Grants are awarded as donations to third parties that are engaged in external aid activities. Procurement procedures are launched when the Contracting Authority wants to purchase a service, goods or work in exchange for remuneration. Procedures for grants and contracts under the relevant EU external aid programmes are consolidated in the Practical Guide.
Grants are direct financial contributions from the EU budget or from the European Development Fund. They are awarded as donations to third parties that are engaged in external aid activities. The Contracting Authority awards grants that are used to implement projects or activities that relate to the EU’s external aid programmes.
Grants fall into two categories:
- Grants for actions: aim to achieve an objective that forms part of an external aid programme.
- Operating grants: finance the operating expenditure of an EU body that is pursuing an aim of general European interest or an objective that forms part of an EU policy.
Grants are based on the reimbursement of the eligible costs, in other words, costs effectively incurred by the beneficiaries that are deemed necessary for carrying out the activities in question. The results of the action remain the property of the beneficiaries.
Grants are subject to a written agreement signed by the two parties and, as a general rule, require co-financing by the grant beneficiary. Since grants cover a very diverse range of fields, the specific conditions that need to be fulfilled may vary from one area of activity to another.
Those intending to apply for a grant should consult the calls for proposals.
Procurement procedures are launched when the Contracting Authority wants to purchase a service, goods or work in exchange for remuneration. A procurement procedure leads to the conclusion of a public contract.
The difference between a public contract and a grant is clear:
- in the case of a contract, the Contracting Authority receives the product or service it needs in return for payment.
- in the case of a grant, it makes a contribution either to a project carried out by an external organisation or directly to that organisation because its activities contribute to EU policy aims.
Procurement procedures are governed by specific rules which vary depending on the nature of the contract (service, supplies, work) and the threshold.
Those intending to apply for a contract should consult the procurement notices.