff employed to carry out tasks referred to in points (a) to (f),

  • the period of secondment or employment may not exceed the final date for the eligibility of expenditure laid down in the decision approving the assistance.

2.Technical assistance may finance expenses incurred by any of the following bodies: responsible authority, delegated authority, audit authority, certifying authority.

3.Activities linked to technical assistance must be performed and the corresponding payments made after 1 January of the year referred to in the financing decision approving the annual programmes of Member States. The eligibility period lasts until the end of June of the year N + 2(2) or any later date compatible with the deadline for the submission of the final report on implementation of the annual programme.

4.Any procurement must be carried out in accordance with national procurement rules established in the Member State.

5.Member States may implement technical assistance measures for this Fund together with technical assistance measures for some or all of the four Funds. However, in that case only the portion of the costs used to implement the common measure corresponding to this Fund shall be eligible for financing under this Fund, and Member States shall ensure that:

(a)

the portion of costs for common measures is charged to the corresponding Fund in a reasonable and verifiable manner; and

(b)

there is no double financing of costs.

(1)

Where ‘N’ is the year referred to in the financing decision approving the annual programmes of Member States.

(2)

Where ‘N’ is the year referred to in the financing decision approving the annual programmes of Member States.

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