Compilation of clarifications received from the EC for the LIPs Labgroup meeting held in Vilnius on 20-21 June 2017
Q : What does the ‘acquisition of infrastructure’ presented in the definition of LIPs (Art. 2p of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules) mean? Does the definition refer only to costs of works and services related to (re)construction, renovation, installation of infrastructure?
A: The “acquisition of infrastructure” mentioned in the definition of LIPs provided for in the ENI CBC IRs includes not only costs of works and services related to (re)construction, renovation, installation of infrastructure and its supervision but also other activities like, for example, costs of preparation of the technical documentation and costs of supplies related to the infrastructure component, including purchase of fixed assets.
Q : May retroactive costs in the meaning of Art. 48.3 of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules include other costs related to preparation of the technical documentation (e.g., staff, travel costs, external expertise)?
A : Retroactive costs related to studies and technical documentation for projects including an infrastructure component can also include costs for staff, travel and accommodation, office and administration, external expertise and services. However, they will be considered eligible only if they are directly related to the delivery of the said studies and documentation.
Q : Are there any obstacles to consider as eligible the preparatory costs referred to in article 48.4 of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules, which will be incurred before the entry into force of the relevant Financing Agreement?
Q : In accordance with Article 48.4 of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules, costs incurred by the projects before the submission of the grant application, linked to the preparation of strong partnerships, are eligible provided that the conditions listed are met.
According to EC’s understanding, and applying mutatis mutandis the above provisions, the preparatory costs incurred by the beneficiaries for projects awarded without a call for proposals (which is the case for the majority of LIPs) shall be eligible as of the date of adoption of the programme by the Commission.
There is no link between the provisions in Article 48.4 and the entry into force of the Financing Agreements, so programmes should set no restrictions to the eligibility for preparatory costs both in MS and CBC Partner Countries (subject to their judgment and under their responsibility).
Q : Does the 1 MEUR threshold apply to the entire project or to individual infrastructures? For example, when a project includes two infrastructure activities, one worth 1.5 MEUR and the second one worth 0,5 MEUR, will the beneficiary be obliged to submit the information/documents mentioned in art. 43.2 of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules for both infrastructure activities or only for the one worth 1.5 MEUR?
A : The 1 MEUR threshold applies to the individual infrastructure components. Therefore, in your example, only the infrastructure worth 1.5 MEUR shall be subject to Art. 43.2. However, it needs to be borne in mind that a project cannot be artificially split in order to escape the requirements.
Q : Article 43.2 (c) of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules defines that an independent quality review has to be included as a part of the feasibility study. Shall it be provided in all cases, even if an independent expert develops the feasibility study?
A : Article 43.2(c) of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules defines that the feasibility study should include an independent quality review. Since in most cases the feasibility studies are outsourced (conducted by an external actor), they are “by default” considered independent.
Q : What is meant by the capacity building component (article 43.2.b of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules)? Is it possible that projects including an infrastructure component of at least EUR 1 million shall not include the reference to capacity building activities?
A : The capacity building component (article 43.2.b of the ENI CBC Implementing Rules) should be understood as a soft component related to the infrastructure investment. This soft component should be considered although its nature may vary depending on the type of project.
A : There is no template for the feasibility study. The feasibility study (or its equivalent, in line with the applicable national legislation) is a document that analyses the viability of the project (including infrastructure) from the perspective on long-term feasibility, socio-economic conditions and others (for example, impact to environmental conditions). As specifically mentioned in the ENI CBC Implementing Rules, It also should include the options analysis, the results and independent quality review.
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