6.3.8. Non-retroactivity

Non-retroactivity#Crisis situation - grants;Non-retroactivity

Grants may, as a rule, only cover costs incurred after the date on which the grant contract is signed.

Exceptionally, a grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun only where the applicants can demonstrate and justify the need to start the action before the contract is signed. In this case, expenditure incurred before the submission of grant applications is, as a general rule, not eligible for financing. Prior approval by the European Commission must be sought before any decision is made.

The acceptance of costs from an earlier date10 (before submission of grant applications) is possible only in duly substantiated exceptional cases:

  • a -  as specifically provided for in the basic act concerned; and/or

  • b -  in case of extreme urgency for crisis management aid, civil protection operations and for humanitarian aid operations; and/or

  • c -  in situations of imminent or immediate danger threatening to escalate into armed conflict or destabilise a country, whereby an early engagement by the European Union would be of major importance in promoting conflict prevention .

In cases b) and c), the reasons for such derogation have to be properly substantiated in the financing decision. And both the financing decision and the grant contract must explicitly provide for this by setting an eligibility date earlier than the date for submission of applications.

The contract for an operating grant must be awarded within 6 months from the start of the beneficiary's financial year. Costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred before the grant application was lodged nor before the start of the beneficiary's financial year.

No grant may be awarded retroactively for actions already completed.


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10Which could be an even earlier date than that of the financing decision.