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C 111/2 EN Official Journal of the European Union 9.5.






(2003/C 111/02)

On 13 June 2002 the Council of the EU adopted a Decision, national and international governmental and non-govern-
hereinafter referred as the ARGO Decision, establishing an mental organisations.
action programme for administrative cooperation in the fields
of external borders, visas, asylum and immigration (1). This
action programme covers the period 2002 to 2006. The
2003 budget is EUR 8 000 000. This action programme should also lead to a reinforcement of
the mutual understanding between the national services and
the development of a shared working methodology that
would facilitate the necessary bilateral contacts between them.


The main aim of the ARGO action programme is to promote
administrative cooperation between national services
responsible for implementing Community rules in the areas Based on the responsible organisation and the way they are
of Articles 62 and 63 of the EC Treaty. The general objectives implemented, the actions foreseen by the ARGO programme
as laid down in Article 3 of the ARGO decision are the are divided into three categories:


— to promote cooperation between national agencies in
implementing Community rules with special attention to
the pooling of resources and coordinated and homo- The ARGO action programme supports different activities
geneous practices, in the areas of external borders, visas, asylum and immi-
gration laid down in Articles 4 to 7 of the ARGO decision.
The types of actions (see Article 8 of the ARGO Decision)
are the following:
— to promote uniform application of Community law in
order to harmonise decisions taken by the national
agencies of Member States, thereby avoiding malfunc-
tioning likely to prejudice the progressive establishment — training actions including, in particular, the elaboration
of an area of freedom, security and justice, of harmonised curricula and common core-training
programmes to be organised by national agencies and
complementary actions aimed at making national
agencies receptive to the best working methods and
— to improve the overall efficiency of national agencies in the techniques developed in other Member States,
carrying-out of their tasks when implementing Community
— staff exchanges ensuring that seconded staff participate
effectively in the work of the host national agencies,
— to ensure that proper account is taken of the Community
dimension in the organisation of national agencies
contributing to the implementation of Community rules, — actions promoting, on one hand, the use of
computerised handling of files and procedures,
including use of the most up-to-date techniques for
electronic data exchange and, on the other hand, the
— to encourage transparency of actions taken by national collection, analysis, distribution and exploitation of
agencies by strengthening their relations with the relevant information making the fullest use of information tech-
nology, in particular, the establishment of information
(1) Council Decision 2002/463/EC (OJ L 161, 19.6.2002). points and websites,
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— evaluation of the impact of common rules and In accordance with Article 12 of the same decision the
procedures based on Articles 62 and 63 of the Treaty, ARGO Committee will be consulted.

— actions intended to promote the development of best

EUR 800 000, corresponding to the annual budget for
practices with a view to improving working methods
2003, has been earmarked for this type of action. The
and equipment, simplifying procedures and shortening
amount not committed could be used for the benefit of
the other actions proposed by the Member States and/or
the Commission in accordance with the rules laid down in
points I and III of this annual work programme.
— operational activities which might include setting up of
common operative centres and of teams composed of
staff drawn from two or more Member States,

— studies, research, conferences and seminars involving The Commission proposes in the annual work programme
staff of the Member States and the Commission and, certain actions that it intends to undertake in order to
where appropriate, staff of the relevant national and promote and facilitate administrative cooperation pursuing
international governmental and non-governmental the general objectives aforementioned and supporting
organisations, activities in the areas of this action programme (see
Article 4, 5, 6 or 7 of the ARGO Decision). The
Commission actions for 2003 are described under point 3.

— mechanisms for consulting and associating the relevant

national and international governmental and non-govern-
mental organisations, Interested parties should not submit any tender, proposal or
expression of interest of any kind in relation to these
actions at this stage. If appropriate, the relevant call for
tenders will be published in accordance with the procedures
— Member States' activities in third countries, in particular applicable thereto.
fact-finding missions in countries of origin and transit,

— the fight against document fraud. EUR 650 000, corresponding to the annual budget for
2003, has been earmarked for this type of action. The
amount not committed could be used for the benefit of
the other actions proposed by the Member States in
The actions proposed shall be in line with at least one of accordance with the rules laid down in point I of this
the specific objectives and thematic priorities established for annual work programme.
each year (see point 3).


DECISION This chapter constitutes the core of the annual work
programme indicating for each area (external borders, visas,
The objective of this type of action is to deal with urgent
asylum and immigration) the specific objectives and thematic
situations derived for instance from unexpected political
priorities for the year 2003. The conformity with these
events or crisis situations exposing national administrations
objectives and priorities is one of the main selection criteria
to exceptional circumstances when implementing a
of the actions proposed in response to the annual call for
common policy in the areas of visas, control of external
borders, asylum and international protection and
management of migration flows. The co-financing request
will be triggered by a spontaneous application of one
national agency when such a situation arises.
The specific objectives and priorities for 2003 reflect a
continuity with the ones elaborated for 2002. Special
attention from a financial point of view (see point 4 ‘budget’)
These specific actions are therefore not covered by the is given to the area of external borders due to the great
annual call for proposals. However, the eligibility criteria importance that not only the Council but also Parliament
as well as the selection criteria laid down in the ARGO attaches to it. The latter requested the allocation of an
Decision, except for the selection criterion regarding additional amount of EUR 3 000 000 for Member States'
conformity with the annual work programme, shall apply. activities to secure the external borders.
C 111/4 EN Official Journal of the European Union 9.5.2003

Involvement of candidate countries from 2003 until effective — Improvement of sea border controls and surveillance
accession will be regarded as a ‘horizontal’ priority and is including the follow-up of the feasibility study on
therefore encouraged in all areas of action of the ARGO maritime border controls.
programme. After concluding the accession negotiations with
10 candidate countries at the European Council in
Copenhagen, the Accession Treaties will be signed in 2003,
the national agencies of the future Member States should, as VISAS
far as possible, be involved in the actions proposed.
Activities in the area of visa policy covering in particular the
improvement of document security, the strengthening and
The proposed Commission actions also reflect a certain development of common consular cooperation, the feasibility
continuity with 2002. Concrete steps will only be possible of a visa information system and the visa consultation network
once the results of the visa information system study
launched under the 2002 annual work programme are
available and the Council has decided on the follow-up.
Specific objectives and priorities

— Improvement of document security following the tech-

EXTERNAL BORDERS nological developments, in particular biometrics
Activities in the area of external borders covering in particular
the Presidency Conclusions of the Seville Council and the plan
for the management of the external borders of the Member — Strengthening of consular cooperation, e.g. mutual
States of the EU, including the development of a border assistance in the training of staff for information
management strategy and border management cooperation exchange, elaborating best practices and management for
dealing with a huge amount of visa applications

Specific objectives and priorities

— Promoting harmonisation in the examination of visa
— Follow-up of the plan for the management of the external applications, including common administrative structures
borders of the Member States of the EU, communication on and procedures
border management, the feasibility study on a European
border guard and of the police and border security
— Improvement of consultation procedures

— Implementation of a common risk analysis model

— Activities addressed to the competent civil servants and
judges (e.g. staff exchange, visits, conferences, etc)
— Development of a harmonised curriculum and training for
border guards
— Examining the feasibility and specific details of a visa
information system.
— Harmonisation of instructions given to the authorities
responsible for checks and elaboration of a handbook for
border guards (practical instructions and legislation)
In this context the Commission will undertake the following
— Strengthening cooperation between services responsible for
the management of external borders including joint
operations and common operative centres — Study on specific technical and financial details of a
visa information system including quality assurance
and risks analysis
— Activities addressed to the competent civil servants and
judges (e.g. staff exchange, visits, conferences, etc)
According to points 36 to 38 of the action plan on illegal
immigration, adopted by the Council on 28 February 2002,
— Pilot projects aiming at better management of land, sea and and the guidelines for the introduction of a common
air external borders system for an exchange of visa data, adopted by the
Council on 13 and 14 June 2002, the Commission has
launched a study on specific technical and financial
— Further development of the ILO (immigration liaison aspects of a visa information system (VIS). The work on
officers) network the study started in September 2002.
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It will be the aim of the study to provide a range of — Assistance to actions designed to implement the refugee
possible solutions, that could meet the objectives of VIS qualification Directive (including jurisprudence concerning
and to assess the impact of each solution/concept in the interpretation of the 1951 Refugee Convention and on
relation to these objectives with a translation into the granting, cessation or exclusion from subsidiary
necessary financial and human resources. The results of protection status)
the study can be expected for spring 2003.

— Improving the quality of first instance asylum decisions

After the final report of the study, it will be up to the (including gathering, sharing and disseminating of country
Council to decide, which solution should be further of origin information and using such information for the
developed. According to the conclusions of the Council, a assessment of the claim for asylum). It includes activities to
follow-up study on specific technical and financial details of enhance the knowledge on practices of the competent civil
the chosen solution to be launched by the Commission has servants and judges
to be foreseen as well as measures for quality assurance and
risks analysis. An indicative amount of EUR 450 000 has
been reserved for this follow-up study.
— Follow-up to the Commission working document on the
relationship between safeguarding internal security and
complying with international protection obligations and
— Study on the integration and use of biometric instruments (e.g. identification of individuals covered by
identifiers, methods and procedures in relation to the exclusions clauses who do not deserve international
visas and identity documents protection, procedural requirements needed if a person
applies again for asylum after closure of the penal
proceedings). Activities to enhance the knowledge on
practices and Community legislation of the competent
In order to improve identification of persons and protection civil servants and judges
of visas and other official documents for border crossing
against counterfeiting and falsification, the Commission has
to consider at regular intervals, in line with technological
developments, what changes should be made to the security — Human resource strategies and psychological counselling of
features built into these documents, especially incor- staff and caseworkers dealing with applications for asylum,
poration and use of new biometric features. in particular their exposure to stress and trauma. Activities
to enhance the knowledge on best practices to deal with
stress and trauma
For this purpose, a study has to be foreseen to be launched
by the Commission, which should provide feasible solutions
linked to existing or future technologies focused on the — Follow-up to the studies on ‘processing abroad of asylum
abovementioned visas and identity documents. An applications’ and ‘the single asylum procedure’ with a view
indicative amount of EUR 200 000 has been reserved for to the second phase of the harmonisation process. For
this study. example, promoting cooperation between Member States
with respect to processing abroad (e.g. by staff exchanges,
visits, working conferences, etc). Activities to enhance the
knowledge on national legislation and on practices of the
competent civil servants and judges concerning a single
Activities in the area of asylum covering temporary protection,
reception conditions for asylum applicants, determination of
the Member State responsible for examining an asylum
application, qualification for refugee and/or subsidiary IMMIGRATION
protection status and asylum procedures
Activities covering the admission and conditions of residence
of third-country nationals, including the recruitment of labour
migrants, monitoring of migration flows and actions to combat
illegal migration and the return of illegal residents
Specific objectives and priorities

— Management of cases of mass influx of displaced persons

Specific objectives and priorities

— Running of accommodation centres, organisation of material — implementation of relevant European legislative instruments
reception conditions and reception granted to persons with adopted recently:
special needs

(a) Council Directive 2001/40/EC on the mutual recog-

— Assistance to actions designed to implement the Dublin II nition of decisions on expulsions of third-country
Regulation nationals;
C 111/6 EN Official Journal of the European Union 9.5.2003

(b) Council Directive 2001/51/EC supplementing the An indicative distribution of the earmarked budget according to
provisions of Article 26 of the Convention the areas of the programme and to the promoter of the actions is
implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June as follows:
1985 concerning carriers liability,
Areas Amount

Actions proposed by the Member States in the 3 000 000

— Monitoring of the application of the Council Regulation area of external borders in response to the
extending the provisions of Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 annual call for proposals
to nationals of third countries who are not already covered
by these provisions solely on the ground of their Actions proposed by the Member States in the 3 550 000
nationality (1) other areas of the programme in response to
the call for proposals

Commission actions (see point 2(III)) 650 000

— Implementation of the action programme on illegal immi-
Specific (urgent) actions (see point 2(II)) 800 000
gration adopted by the Council on 28 February 2002

Total 8 000 000

— Implementation of the Return action programme adopted

by the Council on 28 and 29 November 2002, in
particular, measures aiming at the improvement of oper- Indicative timetable for the 2003 call for proposals:
ational cooperation between Member States and the devel-
opment of country specific return programmes
Publication of the call for proposals April 2003

Deadline for the reception of proposals June 2003

— Improving exchange of information on immigration policy
and migration flows in particular their interactions with Evaluation of proposals July 2003
other policy areas notably economic and social policy,
development and trade policy
List of beneficiaries September 2003

Signature of grant agreements October 2003

— Improving exchange of information and best practice
concerning the selection and recruitment of labour
migrants in the Member States

— Cooperation on the development, exchange and regular 5.1. Eligible applicants

updating of information concerning the conditions of
entry and residence of third-country nationals for the Proposals must be submitted by national agencies
purpose of work or study in the EU Member States, meaning the administrative and judicial authorities of
including practical information designed for third-country the Member States or other bodies delegated by those
nationals and made available to them both in the EU authorities to implement Community legislation founded
Member States and in countries of origin on Articles 62 and 63 of the Treaty and on Article 66 of
the Treaty in so far as it concerns cooperation between
national agencies in the areas covered by the said Articles
62 and 63.
— Activities addressed to the competent civil servants and
judges (e.g. staff exchange, visits, conferences, etc).
5.2. Eligible proposals

Proposals submitted by a national agency of one Member


The budget foreseen for the ARGO action programme for (a) involve:
2003 is EUR 8 million leaving technical and administrative
assistance support expenditure apart.
— at least two other Member States, or
(1) Regulation in process of adoption; applications for grants relating
to this priority will be considered only if the regulation is adopted
and only for activities undertaken after the regulation is formally — another Member State and a candidate country,
adopted and published in the Official Journal. where the aim is to prepare for its accession, or
9.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 111/7

— another Member State and a third country, where must apply in one of the 11 official EU languages.
this would be beneficial for the purpose of the When possible, English or French should be used.
action proposed;

The form must be completed in word-processing format;

(b) pursue one of the general objectives referred to in otherwise it will not be eligible.
Article 3 of the ARGO Decision;

You must return the ELECTRONIC VERSION of the

(c) implement one of the activities in the respective policy completed forms on diskette plus two print-outs of the
area referred to in Article 4, 5, 6 or 7 of the ARGO forms, the budget and the timetable, and one copy of
Decision and; each annex including the signed financial identification.
The annexes must be clearly numbered and presented in
the prescribed order. They must remain separate from the
(d) be in line at least with one of the specific objectives two copies of the form. The use of bound folders, ring
and thematic priorities established for each year (see binders, etc. is prohibited.
point 3).

6.2. Where and how to send the applications

5.3. Budgetary rules
Applications must be received in a sealed envelope by
A maximum of 60 % of expenditure directly chargeable to registered mail, by express messenger or by hand
the implementation of an action and incurred during the delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be
period laid down in the agreement can be co-financed. In given to the deliverer) to the address indicated below:
exceptional circumstances the level of co-financing could
be raised to a maximum of 80 %. As far as the sequence
of operations is concerned, it is important to note: Postal address

European Commission
— owing to the payment procedures applied by the DG Justice and Home Affairs
Commission, the pre-financing of actions will fall on Unit A2 — Immigration and Asylum
the applicants, Mr J-L. De Brouwer (LX-46, 6/54)
B-1049 Brussels.
— any action co-financed under the 2003 budget must
have started and progressed before the end of 2003, Address for hand delivery

European Commission
— actions have to be completed, at the latest, a year after DG Justice and Home Affairs
the decision to grant the subsidy. Any possible request Unit A2 — Immigration and Asylum
for extension must be submitted officially in writing. Attention: Mr J-L. De Brouwer
Rue du Luxembourg/Luxemburgstraat 46
B-1050 Brussels.
Applications, which do not comprise a detailed forward
budget, which makes it possible to appreciate the
adequacy of expenditure in relation to the different Applications sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by
contents of the action, will not be examined. A budget e-mail) or delivered at other addresses will be rejected.
form is accessible on the Internet (see below).

The envelope must bear the reference number of the

6. HOW TO SUBMIT APPLICATIONS IN THE FRAMEWORK OF notice of publication for the call for proposals, the full
THE ANNUAL CALL FOR PROPOSALS name of the applicant, the address of the organisation,
and the words ‘Not to be opened by the internal mail
6.1. Application form and supporting documents
Applications MUST be submitted with the application
form and budget form, which are available on the Applicants must verify that the application is complete.
Europa website:

6.3. Deadline
funding_argo_en.htm The deadline for receipt of applications is:

Applicants must carefully respect the application and — either by registered mail, posted not later than 27 June
budget format and follow the page order. Applicants 2003 (postmark),
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— either by delivery (in person or by an authorised (b) the European dimension of the proposed action and/or
representative or private courier service) not later scope for participation by the candidate countries;
than 27 June 2003 at 16:00 CET, in which case a
receipt must be obtained as proof of submission,
signed and dated by the official who took delivery. (c) compatibility with the work undertaken or planned within
the framework of the Community's political priorities in
the areas covered by Articles 62 and 63 of the Treaty;
Any application received after the deadline will be auto-
matically rejected.
(d) complementarity to other past, present or future adminis-
trative cooperation actions;
6.4. Further information
Questions may be sent by e-mail or by fax to the address (e) the ability of national agencies to implement the proposed
listed below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for action;

E-mail address: (f) the inherent quality of the proposed action in terms of its
conception, organisation, presentation and expected results;

Fax (32-2) 299 80 53

(g) amount of the support requested under the ARGO
programme and proportionality with the expected results;
Regarding the outcome of the call for proposals, no
further information will be given to applicants until the
selection committee has reached a final and formal (h) impact of the expected results on the general objectives set
decision. out in Article 3 and on the activities in the respective
policy area set out in Article 4, 5, 6 or 7 of the ARGO
The vade-mecum on grant management is available at: Decision. Proposals will be ranked on the basis of points. The maximum

funding_intro_en.htm allocation of points for each of the abovementioned criteria is
described below.
All applicants are assumed to have taken note of the rules
in this vade-mecum.
Criterion Maximum number of points

6.5. Acknowledgement of receipt A 15

Following the opening of proposals, the European B 10

Commission will send an acknowledgement of receipt to
all applicants, indicating whether or not the application C 5
was received prior to the deadline and informing them of
the reference number of their application. D 10

E 10
F 30
Proposals meeting the eligibility requirements set out in point
4 will be evaluated and selected against the following criteria:
G 5

(a) conformity with the annual work programme, the general H 15

objectives set out in Article 3 and the activities in the
respective policy area set out in Article 4, 5, 6 or 7 of Total 100
the ARGO Decision;