In principle Local Councils can apply for Structural Funds for co-financing of projects. The proposed projects must be in line with the objectives of the Single Programming Document and the eligible actions listed under each measure within the Programme Complement. The latter contains a financial table for each measure which indicates the maximum amount of EU funding and the rate of co-financing. Applicants should refer to the Programme Complement to identify the measure under which the proposed project is eligible. If Local Councils are interested in applying for Structural Funds, the local councils should liaise with the Local Councils Association to identify the nature of projects which local councils should undertake.
Can Local Councils apply for Structural Funds?
Can we employ or contract people through Structural Funds?
Services may be "contracted" on a definite contract but it should be clear that the fee of the contractees are financed through the Structural Funds and the contract will be terminated once the project is concluded. The person contracted must work only on the project concerned. Any deviation from these conditions could result in decommitment of funds.
If we need to employ people to implement the project, do we need to go through the ETC recruitment process?
The organisation concerned should go through its usual channels of recruitment, that is, the procedure should be in line with national legislation. The procedure should be documented by the national regulations.
Can we recruit people to carry out secretarial work?
Structural Funds can finance project management. Such costs would have to be included in the budget breakdown.Structural Funds can finance project management. Such costs would have to be included in the budget breakdown.
Can public officers be utilised to implement the project?
Public officers may be utilised to implement the project but they cannot be paid from EU funds for work conducted during normal office hours. If these public officers will work additional hours to implement the project, the project leader must ensure that these officers are eligible for overtime. If so, they must be paid at the normal rate per hour.
N + 2 rule - is 'N' a calendar year?
If a project starts in 2004, the N+2 of this project is valid until December 2006 where N consists of the remaining period in 2004.
What happens if we need to extend the project lifetime, but within N + 2?The Managing Authority would consider this "extension" subject to a letter of justification which outlines the reasons for this extension.
If a project tender is contested and the issue goes to court, will the letter of offer be withdrawn?Such situations would have to be considered on a case by case basis, however there is the possibility that the Structural Funds grant will be withdrawn.
Under the current programming period, are private companies benefiting from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)?Currently, direct aid under the ERDF is provided to private companies under Measure 1.3 of the Single Programming Document. This direct aid is provided through an aid scheme administered by public entities.
Are non-governmental organisations (NGOs) eligible for funding under the current Structural Funds programme? What are the criteria for eligibility under the current programme?
The current Structural Funds programme is open to all Government agencies and to NGOs. For the project to be eligible for consideration, the following criteria must be fulfilled:
1) The proposed project has to contribute towards one of the priorities mentioned in the Single Programming Document Chapter 3 (a copy of which is available on the PPCD website - http://www.ppcd.gov.mt).
2) Once the priority and measure under which the project falls is identified, it must be ensured that the proposed project falls under one or more of the eligible actions as outlined in the description of the identified measure (see chapter 2 of the Programme Complement - a copy of which is also available on the PPCD website).
3) The project applicant must be either a Government agency or an NGO. The indicated project leader must provide from its own funds the co-financing of the project.
4) The project must not duplicate activities which are already being carried out by other organisations. Furthermore, the project needs to be sustainable (for instance, not a one-off training course) and part of a larger plan.
Can projects envisaging a qualified investment for modernising and upgrading office premises be eligible for funding under the European Social Fund (ESF)? And can the 25% co-financing required be exclusively provided in cash or can an in-kind contribution in terms of staff costs and equipment costs involved be also eligible?The European Social Fund (ESF) is the main financial instrument allowing the European Union to realise the strategic objectives of its employment and social policy. The objective of the ESF is to help people improve their skills through training and employment schemes and consequently they also improve their job prospects. On the other hand, infrastructural-based projects are targeted through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The purpose of this fund is to promote economic and social cohesion within the European Union through the reduction of imbalances between regions and social groups.
With regard to the 25% co-financing, unfortunately contributions in kind do not make up for the 25% co-financing, therefore this has to be provided in cash.