COVID-19: provisions related with projects implementation

Extension of the implementation period

By decision of the Monitoring Committee, the following measures related to the extension of projects implementation were adopted:

I) An automatic 6 months extension is given to all the projects without any request. For projects which do not need such extension they must inform the JS, by mail, about their “opt out option”;

II) If a project needs an extension beyond 6 months directly caused by the COVID-19 situation, it has the possibility to request it by email, with reference to the last projects’ approved ending date. The LP will have to give due justification and show the direct links between the extension requested and the delays incurred by the COVID-19. This is an exceptional measure that has been put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;

III) The approval of the requests mentioned in II) shall be submitted to the JS on the basis of a simple Modified Request Form without the need of a Written Consultation procedure, and just informing the Monitoring Committee about all the cases. Routine extension requests, not related to the COVID-19, must continue to be approved by national authorities.

Eligibility of expenditures associated to cancelled missions and other activities

According to the Programme Manual of the Interreg Atlantic Area, expenditures related with travel and accommodation are eligible if and only if the journey actually takes place. However, since the spread of the infection by the COVID-19 has been severely affecting our beneficiaries due to the transnational nature of their activities, the Managing Authority proposed to the Monitoring Committee the establishment of a set of specific provisions to proceed with the categorization of these situations as unforeseen and extraordinary, beyond the control of the beneficiary, and so as force majeure.

Based on this proposal, the Monitoring Committee approved the following rules:

Costs of cancelled travel remain eligible if:

  • The national level or the partner institution ban any travel activities,
  • A person has a health issue making travelling too risky,
  • A conference was cancelled by the organizer (taking into consideration that the costs are borne by the institution and will not be reimbursed otherwise).

Personal preference not to travel, if not backed by a recommendation either from your organisation, or any other official level (local, regional or national) is not considered a reason for eligibility from the Atlantic Area Programme side.

Meeting costs (room, catering, etc.) remain eligible. We leave it up to the organizer to either go ahead with a reduced amount of participants or to cancel the meeting due to force majeure.

Finally, we remind you to always have a clear audit trail for those expenditures, with official announcements, cancellation notes, internal notes, documentary evidence of non-reimbursement of these trips (e.g., reimbursement claims and decisions rejecting the reimbursement of expenditure, etc.). It is also important to check with your First Level Controllers (FLCs) as there may be national rules that apply as well.

Information addressed to portuguese FLC

Na impossibilidade dos ROC se deslocarem às instalações dos beneficiários para realizarem as verificações nos termos previstos na descrição dos sistemas de gestão e controlo, informamos que:

  • As verificações administrativas que incidem na verificação documental, financeira e contabilística de cada uma das despesas apresentadas podem ser realizadas com recurso às plataformas dos respetivos programas ou, em alternativa, no caso de qualquer constrangimento de funcionalidade, através do envio de documentos digitalizados disponibilizados pelos beneficiários. A verificação administrativa deve ser realizada em conformidade com o manual de procedimentos, ponto 2.5.2 - Verificação do pedido de pagamento.
  • Quanto á verificação no local, com vista à confirmação da realização física dos investimentos, a mesma deverá ocorrer até ao encerramento da operação para a qual o ROC foi reconhecido, sem prejuízo dos ROC poderem solicitar evidência da sua concretização no decorrer da verificação administrativa, eg fotografias dos equipamentos e da sua localização ou outros registos audiovisuais que possam ser conservados. Relembramos a necessidade do envio de comprovativo do cumprimento do ponto 2.2.2 b) do Anexo II do Regulamento 1303/2013, de 17 dezembro, relativo à informação e comunicação (poster A3 que deve estar afixado nas instalações do beneficiário).

Sendo as verificações realizadas desta forma importa acautelar, tanto da parte do ROC como da parte do beneficiário, uma adequada pista de auditoria.

Informamos ainda, que estas orientações poderão sofrer alguma adaptação no sentido de acomodar eventuais contributos da Autoridade de Auditoria.

Estas orientações entraram em vigor dia 18 março de 2020 e estão vigentes até ser dada indicação por parte do Governo de que se poderá retomar o normal funcionamento das instituições.