EU grants - guidance for administration and applicants

February 15, 2002

Brussels, 14 February 2002

Vade-Mecum on Grant Management (191 KB - 68 pages). [NB. This document, although first appearing on this website on 14 February 2002, is dated July 1998.]

Grants account for an important part of Community expenditure. They give the Community a flexible instrument adapted to its objectives in the different areas of Community policies. But the Community also depends on the active participation and involvement of civil society at large in pursuing its policy objectives.

Outside institutions sometimes perform functions of general European interest. Here grants can offer an efficient method of promoting EU policy aims. Altogether, such institutions and organisations committed to the project of European construction have an important role to play.

Managing public funds always carries a special responsibility. Not only must the taxpayer's money be spent in a judicious and economic way, but spending decisions must also obey sound rules which are transparent to the public and to potential beneficiaries.

Grant management is a particularly sensitive area, given the fact that the Community does not receive a full market equivalent for its expenditure.

Setting sound and transparent standards for the management of Community funds has been a priority of this Commission from the very outset. This was the ambition that prompted us to embark on the task of drafting a Vade-mecum that would provide the Commission with a common framework for awarding and monitoring direct grants and that could be applied in any policy area where there are no sector-specific rules.

The purpose of the Vade-mecum, then, is to serve as a reliable reference guide for users confronted by the many issues that arise in the day-to-day management of grants. It is based on extensive interdepartmental consultation throughout its drafting in order to reconcile operational and financial demands.

Proper observance of the rules and recommendations contained here will facilitate the implementation of spending decisions. At the same time, the Vade-mecum will also serve as a reference guide for explaining the Commission's policy to the budget authority, the European Court of Auditors, and the public at large....

The purpose of the Vade-mecum is to provide an easy-to-follow reference guide for all those involved with grants, whether drawing up, proposing, or evaluating programmes or processing individual applications. As regards the recommendations and procedural rules set out here, it is taken as read that Commission officials should coordinate across departments. This covers consultation on a wide range of horizontal matters, be it implementing the Vade-mecum or simply the day-to-day business of administering grants. To give some examples, such matters would include consulting SCIC on the cost of conferences, checking beneficiary's records in the Early Warning System, or adding to the general list of beneficiaries that receive core funding from the Community budget.

Better prior publicity and the use of a standard application form, standard agreement, and other documents appended to the Vade-mecum should help to prevent unnecessary consultations on financial and legal issues both among Commission departments and with beneficiaries.

The Vade-mecum is founded on experience and therefore can and should evolve in response to users' practical concerns. Your personal involvement in further improving the Commission's management standards will be most welcome.

The Vade-mecum comprises two kinds of rules:

- binding procedural rules that constitute the basic rules which managing departments must follow, and

- optional recommended managerial practices. These are intended to standardise practice in Commission departments as far as possible and to help managing departments in their day-to-day work.

Both the rules and recommended managerial practices should be seen as principles for authorising departments to follow as lines of conduct.

However, they are of course free - within the framework of the Vade-mecum - to adopt stricter - but not looser - standards as they see fit. The minimum procedures that must always be observed are summarised below, at point 1.5 of this chapter.

The ten chapters into which the Vade-mecum is divided reflect the various stages of the process from drawing up a programme, deciding to award a grant, through to evaluating and publicising the results...

Justice and Home Affairs DG

Source: Justice and Home Affairs DG

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