With the Coronavirus emergency continuing, the European Commission has sent a new note to the Directors of the National Agencies regarding the implementation of the Erasmus + Program and the European Solidarity Corps.
The note responds to the numerous questions received by the Commission from all the National Agencies in reference to two main points:
- Practical aspects related to the application of the force majeure clause
- Possibility to extend the duration of the grant
APPLICATION OF THE FORCE MAJEURE CLAUSE
The definition of force majeure situation is as follows:
“Force majeure: any unforeseeable, exceptional situation or event beyond the control of the parties that prevents either of them from fulfilling any of their obligations under the Agreement, which is not attributable to error or negligence on their part or on the part of the subcontractors affiliated entities or third parties in receipt of financial support and which proves to be inevitable despite their exercising due diligence. The following cannot be invoked as force majeure: labor disputes, strikes, financial difficulties or any default of a service, defect in equipment or materials or delays in making them available, unless they stem directly from a relevant case of force majeure “.
It is up to the National Agencies to evaluate the situations in which the beneficiary is unable to fulfill their obligations under the agreement.
What about the costs incurred (including any additional costs)?
The National Agencies can accept additional costs of an extraordinary nature not foreseen in the initial project budget, where duly justified (for example, it was not possible to recover the cost under an insurance scheme, the event that generated the cost cannot be reprogrammed, etc.) and reported on the basis of real costs. To this end, beneficiaries will have to produce a signed declaration stating that costs cannot be recovered in other ways.
National Agencies will send detailed information to beneficiaries for reporting purposes.
Under no circumstances can an increase in the total funding be granted.
WILL IT BE POSSIBLE TO EXTEND THE DURATION OF THE PROJECT?
Where relevant, the National Agencies may decide to authorize beneficiaries to extend the duration of their projects to allow postponement of activities with up to 12 months per project.
In all Key Actions the maximum duration may not, in any case, exceed 36 months in total.
More details on the individual measures of the Program will be sent to the individual beneficiaries for reporting purposes.