From 22 - 23 February, the CONCORD working group on Funding for Development and Relief (FDR) met in Brussels for its first plenary meeting of 2012. This year the FDR meeting will take place three times because of the amount of issues to be followed and analysed.
On the first day, participants shared their national situations focused around issues related to funding. One of the clear conclusions from this session was the fact that the situation in EU 12 is very unstable. In some EU12 countries this year is even worse than previous years. Only in some countries have there been improvements but the situation is still far from stable in financial and structural terms. It is obvious that most of the countries have to work hard for recognition related to their international development work.
The FDR subgroup working on de-concentration has surveyed CONCORD members to analyse the experience organisations have with regards to working with EU delegations. Results will be disseminated soon.
The geographic and thematic instruments sub-group, which monitors EC programmes and instruments is looking for volunteers to become focal points and follow up with relevant DEVCO staff in order to set up longer term dialogue. The aim is to have a longer term view on what is going on in programming, including from 2014 onwards. Some members have already agreed to volunteer and the full list of the focal point people should be completed at the next FDR meeting.
The financial regulation sub-group informed the rest of the group about the eligibility of VAT under EC programmes. Generally VAT is an eligible cost, unless there is any other interstate regulation, which is rare. The sub-group is organising a workshop on financial and contractual management, which will be held in Brussels on the 14th June 2012. DEVCO representatives will present at the workshop.
Regarding the current MFF negotiations, the FDR group will ask for more clarity on thematic programmes and will analyse annexes and develop a position. There was a representative from the European Investment Bank (EIB) presenting EIB’s involvement in the development field and where they the place for NGOs within their financial frame.
The FDR has updated its terms of reference, which are available on the CONCORD extranet. An open call has also been launched for new steering group members and one co-chair. Elections will take place at the next FDR plenary meeting in Brussels on the 12th and the 13th of June 2012.
Information provided by Robert Križanič, Institute Povod,