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Please find below an overview of the most relevant questions asked by you and your partners, and the replies from me (representing the EC).
NB: the replies are only relevant for the project under these partnership actions under call 128287. They do not bind the European Commission for other initiatives.

According to Annex II, Art. 9.2. there exists a possibility to transfer %15 between items within the same main budget heading. What do you exactly understand under “main budget heading”? Does the term main budget heading refer to 1 Human Resources - 2 Travel - 3 Equipment etc.? Can we therefore, if necessary, transfer %15 between the different cost items within heading 1 etc.? Or do you understand 1.1./1.2./1.3. as main budget headings which means transfers can only be between 1.1. etc.?  
Yes indeed, a budget heading is:
1 Human Resources 
2 Travel ,etc.
You may freely increase/decrease a heading by 15% of the amount originally entered. Do note that the amount originally entered can only change following a formal addendum. So if you apply the 15% change and later on you need another change going beyond this 15% you would need an addendum.  
If a person is traveling from Serbia to Turkey in order to participate at a preparatory workshop: are the costs to the airport in Serbia to be considered part of the per diems or part of the international travel costs (2.1.)?

Per diem is to be paid per overnigth stay. Per diems cover accommodation, meals, local travel within the place of mission and sundry expenses. It thus also covers so called 'out of pocket' expenses (tea, coffee) and also travel to and from the airport if the travel it within the city limits. So if the person travels from Belgrade to the airport the taxi (or car park) costs are part of per diem. If the person travels from outside Belgrade to the airport such costs may be charged to international travel as being part of his/her journey to Turkey. Essential is that you choose the cheapest option. The applicable rates are in the Files section and can be obtained by clicking here
We organized a preparatory workshop in Turkey with the participation of the project partners. Instead of per diems payment, we paid the costs that occured for accomodation, meals etc. for the participants all together. Could you please approve this.I cannot approve costs (since this will need to be verified by others (your auditor in the first place) at a later stage). But I am happy to approve the approach. Instead of paying per diem it can be cheaper to pay the real costs. Per diem is in any case a maximum amount. Do note that some locations may be more expensive as opposed to others. Therefore, by covering the real costs you can use savings at one location to cover losses on another. However, if in your accounting you score the real costs per location only these real costs are eligible up to the maximum of the per diem (= total costs / persons who has overnight stays). Therefore, for accounting purposes it may be wiser to record the per diem (with signed receipts per person) only.
We have prepared a visibility plan. According to the Visibility Manual we should discuss it with the EC Communcation Office. Could you please give us the contact details? Or it is ok to discuss it with you?

You can discuss it with me (Henk Visser). Perhaps wise to submit a copy to your TACSO office (see www.tacso.org) since it may be good if we do a training session on 'information and communication'. Shall I upload it on this website?
We would like to register the domain www.beeams.eu. Should we register it as ADOC or as European Commission? The website will be in our national languages and the main pages will be in English: is that ok?Do register it on your own name. The EC is not managing this project, but simply providing a grant.
Feel free to put the main pages in English and the others in local languages. We welcome communication in the local languages.
To come to Brussels, one or more of BeEAMS representatives should probably fly not from their Countries (because of trainings, business trips..). Are these flight tickets eligible? For ex.: serbian project officer flying to Brussels from Istanbul: could this be a problem for the eligibility of his travel costs?

Yes, these flights are eligible as long as you can justify them while demonstrating that this was the most cost-effective way. I assume it is cheaper to fly directly for the training/business trip location to Brussels - instead of travelling first home and than to Brussels.

One Partner is asking me if their project officer can come with a person of their organisation who has not a staff contract under BeEAMS but will take part to BeEAMS
workshops and will be one of their reference persons about energy consumers' issues. Are his travel costs and per diem eligible according to Annex 2, Art 14?
If this project officer will be used in the project by this Partner  (which seems to be the case) and if his/her presence at the kick-off event is relevant, his/her costs are eligible. Perhaps wise to make this person (or his/her organisation) an associate?
 We have decided to follow your advice and not to pay per diems prior to event, but to use it to cover all costs (hotel, meals, transfer to and from airport) for the participants. As concerns exemption from VAT for these trips. Can we ask for the exemption for the expenses we will have in Brussels?
All costs incurred within the EU (thus also Brussels) are eligible with VAT included. So the VAT on these costs you cannot reclaim. In the end the VAT in the EU ends up with our EU Member States who provide us with the money for our IPA programme and thus the grants the EU has given to you.

As I understood from our previous telephone call, our Partners will prepare their internal staff contracts according to their national regulations (including tax rates and social security system) and in their languages, as we are doing for ADOC staff.
The contracts will be between each organisation and its own staff: am I right?
Our concerns are now about payments.With reference to the internal staff of our Partners, I suppose we could
not pay directly their staff because of different payment and social security systems, as well as tax rates.
Could you please suggest us how to proceed? Should each organisation pay directly its own staff, and then should we - as Beneficiary - reimburse the financial means for the salaries when receiving proof of their work/or payments?
I have a question about the lenght of the contracts.The lenght of our project is 18 months. Is it possible to prepare staff contracts for 11 months (up tp the end of the year), and then - in january 2011 - renew the contract up to the end of the project?

We do not have any rules on recruitment under grant projects you manage. This all depends very much of your choices, the national legislations, etc. Each partner would need to recruit the staff according to their national rules. If you and your partners believe it is more efficient, effective, etc. to conclude a contract with staff for 11 months renewing it after the 11th month, than that is entirely up to you. If they pay their staff you could reimburse them (but the EC has not specific rules on this - so what I suggest is merely what I would do if I were you). The idea behind a grant is that you implement your project and that the EC just co-finances the incurred costs.
For  translation and studies expenditures,  may we use debit notes or occasional services contracts (according to our national legislation and financial regulation) to pay for the services? Are these payments recognised by the EC as accountable expenses and eligible costs?

 You may use debit notes and occassional service contracts to pay for such services. Important is that you do not artificially slice up the services in order to stay below the threshold of 10,000 euro which would require you to run a small tendering procedure. Do note that it is sometimes cheaper to group certain tasks (translation) and to run a tender. Essential is that you handle the money wisely.
 As services contracts will be below 10.000 euro, we may place orders based on the basis of a single tender. Is there a special format the EC requires for this kind of tender? Shall it be in english or our national language is ok?Yes below 10,000 euro you may award a contract based on a single tender. Do make sure that the price is reasonable (good value for money), and this can be verified by asking more than one price quote. No, we do not have a special formats/templates for this. You may draft the tender/contract, etc. in your national language.
VAT: our Organisations, as most of our partners, have to pay VAT (and the other taxes) and - according to our national regulations - cannot reclaim them back: in these cases is VAT an eligible cost according to Annex 2, Art 14?

 VAT is not an eligible expense. Therefore, you need to reclaim these costs. Normally, this should not be a problem if you follow our procedures, but in case you can demonstrate that you could not recover the VAT, these costs will become eligible, provided that they were borne by you or your partners.
One more question about payments: the Partners are asking if they can pay their staff on local currencies.
In their job contracts the salary is written in euro.  
- Can the Partners pay their staff on local currency?
- When as Beneficiary we refund the costs through bank transfer, can we refund them in euro?
- Referring to accounting, do we have to provide some documents about the change between euro/local currency?

The partners may pay their staff in the local currency, and you may refund them in euro, using the rates stipulated in these job contracts. In such case I do not think that you need to report on the exchange rate.

As concerns currency exchange rates, etc. Please find below the information provided in annex to your contract concerning the interim and final financial reports:
Expenses: for each currency in which the budget has been implemented during the specific reporting period  (including the € where the exchange Fx rate into € will be = 1 ) the report will:    
- have a set of four columns (numbers of units, unit cost in FX, total cost in FX, total cost in €) so per each currency a set of four columns will be inserted           
- establish the exchange rates (local currency > €)  to be used by having, for the period, the simple arithmetical average of the InforEuro exchange rate (i.e. sum the exchange rates of the months of the reporting period and divide the sum by the number of months)           
To ease the preparation of the reports, indications are provided on the relevant columns, FX= foreign currency  InforEuro is freely available at: http://ec.europa.eu.int/comm/budget/inforeuro/index.cfm?language=en       
The sheet "sources of funding" should be included in all reports 
Figures have to be rounded to the nearest euro cent