Improving EU financing conditions for CSOs
ECNL provided expertise in the review of EU Financial Regulation and its rules of application. First, in 2009 we carried out survey of EU project implementers among CSOs in Central and Eastern Europe as regards to access and availability of funding. As a result, several issues were identified in terms of financing conditions that we undertook to advocate for: e.g., high cost-share requirement and in-kind costs eligibility, low level of indirect costs recovery, exchange rate losses when applying EU official rate. We integrated these issues in its expert opinion submission to the consultation of the European Commission DG Budget on revision of Financial Regulation. We also activated our CSO networks, and partner organizations to respond to the consultation and include these points, and we also reached out to the European Parliament.
As the result of our and other CSO advocacy, many of the proposed improvements were reflected in the draft report of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets and Budgetary Control which was prepared in response to the Commission’s draft Financial Regulation (e.g. eligibility of in-kind contributions for co-financing). The final adopted financial regulation and its rules for application reflected on the Committee comments, and included improved provisions (specifically on no-profit principle and retention of generated interest, in-kind contributions as valid co-financing, alternative provision on currency exchange rates, and gave an opening for possible justification of increase of indirect cost – above the accepted 7%).
ECNL plans to monitor the application of these new provisions and to provide input to the upcoming review of the financial regulation in 2015.