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6.4.2. Grants awarded without calls for proposals ('Direct award')


The prior approval of the relevant services of the European Commission must be sought for use of the direct award procedure.

The negotiation report (Annex A10a) must be submitted for approval to the relevant services of the European Commission, which must decide whether or not to accept the negotiation result.


No prior approval by the European Commission is required for the use of the direct award procedure or for the results of negotiation contained in the negotiation report (Annex A10a).

In the following circumstances it is not necessary to organise a call for proposals before awarding grants:

- for the purposes of humanitarian aid and civil protection operations or for crisis management aid. Actions carried out in crisis situations must follow the procedures and definition provided for in Annex A11a. This provision is mutatis mutandis applicable to programmes funded by the EDF.

- under emergency assistance provided for in Articles 72 and/or 73 of the Cotonou Agreement (see Annex A11a);

- where the grant is awarded to a body with a de jure or de facto monopoly, duly substantiated in the award decision. 'De facto' or 'de jure monopoly means that one of the grant beneficiaries, (or it may also be a consortium):

  • has exclusive competence in the field of activity and/or geographical area to which the grant relates pursuant to any applicable law; or

  • is the only organisation (i) operating or (ii) capable of operating in the field of activity and/or geographical area to which the grant relates by virtue of all considerations of fact and law.

- for actions with specific characteristics that require a particular type of body on account of its technical competence, its high degree of specialisation or its administrative power, on condition that the actions concerned do not fall within the scope of a call for proposals. These cases shall be duly substantiated in the award decision.

- where the grant is to be awarded to a body identified by the relevant basic act49, as beneficiary of a grant or to bodies designated by the Member States, under their responsibility, where those Member States are identified by a basic act as beneficiaries of a grant. Note that 'basic act' refers to the Regulation governing the programme. It is not sufficient to identify a body for a direct award in financing decisions/Annual Action Programmes, as these do not constitute basic acts.

- in case of research and technological development, to bodies identified in the work programme, where the basic act expressly provides for that possibility, and on condition that the action does not fall under the scope of a call for proposals.

In all cases, the contracting authority must prepare a report explaining the manner in which the grant beneficiary was identified and the grant amounts established, and the grounds for the award decision (see template negotiation report). The contracting authority must follow the steps shown in the negotiation report template and ensure that all the basic principles for grants are respected (including eligibility, capacity and exclusion).

In the case of grants awarded without call for proposals, even though an evaluation committee may be useful, it is not compulsory.

The procedures described in sections 6.5.10. must be followed by analogy, with the report referred to in the previous paragraph being included in the contract dossier.

For EIDHR (MFF 2014-2020), Article 6(1) (c) CIR also allows for direct awards in the case of (i) low-value grants to human rights defenders to finance urgent protection actions and (ii) subject to certain limitations, grants to finance actions in the most difficult conditions or situations referred to in Art. 2(4) of the CIR where the publication of a call for proposals would be inappropriate.

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