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C 145/12 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 26.5.




Call for proposals to improve the knowledge of small and medium-sized enterprises of financial
(1999/C 145/08)


European Commission, Excluded from this call for proposals are all potential applicants
Directorate-General XXIII, who:
Unit B/3 ‘Access to Finance’,
G-1 1/48, — are bankrupt or are being wound up, whose affairs are
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200, being administered by the court, who have entered into
B-1049 Brussels; an arrangement with creditors, who have suspended
Fax (32-2) 295 21 54. business activities or who are in any analogous situation
arising from a similar procedure under national laws and

— are the subject of proceedings for a declaration of bank-

II. GENERAL OBJECTIVE ruptcy, for an order for compulsory winding-up or adminis-
tration by the court or for an arrangement with creditors or
Under the third multiannual programme for small and of any other similar proceedings under national laws or
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union (1), regulations,
and in response to a request from the Cardiff European
Council in June 1998, the Commission wishes to take action — have been convicted of an offence concerning their
aimed at improving the financial environment of SMEs. Too professional conduct by a judgment which has the force
many SMEs suffer from a weakness in their financial structure. of res judicata,
They also have major potential for job creation. Financial
engineering instruments can rectify this situation and even — have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven
generate considerable leverage, not only from the point of by any means which the contracting authorities can justify,
view of the volume of financial resources channelled towards
SMEs, but also in terms of jobs created. In this context, the — have not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of
Commission wishes to promote the use of mutual guarantee social security contributions in accordance with the legal
schemes. This call complements that published in the Official provisions of the country in which they are established or
Journal of the European Communities C 263 of 20 August 1998. with those of the country of the contracting authortiy,

— have not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of

taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the
country of the contracting authority.

The Commission plans to co-finance up to 50 % of the

operating costs of projects in line with the abovementioned V. ACTIONS ELIGIBLE UNDER THIS CALL FOR PROPOSALS
objectives, which are set out in point V.1.
1. Proposals must cover:

As a rule, co-financing is limited to one year. However, the — the dissemination of the concept by means of seminars
rules governing the eligibility of categories of expenditure are and/or any other means of communication; organisation
set out in the ‘General terms and conditions applicable to grant of the exchange of good practices in the field of mutual
agreements of the European Communities’, which will be sent guarantee schemes.
together with the ‘Grant application form’ at the request of
2. Selection criteria:
(1) Council Decision 97/15/EC of 9 December 1996 (OJ L 6, 10.1.1997,
p. 25). — applicants must be legally constituted and registered;
26.5.1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 145/13

— applicants must have the necessary financial and moral VII. FOLLOW-UP, MONITORING, EVALUATION
integrity to carry out the subsidised action successfully;
(a) Follow-up will be carried out on the basis of the
— applicants must have proven experience in financing information provided by the recipient of the contribution.
young companies and in the evaluation of the overall The scope of the information required by the Commission
risks presented by these companies and have knowledge will be specified in the subsidy agreement (sent to the
of banking systems; applicant once their proposal has been adopted by the
selection committee on the basis of the criteria listed
— applicants must have a network on a European scale and above).
must have experience both in organising international
conferences and in the area of mutual guarantee (b) On-site audits may be carried out.
schemes. (c) The Commission department responsible will carry out an
ex post evaluation on the basis of information collected
during the follow-up.
3. Award criteria:

— conformity of the project to the objectives of the multi- VIII. TIMESCALE

annual programme for SMEs;
The proposals submitted and selected must be put into practice
— quality of the project: reasoned description of modus
within two years of the signing of the subsidy agreement.
operandi (in particular as regards budget, place of estab-
lishment and geographical area covered, operating
methods and coordination);
— absence of other financing by the European institutions
of the same expenditure; Interested parties must ask the Commission in writing (at the
address given in point I) to send them the ‘Grant application
— management structure (organisational chart, distribution form’ and the ‘General terms and conditions applicable to grant
of duties, etc.); agreements of the European Communities’.
Applicants must submit their proposals in triplicate using the
— cost-effectiveness. abovementioned form. They must be sent by registered mail in
two sealed envelopes, the inner envelope bearing the words
‘Call for proposals’, by 30 June 1999 at the latest, the
postmark being accepted as proof.
SERVICES TO BE CO-FINANCED In the event of approval by the Commission, a grant agreement
specifying the conditions and the amount of the grant will be
Tenderers must be from or have their head office in a Member concluded between the Commission and the recipient. It must
State of the European Economic Area (EEA). be signed immediately and returned to the Commission.

The services must be provided both in the EEA and in the

countries applying to join the European Union. X. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

At budgetary level, the activities taking place in the EEA should Any requests for additional information should be sent by fax
be clearly distinguished from those concerning the countries to the European Commission, DG XXIII/B.3 (Mr Rudy
applying to join the European Union. Aernoudt) on (32-2) 295 21 54.