COVID-19 implications for the NWE Programme

"All involved in the NWE programme are doing their utmost to continue with  transnational cooperation under current circunstances. We switched to online and even managed to have a serious debate with 50 participants from all over our area on 18 project proposals. NWE also decided to start a small working group, to see which of the flexibility measures the EU Commission announced, can apply to our Structural funds Programme.

Fortunately, no severe cases among  partners came to our ears! Let’s hope for the best and remain careful about others and ourselves!"

Ruut Louwers, NWE Programme Director

 

Implications for physical contact

The Interreg North-West Europe Joint Secretariat is strictly applying the recent rules established by the French authorities on the COVID-19 outbreak. We are convinced these measures ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff the best way possible.

Until further notice, the JS team is teleworking and any physical meetings with external parties are forbidden.

In practice, although the staff will still be available by email and phone for any queries, unfortunately the level of service is likely to be affected.

The JS apologises for this inconvenience and emphasises that the team will make all the possible efforts to minimise the impact of the current measures on the programme implementation.

 

Implications for the eligibility of costs for NWE projects

The current COVID-19 epidemic is having increasing implications for people throughout Europe, including organisations and professionals involved in EU programmes. Cancellations of travels, events and conferences in particular are numerous and have raised many questions from our projects, especially concerning the eligibility of costs.

Although the situation is still in development, at this stage and until further notice, we can inform our projects that :

 Costs of cancelled travel remain eligible if :

  • The national level or the partner institution ban any travel activities,
  • A person has a health issue making travelling too risky,
  • A conference was cancelled by the organizer (taking into consideration that the costs are borne by the institution and will not be reimbursed otherwise).

Personal preference not to travel, if not backed by a recommendation either from your organisation, or any other official level (local, regional or national)  is not considered a reason for eligibility from the Interreg North-West Europe Programme side.

Meeting costs (room, catering etc) remain eligible. We leave it up to the organizer to either go ahead with a reduced amount of participants or to cancel the meeting due to force majeure.

Finally, we remind you to always have a clear audit trail for those expenditures (with official announcements, cancellation notes, internal notes etc). It is also important to check with your FLCs as there may be national rules that apply as well.

If you are experiencing any specific problems with the implementation of your projects, please get in contact with your Project Officer.

We will keep projects partners informed of any further change on this topic or any other information on how the consequences of the COVID-19 can be taken into account by our Programme.

 

Project delays linked to COVID-19 situation

NWE projects see different impacts on the implementation of their workplan due to difficulties caused by the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Time extensions requested less than six months before the closure date of the project can exceptionally be granted by the JS, when the project justifies that the unforeseen delay is related to COVID-19 measures taken on national, regional, local or organisational level.

In case of delays due to COVID-19, please get in touch with your Project Officer to discuss a possible flexible arrangement for your case.

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