This Practical Guide explains the contracting procedures applying to all EU external aid contracts financed from the EU general budget (the Budget) and the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The financing of external action contracts is governed by the applicable EU and EDF Financial Regulations and by the relevant basic acts, for example, the programme regulation, such as the DCI, ENPI, IPA, or EIDHR for actions financed from the Budget1, and the Cotonou Agreement for actions financed from the EDF.
As from the adoption of the revision of Annex IV to the Cotonou Agreement in 2008, procurement contracts and grants financed under 10th EDF are awarded and implemented in accordance with EU rules and (except in cases provided for in those rules) in accordance with the procedures and standard documents laid down and published by the Commission for the implementation of cooperation operations with third countries, in force at the time of the launch of the procedure in question.
The eligibility rules applicable to the EDF have also been aligned as much as possible with those of the EU budget and are applicable since the entry into force of the amended Cotonou Agreement in November 2010.
For contracts financed under the 9th EDF, please refer to the 2007 version of this Practical Guide, except where the relevant Financing Agreements have been amended to apply the revised version of Annex IV of the Cotonou Agreement (December 2008).
This Guide provides users with the comprehensive information necessary to undertake procurement or grant procedures from the very first steps to the award, signature and implementation of contracts. The annexes cover both the award phase and the execution of contracts. The Guide outlines the contracting procedures to be used in centralised management (centralised and indirect centralised2) and decentralised management with ex-ante approval or with ex-post controls by the European Commission.
Although the procurement and grant award procedures applicable to the Budget and to the 10th EDF are quite similar, some differences are featured in this Guide. Chapter 7 lists the relevant legal texts and Chapter 8 lists the annexes to the Guide. Annex A1 includes a glossary of the terms used in the Guide.
Direct labour operations are programmes executed by public or public-private agencies or services of the beneficiary country, where that country's administration possesses qualified managers. They use a programme estimate: a document laying down the human and material resources required, the budget and the detailed technical and administrative implementing arrangements for execution of a project over a specified period by direct labour and possibly also by means of public procurement and the award of specific grants. Specific procedures for direct labour contracts and programme estimates are set out in a separate guide (Practical guide to procedures for programme estimates - project approach) although most of the procurement procedures described in this Practical Guide also apply.
What does the Practical Guide not cover?
It does not apply to contracts for which the European Commission acts as Contracting Authority on its own account, in the Commission's sole interest or shared interest with the beneficiary countries. These come under Title V, Chapters 1 and 2, of the Financial Regulation, and European Commission staff must use in-house public procurement procedures and models (the Vade-mecum on Public Procurement) to deal with them. However, in case of service contracts in Commission´s sole interest or shared interest with beneficiary countries, and irrespective of the procedure used, the authorising officer may decide to use the DEVCO standard service contract which be more suitable for actions located outside of the EU
This Guide does not apply to humanitarian aid operations or emergency operations carried out by ECHO.
Nor does it apply to Contracting Authorities such as beneficiary countries, international organisations and national bodies which the European Commission has authorised to use their own procurement/grant award procedures, or procurement/grant award procedures agreed among donors according to the relevant regulation, nor to grant beneficiaries which must follow the procurement provision of Annex IV of the standard grant contract.
Twinning is a dedicated institution building tool providing expertise from Member States administrations to the public institutions of candidate, pre-candidate and Neighbourhood countries. Twinning is made of grant contracts signed with Member States public institutions. Twinning operations obey specific rules that are described in the "Common Twinning Manual"3.