The Central Baltic 2014-2020 Programme finances result orientated cross-border cooperation projects in Estonia, Finland (incl Åland), Latvia and Sweden

FAQ

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GDPR
Cross-border partnership
What kind of projects are needed
Activity planning
Budget planning
Investments
State aid and de minimis
eMonitoring System (eMS)

Assessment of the applications
Eligibility of costs and Financial reporting
Communication


GDPR

What kind of information the Central Baltic programme collects about me?

We only collect information that is required and needed for the programme to function and reach its goals. More information available here.
 

Cross-border partnership

Who can be a Project Partner?

The eligibility of partners has been defined according to their legal status and the location of the partner. The programme will accept public authorities as well as bodies governed by public law and bodies governed by private law. These can be local, regional or national public authorities, infrastructure and (public) service providers, other organisation established for general interest needs including NGOs, business support organisations, higher education and research institutions as well as SMEs. Each partner’s participation on the project has to be justified.

In general, to be an eligible the partner organisation must be located within the programme area (core or additional area). This is defined according to the legal address of the partner organisation. Public authorities which according to their legal address are located outside the programme area (core and additional areas) but within the national borders of the participating Member States/Åland and which are active in and working for the benefit of the programme area may participate as full-fledged partners in case their jurisdiction (operational status) covers also the respective (sub-)programme area. These cases must be justified and they are handled case by case by the Joint Secretariat.

Who can be a Lead Partner?

The programme will accept public authorities as well as bodies governed by public law and bodies governed by private law to act as a Lead Partner. These can be local, regional or national public authorities, infrastructure and (public) service providers, other organisation established for general interest needs including NGOs, business support organisations, higher education and research institutions. Due to the special nature of being a Lead Partner SMEs will not be allowed as Lead Partners. Organisations with their legal address outside the programme area cannot act as Lead Partners.

Would it be relevant to have partners from all participating member states/Åland?

A minimum requirement is two partners from two member states. More important than the number of partners and that the whole programme area is covered is the relevance of the partners’ roles in achieving the project results.

Can both a Lead Partner and all Project Partners come from an additional area?

As the projects must mainly benefit the core area of the programme a minimum requirement is that at least one of the Project Partners or Lead Partner comes from the programme core area.

Can an organisation from outside the programme area participate in the project as an associated partner?

Associated Partners can come from every region outside or inside the programme area. However, as with other partners the participation of Associated Partners must be justified and relevant for the project implementation. The Associated Partners are acting in the project on their own cost and their services cannot be purchased as expert services for the project.

Can the Joint Secretariat (JS) of the Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020 help project applicants to find partners?

The JS as well as Contact Points in the participating countries support project applicants to find partners e.g. by providing thePartner search notice board for searching for requests matching your needs for partners, or for submitting your own request to the notice board on the Central Baltic 2014-2020 website. In addition, the JS organises different kinds of networking events. Furthermore, the project applicants can also contact the JS and Contact Points to ask information about partner organisation candidates who share similar interests with the project applicant in question. However, the JS and Contact Points are not contacting potential partner organisations but this must be done by the project applicants themselves.

How can SMEs (for profit companies) participate in the Central Baltic 2014-2020 programme?

SMEs may be considered as project partners if their expertise and experience is relevant and unique for achieving project results.

SMEs are seen as the main target group for 2 Specific objectives of Priority 1 Competitive economy (SO 1.1, New Central Baltic knowledge intensive companies and SO 1.3, More exports by the Central Baltic companies to new markets), where project partners undertaking project activities should qualify as intermediary organisations.

Within all priorities and specific objectives SMEs are relevant as external service providers.

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What kind of projects are needed?

For a current list of needed projects in different priorities and specific objectives, please refer to this page.


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Activity planning

What kinds of projects are co-financed by the Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020?

In general, it can be said that the Programme focuses on co-financing the projects under four different Priorities: Competitive Economy (P1), Sustainable Use of Common Resources (P2), Well-connected Region (P3) and Skilled and Socially inclusive Region (P4). Each Priority is divided into different Specific Objectives and each Specific objective has its own Result indicators as well as Output indicators. When designing the project idea it is important to keep this logic in mind because each co-financed project must clearly contribute to the selected Specific objective and its indicators.
Every co-financed project must also always produce cross-border added value i.e. results which cannot be reached by implementing the project on national level but the international co-operation is necessary.

Can one project be co-financed under two different Specific objectives?

The project must clearly suit under one Specific objective and the results of the project must contribute to fulfilling the indicators of that Specific objective. Even though each project must clearly contribute towards one Specific objective, it may also include some elements from other Specific objectives.

Would it be possible to submit the project application to a Horizontal principle?

The projects can only be submitted to one of the Specific objectives.

What is meant by joint development, joint implementation, joint staffing and joint financing?

The programme aims at solving common problems together or working on joint opportunities. Each project co-financed by the programme must have characteristics which define these: joint development, joint implementation, joint staffing and joint financing.

Joint development means that your project must be prepared by representatives from all partner organisations together. The project proposal must clearly integrate the ideas, expectations, priorities and contributions from all participating partners. The partners relevant for reaching the project objectives should be included in preparation. The partners should share the understanding of the project need and contribute to achieving the results.
 
Joint implementation means that activities must be carried out and coordinated by all participating partners. There must be a balanced division of tasks and responsibilities, links between the activities of each partner and regular contacts.
 
Joint staffing means that the project should have divided the tasks and that the project structure should not duplicate functions. There should be one joint project manager, one joint financial manager etc. for the whole project. Normally, these would be the Lead Partner’s responsibility.

Joint financing means that the different partner budgets together form the joint budget for the whole project. There is only one Subsidy Contract per project.

Should the project include all actions listed in the 'Indicative list of actions supported?

As the name suggests, the list is indicative. The list illustrates which kind of actions as part of the project could be supported. Each project is a unique entity and the types of actions should be selected based on the project logic and relevance.

Why is creating and the developing cross-border networks not accepted as a result of a project?

The Central Baltic Programme does not support pure networking projects. The needed networks are rather assumed to exist already. This is required in order to reach the results and objectives expected by the programme. A project may contain networking as a part of more concrete activities.

What does a small project mean in the Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020?

The aim of the small project instrument is to offer opportunity to implement local scale and people-to-people projects with simplified application and reporting process. A small project has limited ERDF budget size and duration which means that the ERDF contribution amount for one project is up to 200.000 € and the project duration is up to 2 years.

Can a small project be used as a preparation project for a regular project?

Each project co-financed by the programme including the small projects should always contribute to the result indicator(s) and output indicator(s) of the selected Specific objective. In order to be able to fulfill this demand it is not justified and advisable to plan a small project to be used as a preparatory project for a regular project. 

Are there some limitations for the project duration or the size of the project budget?

There are no set limitations for the regular projects on the project duration or project budget. The duration and the budget must reflect the content of the project – how long it takes to implement the project activities to being able to reach set outputs and results.

Whereas, for the small projects the duration can be maximum 2 years and the budget can be maximum 200 000 € ERDF adding the preparation cost maximum 10.000 € ERDF.

You may use the Programme budget proportion per each Specific objective and the targets of output and result indicator(s) as an indicative tool when considering the possible budget sizes of Central Baltic co-financed projects. You can find this information in the Programme Document.

What is the earliest possible date to start the project?

The earliest possible day for the project to start is the first day of the month following the Steering Committee meeting day. If e.g. the Steering Committee met and approved a project on 12 May, the earliest day for the project to start is 1 June. The dates of the relevant Steering Committee meetings will be published on the programme website or you may consult the Joint Secretariat for establishing the starting date.

As the project can start the implementation already on the first day of the month following the Steering Committee meeting day, it is recommended to plan only few activities for the couple of first months of the project. This is due to the fact that the signing the Subsidy Contract between the Managing Authority and the Lead Partner takes some time as well as signing the partnership agreement within the partnership, hiring the project personnel etc. preparatory actions. The slow start enables better to stay on track with the project plan.

How long is the eligible period for project preparation cost?

The eligible length of the project preparation is not defined. However, the earliest possible date for the eligible preparation cost is 1.1.2014 and the last possible date is the submission date of the full application. Maximum amount of eligible preparation cost is 10 000 € ERDF.

Your last new call was closed 27 February 2017. Will there be a new round for new applications?

The 4th call of the Central Baltic Programme 2014 – 2020 will be organized in the autumn of 2018. Details of the call will be decided by the Monitoring Committee of the programme in April 2018. As the programme has already allocated over 90% of its ERDF funding, it is very likely that the 4th call will be limited, so that all of the Specific Objectives may not be opened for applications. Information about the exact timing and extent of the 4th call will be published after official decisions have been made. The Joint Secretariat will provide consultation opportunities for applying projects.

Can project duration exceed the duration of Central Baltic and extend over 2020?

Projects do not necessarily have to end by 2020. Implementation can still continue in 2021.
 


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Budget planning

What is the ERDF co-financing rate for the partners?

75% ERDF for Finnish/Åland and Swedish partners, 85% ERDF for Estonian and Latvian partners.

Who can provide own co-financing for the Project partner (including Lead Partner)?

Any organisation from the same country as the partner can provide the necessary amount of own co-financing for the partner (Finland/Åland and Sweden at least 25% and Estonia and Latvia at least 15% of partner’s total budget). One or several organisation(s) can provide own co-financing for the partner.

When applying for the funding from the Central Baltic Programme the partner has to attach the signed co-financing statement(s) to the project application (2nd step for the regular projects, small projects with submission of the application form) from each organisation providing own co-financing for the partner, including the partner organisation itself.

In Finland, Åland and Latvia there is a centralised system in place to apply for own co-financing. The organizations responsible for this financing are: The Regional Council of Southwest Finland, The Government of Åland and The Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. Each organization has its own procedures for applying the own co-financing. For more detailed information on each organization’s procedures you may contact the organization directly.

Is private money eligible as own co-financing?

Private money is eligible.

What kind of contribution is not eligible as own co-financing?

In-kind contributions are not accepted as own co-financing. Based on this unpaid voluntary work or free-of-charge use of third parties’ property like meeting rooms, land or equipment etc. cannot be used as own co-financing.

Whereas, salaries of the employee already working for the partner organisation can be used as own co-financing as long as the employee will work for the project and his/her salary is (partly) budgeted for the project. Thus when the salaries are a real cost for the organisation they can be used as own co-financing.

Will there have to be a certain balance between the budgets of different countries or partners?

The project budget of each partner should always be proportional to the planned partner activities. As the Central Baltic co-financed projects are joint efforts in many levels, the budget should also reflect that.

What is the amount of the office and administration flat rate and what kind of costs are calculated in flat rate?

The flat rate is counted as 15% of the eligible staff costs. The following costs are calculated in flat rate: office rent, insurance and taxes related to the buildings where the staff is located and to the equipment of the office (e.g. fire, theft insurances), utilities (e.g. electricity, heating, water), office supplies, general accounting provided inside the partner organisation, archives, maintenance, cleaning and repairs, security, IT systems, communication (e.g. telephone, fax, internet, postal services, business cards), bank charges for opening and administering the account or accounts where the implementation of an operation requires a separate account to be opened, charges for transnational financial transactions. Above mentioned flat rate costs cannot be reported under any other budget line.

What kind of auditing is expected from partners and should these be included in the project budget?

In Finland the partners need to prepare for First Level Control (FLC) costs as there is a decentralised system in place. In other countries (Estonia, Latvia, Sweden and Åland) there is a centralised FLC system and the partners do not need to budget separate cost for the FLC.

Can all Finnish partners in one project use the same company providing FLC (one procurement procedure) or does each of them need to find their own?

A project can have one joint procurement done to find the organisation to provide FLC services for all Finnish partners of the project. In such cases the procurement must be done carefully so that each partner can prove the link between the joint procurement and costs paid by it.

Lump sums are allowed in the budget, but how can the lump sums be used and budgeted?

Lump sums mean that a total cost is budgeted to one activity or set of activities and the project gets reimbursed based on the approved budget rather than real costs during implementation.  Lump sums may be useful when several similar activities are done or when one activity consists of very many elements and thus would result in many invoices and other supporting documentation. Indicators are set to show that the activity took place in the planned way. Once the activity has taken place it will be reported. If the indicators for the activity are fulfilled completely, the project will be compensated with the full amount that was budgeted. No supporting documents have to be provided for the actual costs. The project is advised to set the indicators very carefully, as no reimbursement of costs will be made in case any of the indicators would not be completely fulfilled.

The maximum limit for one lump sum is 100.000 €. The project budget can, however, include several lump sums. Lump sums cannot be used for the budget line Staff costs or Equipment. The lump sum will be budgeted under the budget line (not Staff costs or Equipment) which is the most relevant from the viewpoint of cost types.

What calculation method to use for a person who is working part time for the project?

It needs to be decided case by case. The simplest option is to use fixed percentage. The fixed percentage can be applied, if the total amount of worktime during project implementation can be approximated with a good level of certainty. For example, the work time varies between 15-40 % during the whole project life time. In this case, 25% can be selected as a base for estimation, thus making 25% of gross employment costs eligible for the project. Also, there is no need to use the time registration system or calculate an hourly rate.
If it is not possible to estimate the average working time for the total project duration, then flexible number of hours can be chosen. When using flexible number of hours, it is good to check that all specific criteria for different methods to calculate the hourly rate are fulfilled as described in the Programme Manual.



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Investments

What is a joint investment?

A joint investment within the participating regions and/or brings direct added value to the region. This may be for example an investment that is used equally by the partners or programme regions, or equipment that can be moved from country to country when there is no need/possibility to invest in it separately in all countries. A joint investment could be used in a pilot phase and followed by local investments at a later stage, should the piloting be successful.

A joint investment may also be a locally done pilot or test investment. This requires that the investment brings an impact (through its network effect or otherwise) to the larger programme region and/or the results will later be spread to other parts of the region. In such cases there must be a clear plan for how the results will be spread and utilised in the programme area.
How much investments can there be in a project?

No limit has been set, but all investments need to be justified and have a cross-border added value. Obviously, a project cannot be 100% investments because there must be also other functions (management, communication etc.) that a project must carry out. Only investments that are necessary for implementing the project are eligible.

Does the program need to submit permits and other supporting documentation for investments together with the 2nd step application? Or can the supporting documentation be submitted after the project has started working?

In the ideal case the project would submit permits and other supporting documentation for investments with the project application. However, this is not always possible.

The wording in the programme manual is:

“Any relevant permits related to the investment must be made available to the MA before signing the Subsidy Contract at the latest. In some cases, however, the specific type of investment needed may only be clarified as part of the project activities. The need for the investment should be foreseen in the activity plan already, but the practical outcome will be defined during the project implementation. For such investments a project modification and a subsequent approval of the investment by the Steering Committee is always needed before implementing the investment. Any necessary permits must be made available to the MA before the MA can approve the modification.”

So it is possible to deliver documentation later, depending on the case. It is important that the programme does not commit itself to projects that have a high risk of failure due, for example,to prolonged permit processes, which could potentially cause delays for project implementation. In the worst case it may even be that a permit is not granted and investments cannot be implemented at all, and project will not achieve its results. This is why the programme is careful with these issues and would like to see the documentation as early as possible.


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State Aid and de minimis

We have heard the term ‘state aid’ - when is that relevant for our project?

Because the Central Baltic Programme gives public support, it cannot give aid to project activities that could potentially distort the competition between different EU member states. If your project would do activities that could put the partners in a better position on the EU market, then you should be in touch with the secretariat and assess the situation. The analysis of project activities is not relevant only for private partners but for all types of organisations that are active in a market situation.

An organisation can receive only up to 200.000 € of de minimis aid within any 3-year period. Would the Central Baltic programme support be considered as state aid? Our company has received 130.000 € from another EU-financing programme in 2013 and now we wonder if this means that we can receive only 70.000 € for future projects for e.g. port developments.

It is important to know that the Central Baltic Programme gives de minimis aid. The organisation receiving the 130.000 € should turn to the funding decision and see if that sum was de minimis aid. If yes, the Central Baltic contribution can really only be 70.000 €. If not, the limit of 200.000 € applies. It is always the responsibility of the organisation itself to know what type of aid it receives and which rules apply. It is the organization's own responsibility to make sure the limit of 200.000 € is not exceeded.

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eMonitoring System (eMS)

eMS - Application phase

How and when I can sign in to the e-Monitoring System (eMS)?

You can sign into the eMS already when you have a need to get familiar with the Application Form. You can sign in at the ems.centralbaltic.eu through the register button. When you have registered to the system you can start to fill in the Application Form. Normally, it is the Lead Partner who registers to the eMS to fill in the Application Form since it is strongly recommended that the Lead Partner will also be in charge of submitting the application.

The Central Baltic programme recommends that only the Lead Partner has filling in rights to the Application Form. Additionally, the Lead partner may give reading rights to other applicants (project partners) of the Application Form.

How can the Lead Partner give reading rights to Project Partners?

The Lead Partner can give reading rights by clicking User Management on the menu on the left hand side. There you will type in the username of the person you are giving rights to. Please note that this person has to be registered to the eMS and have a username before he/she can be added. Then click Add for reading. Modification rights to the application form can be given by clicking Add for modification.

When I go to the Partner Budget sheet and try to start filling in the budget but the budget sheet is not available, what can I do?

In order to be able to fill in a partner budget, the information of the partner (Lead Partner/ Project Partner) must be first filled in. When you go to the partner’s budget sheet (define budget) and if there is no budget sheet available go back to the Workplan sheet and there to the Reporting periods sheet and push the Recreate periods button. Now you should have the partner’s budget sheet available and ready to be filled in.

How is the flat rate calculated in the partner’s budget sheet?

The flat rate is calculated automatically when you have filled in the staff costs. After having filled in the staff costs tick the boxBudget flat rate and push the button Recalculate Budget. The flat rate is calculated based on the amount of staff costs. If you do changes to your staff costs, recalculate the flat rate by pushing the button again. The flat rate can be maximum 15%.

What to do if I cannot fill in all the fields in the Application Form?

If you are applying for funding for a regular project and you are filling in the first step Application Form, all fields are not asked to be filled in. Read from the Guide for filling in the Application Form which fields must be filled in for the first step. For the second step and for the small project application all fields of the Application Form must be filled in.

How can I make a pdf of my project application and print it out?

The application form can be saved as a .pdf file by clicking ‘Save as Pdf file’ on the menu on the left hand side. Clicking the button puts the PDF creation into a work queue and it will be processed in the background. After a few minutes the PDF can be found in ‘Generated files’ on the left hand side menu (you have to exit the project to see the full menu) where it can be downloaded or deleted.

How to submit the Application Form?

Your application will only be assessed if it is submitted. For small projects, you need to first check the saved application, after which you are able to submit it. For the first step of regular projects, there is no check before submit. Unfortunately, the check does currently not cover all the fields of the Application Form. Therefore, it is your own responsibility to make sure that all the required information is included in the application.

You can check that your application has been submitted by seeing My Applications page. After submission Small projects will haveSubmitted as their Project state and regular projects will have Partially Submitted as their Project state. If the Project state is Saved, the application has not been submitted and will not be assessed.

If I have started to fill in the application during the 1st call for applications and do not submit it for the call can I submit the same application for the 2nd call?

Due to possible changes in the application form from call to call, there must be a new application for each call.

eMS - Bugs and fixes

eMS - Bugs and fixes - File attachment problem (November 2016)

What is it about?

The bug allowed invoice attachments to be overwritten in partner reports, if a file with exactly the same filename already existed on the same budget line. Overwriting could occur for any user, regardless of the report status, if the filename was identical.

Who is concerned?

The bug concerns partners from first call and partners for small projects from second call.

Has it been fixed?

Yes. As of 2.11.2016 it is not possible for this issue to occur for new uploads.

When was the bug discovered?

The bug seems to have existed in the eMS since the beginning. The issue has not been clearly visible, as projects haven’t been filling in progress reports in large numbers until lately. The software supplier issued a hotfix at the beginning of November 2016.

Do I need to do something?

The affected parties have been informed directly with instructions how to act. However, first call and second call small project partners may still encounter this issue at a later point. Please see the answers below for more information.

What measures were taken?

Related to fixing the error, some attachments had to be deleted. Partners whose attachments were removed, received notification and instructions regarding the situation. Although the overwriting error does not exist anymore and it will not occur in the future, there is a possibility that first call partners and second call partners of small projects will encounter an inaccurate attachment. In this case, the file has been uploaded by an eMS user within the same partner organisation and thus the wrong attachment is their own document. This in turn is caused by the decision to leave overwritten files uploaded by the same partner intact.

An example scenario in a project occurs when a person has been employed multiple times by the same partner organisation. Every time the person has made a new working contract, a file named person_name_contract.pdf is uploaded. Thus, only the latest version was stored in the system. Any upload made since 2.11.2016 does not experience this issue.

What about data privacy?

There is a theoretical possibility that someone has seen a file they should not have. The possibility for this is remote, as attachments are rarely re-opened after filling in a report. There is one confirmed case of this that also led to the discovery and correction of the error.

I have discovered wrong or missing attachments, what should I do?

You should first review which of the below scenarios best describes your situation. The scenarios are:

- Your report is not submitted
In this case, please upload attachments that are wrong/missing again.

- You have submitted your report but it has not been certified by FLC
Ask your FLC to re-open the list of expenditures upload section in the Partner Report. Then upload the attachment again.

- The FLC has certified your report
No action required. Please note, however, that the attachments can be requested later during audit.

What will happen if there are wrong attachments that I’m not aware of?

This scenario will most likely occur during FLC/auditing. You will be asked to provide the correct attachment.


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Assessment of the applications

Who assesses the applications?

Once the call has been closed, the applications are first assessed by the Joint Secretariat based on the assessment criteria listed in the Programme Manual. After their assessment the final decision on which projects will proceed to the second step or receive financing will be taken by the Steering Committee consisting of representatives from each participating Member State.

When and how will I get to know if my application has been approved?

The Steering Committee dates are published on the programme website and the information about the taken decisions will be communicated to the projects officially via the eMS within 5 days of the Steering Committee meeting. It is the responsibility of the Lead Partner to inform the other project partners about the outcome.

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Eligibility of costs and Financial reporting

Staff Costs

What calculation method to use for a person who is working part time for the project?

It needs to be decided case by case. The simplest option is to use fixed percentage. The fixed percentage can be applied, if the total amount of worktime during project implementation can be approximated with a good level of certainty. For example, the work time varies between 15-40 % during the whole project life time. In this case, 25% can be selected as a base for estimation, thus making 25% of gross employment costs eligible for the project. Also, there is no need to use the time registration system or calculate an hourly rate.
If it is not possible to estimate the average working time for the total project duration, then flexible number of hours can be chosen. When using flexible number of hours, it is good to check that all specific criteria for different methods to calculate the hourly rate are fulfilled. These criteria are listed both in:

How to report staff costs for person working part time with flexible number of hours?

If the hourly rate is not fixed in the working contract, you need to select the method used for calculating the hourly rate first. There are two methods to choose:
  1. hourly rate based on monthly working time and
  2. annual hourly rate based on standard number of 1720 hours.
After choosing the method, the hourly rate is calculated either by:
  1. dividing the monthly gross employment costs with monthly working hours fixed in the employment document or
  2. dividing the latest documented annual gross employment cost with 1720 hours.
The hourly rate is then multiplied with the hours from the time registration system. No other calculation method is permitted (even though it would be used internally in your organisation).  To ensure the correct use of the method, and to document the calculation for hourly rate, all persons working part time with flexible number of hours must use the Staff Cost Tool. In other words, the Staff Cost Tool is part of the supporting documents.
The Staff Cost Tool as well as more detailed guidance on different methods can be downloaded at http://centralbaltic.eu/document-categories/implementation-phase.

How is the latest documented annual gross employment cost calculated? How many times it is calculated?

There are a few options, depending on the available data:
  1. latest documented annual gross employment cost for the latest calendar year
  2. latest documented gross employment costs for the period of 12 consecutive months
  3. in case the latest documented gross employment costs for the period of 12 consecutive months is not available, it can be extrapolated based on existing information and should include all salary related costs that would occur during the year
As the annual hourly rate is calculated only once during the project, the latest documented annual gross employment cost is calculated only once when reporting the salary for an employee for the first time.

What changes in the Staff costs must be approved by the JS?

The JS contact person must approve the following cases before the partner can:
  • change (decrease or increase) the work load of a staff position by more than 25% compared to the plan in the AF; or
  • add completely new tasks to the staff plan 
Please note that approved. For example, if the project has planned for a communication manager, it is possible to involve a trainee to take care some of the promised tasks; or if 50% project management and 50% communication management had been planned for two separate staff members, it is possible to combine these tasks for one 100% staff member.
However, if, as an example, no communication staff or procurement lawyer had not been planned and such are found to be needed during the project implementation, this needs to be approved by the JS.

 

Does change of project staff (amount of staff) need to be pre-approved by JS, or even communicated to JS?

Contact person should be informed.

If there are changes in project personnel, e.g. the budget indicates that a staff member is working on fixed percentage can it be changed during project implementation to part-time with flexible number of hours? Or vice versa.

That is a change in the budget that needs to be approved before hand by the contact person and later updated in the project budget when the project modification request is applied.

When the person is already employed by the organization before the project start and the work contract is not changed, what kind of document is needed to prove the fixed percentage of work time for the project?

If work contract is not changed, then decision to appoint X percentage of work time to the project must be made on the same administrative level (i.e. by the same position) than work contracts. (This document can be called appointment decision).

How should the personnel costs be reported in eMS (List of Expenditure), on a monthly basis or as one lump amount per person per reporting period?

Both options are fine.

What is the right way to fill in the staff costs: As a lump sum of gross salary/month or monthly salary and all the side costs separately?

The gross salary including social security costs can be reported. The different amounts of social security costs need to be visible in the supporting documents but does not need to be disclosed in the list of expenditure separately.

When to report personnel costs?

The personnel costs can be included in the report on two grounds. This payment can be included in the reporting period when it is incurred (e.g. March) as long as it is paid before FLC checks. It can also be included into the report when it is paid (e.g. April).

How to report the social security costs related to salary payments, if those are paid in the following moth?

It is advised to have both, actual salaries and taxes, declared in the same period report, even though some taxes would be paid after end of a reporting period. For instance, taxes for salaries for February are paid in March and the reporting period ends in the end of February. You can report those taxes together with the salary for February as long as those are actually paid before FLC check.

When are time sheets needed?

Time sheets are needed when a person is working a flexible share of his/her working time for the project. The actual work time for the project varies from month to month.

Does the time sheet need to include also holiday days and sick leaves?

The days for sick leave and holiday can be marked in the time sheets, but no hours should be filled in for those days.  

How to handle supporting documents with personal information (name, social security number, salary etc)?

Any attachment to staff costs are always considered as confidential by the Programme. However, you may take out social security number and other that kind of data as long as persons/positions are identifiable in some way.

How to mark salaries in bookkeeping?

All project salaries should be visible in the project bookkeeping/cost center. It can be done either so that the salaries are directly booked to the project cost center when paid out, or those can, for example, be transferred as a lump sum per person for the whole reporting period, naturally booking the salary and social costs in correct way.

Office and Administration

When is general accounting part of Office and Administration Flat rate? What is meant by general accounting?

General accounting refers to tasks that are carried out in the organization regardless of the project, such as invoice routing and salary payments, when they are carried out as in-house service. In case this service is outsourced, the cost should be budgeted for and reported as external expertise.

Are meeting rooms provided by the partner organization included in the flat rate even though the project has to pay the rent of the meeting room separately?

Internal invoicing for meeting rooms is included in the flat rate.

How Office and Administration cost must be reported?

Office and Administration costs are calculated in eMS as 15% of eligible staff costs. The Programme does not require any evidence of such costs.

External Expertise and Services

Is it possible to make a joint procurement, e.g. for a feasibility study, where several partners will finance the feasibility study?

Yes, it is possible with certain limitations. However, it is a highly complex process; the partner publishing the tender needs to carefully follow public procurement requirements of all other partners’ countries. In addition, there are following limitations:

  • all partners must be part of the contract with the service provider OR
  • there has to be a separate contract with each partner and the service provider
  • AND each partner needs to be invoiced separately.

All partners also need to annex the tendering materials as supporting documents. If the project has planned to do a joint procurement, the partner responsible for the tender procedure must make sure that the selected method is in line with public procurement requirements of all other partners’ countries and is advised to contact the FLCs of all involved partners.

The project is organising a one-day project meeting/workshop and plans to organise a welcoming get-together event for the participants on the evening before the meeting. Is this an eligible cost?

Organising such an event can be considered eligible if the meeting/workshop starts early, due to which the participants would be arriving already on the day before. The event has to have an agenda, which shows the connection and relevance to the project and its topic. The costs of such an event should be moderate, equalling the cost of a coffee break.
 

Equipment

How to budget and report mobile phones?

There are 2 different ways:

  1. in cases where the mobile phone and subscription fee are billed as one (there is one invoice), we would allocate this cost under BL2: Office and administration.
  2. in cases where there is a clear separation between the cost of the phone and the cost of subscription, the subscription stays under BL2: Office and administration and the mobile phone should fall under BL 5: Equipment.

Conversion to Euro

In which currency the cost should be reported in the eMS?

Costs incurred in a currency other than the euro are reported in their original currency and are converted into euro in eMS. The eMS uses the monthly accounting exchange rate of the Commission in the month during which expenditure was submitted for verification to the First Level Control. This applies to all partners, regardless of whether they use the euro or not. The costs of fluctuation of foreign exchange rates are not eligible.

In company credit card invoices the costs are always charged in euros, even though the original amount would be in other currency – should these costs be reported in euros or in other currency?

In the case of company credit cards, the expenditure is incurred in euros for the organization and can be reported in euros.

Travel reimbursement of project staff is always converted to euros in our travel management system. Should these costs be reported in euros or in other currency?

In the case of the travel reimbursement of project staff, the expenditure is incurred  in euros for the organization and can be reported in euros.

Closure period

If the project/partner does the activity before the closure period but the invoice arrives during the closure period is it eligible?

Yes, it is as long as the invoice is paid during the closure period.

Can the salary for the partner staff and additional costs be paid during the closure period if they worked for the project before the closure period?


Yes as long as the payments take place during the closure period.

How to deal with Finnish FLC cost for the last report?

This is an example case and relevant to plan in advance. The cost for FLC for the last report can be paid in advance during the project time, even if the activity takes place after the project is ended for lead partner or during the closure period for project partner. The partner needs to agree with FLC to receive and pay an advance payment in good time before the end of the project. 


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Communication

Can I use the local language versions for the European Union or European Regional Development Fund texts in my brochure?

As a rule of thumb, if the product (i.e. a leaflet, poster and so on) is in one local language, then it is suitable to use localised texts. If however, there are more than one languages present in the product, you should use the English texts to avoid confusion. Also, bear in mind that the official communication language of the programme is English.

What logos do I need to put on my website?

Websites created with funding from the Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020 must contain references to the funding source at the start/main page. On a separate project website, the EU flag, in colour, and text “European Union” must be displayed on the front page without the reader having to scroll. The Central Baltic programme logo as well as the EU emblem, can be downloaded from the Logos and Maps section under documents. Remember to always check also the other cofinancers’ publicity requirements and follow the national rules on publicity issues. An overview table of required logos is also provided in the communication section of the website.

Can the project logo be bigger than the EU flag e.g. on a project webpage?

The Programme Manual states that "If there are other logos displayed in addition to the EU flag, the flag is to have at least the same size as the biggest of the other logos, measured in height or width." This includes all logos, also the project logo.

Can I use monochrome logos on my project website?

According to the Commission Implementing Regulation 821/2014, Chapter II, Article 4, point 1: "The Union emblem referred to in point 1(a) of Section 2.2 of Annex XII to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 shall be displayed in colour on websites. In all other media, colour shall be used whenever possible and a monochrome version may only be used in justified cases."

Thus, the logos have to be in colour.

How tall should the flag the European Union be?

The height of the flag must be at least the height of the oval element found in the Central Baltic Programme's logo. If there are other logos, further restrictions may apply.

The emblem is produced in monochrome reproduction process. Is it in line with the correct use of the emblem to produce it also on single-coloured background, such as silver?

If you have only one ink available (black or white) and the background is not black or white, please use black ink for the stars and rectangle if the background is light, even if it is not white.
 
If the background is dark, the rectangle and the stars should be white.

In some cases, there is a background material that requires printing the monochromatic emblem i.e. in white to achieve best possible contrast. Is this still acceptable? 

Yes.

The project logo along with the EU emblem has disappeared from the project Facebook profile picture. How could this happen and are there some restrictions on the use of the EU emblem on Facebook?

We are not aware of any restrictions and unless there is a technical error within Facebook, it is likely that the picture was deleted by an user accidentally. A good tip is to create and store files locally and then re-upload if such scenario occurs.

I want to create products in my project that look like Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020 products and documents. Can I get the graphic manual of the programme?

The programme has its own graphical layout with distinct colours and design elements. The idea behind this is to create a coherent look that easily allows the recognition of documents and products related to the programme. Examples of Central Baltic products include the Programme Manual, the communication strategy, Guide for project implementation, roll-ups, posters and so on.

It is not encouraged for the projects to use the colours and design elements found in the Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020 documents. The reason for this is simple: we want to avoid confusion. Graphical products created outside the programme, that look like programme products, might be mistaken as ours.

On a more practical note, imagine that your project is attending a conference. For the conference, you create a poster using the colours and design elements of the Central Baltic programme. Additionally, our national Contact Point is participating in the same conference with our own materials. If there are two near identical posters or even stands with same design, how could you tell the difference between who is providing funding possibilities and who is utilising them? In short: you won’t be able to distinguish your project from the programme, if the design looks the same. Think about it; by creating your own graphical look you are showing that it’s your project that is making the difference. 

Information about temporary billboards and permanent explanatory plaques

The requirements for the temporary billboard and permanent explanatory plaque are given in the Programme Manual, Regulation No 1303/2013, especially ANNEX XII and in the Implementation Regulation No 821/2014.

More information about the temporary and permanent explanatory plaques is found in the following FAQ entries.

Temporary billboards, characteristics

A project with a budget exceeding EUR 500 000 of ERDF has to set up a temporary billboard for each infrastructure investment.
 
For larger infrastructure operations, such as duckboards or trench excavations, setup a billboard of appropriate proportions. If there are multiple constructions in a single locality, one strategically placed billboard can be sufficient.
 
For projects with wide geographical distribution of smaller infrastructure investments (e.g. improving multiple small ports), poster of smaller size (A3) can be used, as long as they are readily visible.
 
The requirements for the billboard are:
  • Name of the project, main objective of the project including explanation of added value
  • Size of the billboard/plaque has to be 'significant' but proportional to the size of investment at site
  • The European union emblem and textual reference to the fund
  • The Central Baltic logo
  • The project name, main objective and references to the EU should occupy at least 25% of the billboard/plaque.
If unsure, always check with your project Lead Partner/contact person before setting up billboards.

Permanent explanatory plaques, characteristics

The principles of billboards apply to permanent explanatory plaques with the following additions:
  • The permanent plaque has to be erected no later than three months after completion of an operation
  • The Programme Manual states that ‘The public availability of results is to be guaranteed also after project closure, preferably for at least 5 years.’ Thus, the durability of permanent plaques should be considered to be at least 5 years.

Billboards and permanent explanatory plaques for projects, where the total public support to a project is significantly less than EUR 500 000

The principles of temporary billboards and permanent explanatory plaques apply for projects with support of significantly less than EUR 500 000 ERDF. However, the size can be adjusted more freely:
  • The size of the billboard/plaque has to be big enough for the EU emblem and Central Baltic logo to be clearly recognised. The text can be smaller. Recommended format is at least A3.
 



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