Starting date of eligibility
The first date of eligibility for expenses incurred by projects is the day the Monitoring Committee approved the project.
Co-funding All project partners located in an EU Member State must provide 40% co-financing from their own resources. Project partners located in Norway must co-fund 50% of their activities.
If an organisation wishes to provide co-financing for another organisation, the first organisation needs to transfer cash funds to the second organisation. Such transfers must be clearly identifiable in the accounts of both the donor and the recipient.
Staff costs is the largest cost category among Interreg North Sea projects, both in terms of budgets and reported expenditures.
Project partners can apply one of the following options when planning for staff costs for individual members of staff:
Full-time employed by the project.
Part-time employed by the project with a fixed percentage.
Staff paid by the hour (when the hourly rate is specified in the employment contract e.g. Students, youth workers, etc.).
Detailed interpretations for project partners located in Flanders (Belgium) can be found in fact sheet 2a.
Self-employed project partrners It is a clear aim of the Interreg North Sea Programme to involve SMEs in the development and delivery of our projects, however they may find it challenging to calculate the real cost for their involvement. This is especially the case for companies owned and managed by a single person.
The standards for calculating the staff costs for self-employed project partners are a national responsibility. For this reason, we encourage self-employed project partners to contact the relevant national authorities to clarify how they should operate in the context of the Interreg North Sea Programme.
For some project partners, one possibility is also to apply the standardised hourly rate defined and outlined in Fact Sheet 2.
Office and administration costs are covered by a flat rate linked to direct staff costs.
This flat rate is automatically applied in the online monitoring system. No documentation is required, however it covers an exhaustive list of cost items which cannot otherwise be claimed to the programme.
For a detailed explanation of cost items covered by the flat rate, please consult Fact Sheet 3.
Cost incurred by project staff while traveling on duty is considered eligible for the cost category "travel and accommodation".
Travel costs for external experts, service providers, guest speakers, etc. cannot be reported on this cost category.
You will find eligible cost categories for travel and accommodation plus further details in Fact Sheet 4.
Carbon footprint offset
If travel expenditures include compensation for CO2 emissions, this may be considered eligible, although this is not mentioned in the programme fact sheet.
The European Commission has confirmed that CO2 compensation is an eligible expenditure and can be reported on the budget line for travel and accommodation. Detailed guidance can be found here.
External expertise and services cover all services which cannot be delivered by the project partner organisation itself. The type of costs under this cost category may concern, for example, external project management, control costs, hosting of conferences, and travel expenditure for external parties, etc.
Please keep in mind that all external expertise and services with a contractual value of more than €10,000 (excluding VAT) are subject to procurement rules.
For further information on how, when and which procurement rules apply, please see the section on tendering procedures below.
For a detailed explanation of cost items covered by the cost category external expertise and services", please consult Fact Sheet 5.
Costs of equipment, crucial for the delivery of a project, are eligible providing the cost items are part of an approved application.
Please make sure to distinguish between regular equipment covered by the flat rate for office and administration and specialised equipment covered on a real cost basis.
For a detailed explanation of cost items covered by the cost category 'equipment'", please consult Fact Sheet 6.
Cost of infrastructure and works, needed for successful project delivery, can be covered under the cost category 'Infrastructure and works" as long as it is part of an approved application.
For a detailed explanation of cost items covered by the cost category 'Infrastructure and works', please consult Fact Sheet 7.
The Interreg North Sea Programme may reimburse the costs of project preparation as a lump sum. The cost is eligible providing preparation costs are included in the approved application.
If project partners generate revenue from their project activities during project implementation, they must deduct these revenues from the related expenditure before reporting the expenditure to the programme.
For example, if a project partner is paying and hosting a conference and the participants are asked to pay a participant fee, the income of this fee must be deducted from the paid expenditure for hosting the conference. The derived amount from this exercise should be reported on the relevant cost category (in this case external expertise and services), if the cost exceeds the revenue.
For details on how and when to report revenue, please consult Fact Sheet 10.
The Interreg North Sea Programme has clear rules on how costs incurred in other currencies than euros should be converted. The general practice for conversion of expenditure can be found in Fact Sheet 11.
A rule of thumb:
If a project partner located in the eurozone incurs expenditure in another currency, but the amount is defrayed from their bank account in euro: No conversion is necessary, the amount on the bank statement is to be declared.
However, if a project partner located outside of the eurozone incurs expenditure in euro, but the amount is defrayed from their bank account in the local currency: The amount on the bank statement in the local currency needs to be converted.
For further details on how and when to convert expenditures into euros, please see Fact Sheet 11.
Procurement of services applies in general to all cost categories for which you have documented expenditure, with the exemption of the cost category for staff costs and office and administration. This implies that procurement is not restricted to external expertise and services, but also applies to equipment and infrastructure in line with Fact Sheet 12.
The minimum financial threshold above which expertise and/or services are subject to tendering is €10,000 (excluding VAT). The simplest tendering procedure is the associated three-offer rule.
The Interreg North Sea Programme applies a strong hierarchy when different procurement rules apply. This hierarchy is depicted in Fact Sheet 12 to help project partners and controllers navigate between the rules.
Please note that the strictest rule always applies; for example, if the organisational rules on tendering are stricter than the €10,000 programme threshold for procurement, then the organisational rules must be applied.
The programme rules on procurement and tendering procedures can be found in Fact Sheet 12.
Documentation of activities and expenditure is crucial for incurred expenditure to be eligible for reimbursement. A complete audit trail covering both activities and expenditures is required. You must store the evidence for as long as the programme rules or national rules require you to do so.
For further information on the complete audit trail, please see Fact Sheet 13.
Every project partner participating or applying for funding in the Interreg North Sea Programme must sign and submit a letter of intent. The letter is generated in the online monitoring system and reflects that the given organisation will ensure and make available their match-funding.
For further guidance on the letter of intent, please consult Fact Sheet 19.