The current situation in which we are experiencing the spread of the COVID-19 virus requires a quick and, above all, flexible adaptation to the circumstances. For this reason, we have also adapted the work processes within the Managing Authority and the Joint Secretariat and adopted certain measures necessary for the successful continuation of the implementation of the programme and projects. For this reason, we have prepared the following guidelines for the implementation of project activities.
In line with the Implementation manual for beneficiaries – part 4: Eligibility of expenditure, costs related to travel and accommodation (unused tickets) or event organisation (catering, etc.) that have not taken place are not eligible.
In this special circumstances the project partners might be forced to cancel the project related travels and events due to the COVID-19 situation. The related costs (e.g. travel tickets, pre-paid accommodation, event services) could be accepted as eligible if the activity (travel or event) has not taken place:
- due to travel restrictions established by WHO, regional/national authorities or at the level of the partner organisation,
- due to a cancellation from the hosting/organising structure,
- due to justified medical or personal restrictions resulting directly from the COVID-19 virus (e.g. symptoms, confirmation of the illness, quarantine measures) of the person who was to travel.
The above mentioned costs can be accepted as eligible only if they can not be recovered by any other means. In case costs were already reimbursed by other means (insurances, air companies, etc) they cannot be claimed in the framework of the programme.
The presented provisions concern all types of projects and will be applied for all cases, in line with the above stated provisions, that have already occurred due to the COVID-19 situation and will be valid until the revocation by the Managing Authority which will take place when the COVID-19 situation improves.
Concerning the implementation of activities with physical attendance, we recommend to try to continue implementing project activities as originally planned or to adapt activities planned in the forthcoming months to the current situation. Since we do not know when the situation will come back to normal, it is important to reduce at a minimum any delay in project implementation. As the situation is constantly changing, the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat recommend for future travel and events to make use of flexible booking options and contractual arrangements allowing refundable cancellations. In order to avoid negative impact to the project implementation it is recommended to replace cancelled meetings or organize future meetings by on-line meetings/video-conferences where possible. For events, think of any other form of implementing the project activities/promoting the project results (e.g. targeted online promotional campaigns, videos, online presentation of results, use of social media and website…). The possible adaptation of the project activities shall be communicated to the respective JS contract manager. We recommend that events that have to be made in person and expect the number of participants to exceed 100 participants shall be postponed for at least 3 months. Eventual extension of projects due to the external circumstances will be dealt with on case by case basis.
As it is impossible to cover all the cases in such directions, we again invite you to contact your ERDF Subsidy contract manager via dashboard message in the eMS or call us between 9am and 3pm in case of questions related to the implementation of project activities.
All further information and any guidance will be posted on the programme website.
Lead partners are kindly requested to forward this communication to all project partners. In addition, this communication shall also be provided to the First level controls.