Your application for the E+CBHE action under the E+ Call for proposals 2020 was recently selected. We are currently finalising the preparation of the Gran Agreement and once signed, we will be able to process the first instalment of funding.
As you might be aware, the current financial and political situation in Lebanon is affecting the operational and financial management of ongoing projects where Lebanese Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are involved.
In view of the signature of the Grant Agreement and in order to ensure a positive start of your project, we would like to share the following suggestions with regard to the management of your projects with Lebanese HEIs:
- All Lebanese beneficiaries’ institutions participating in a Erasmus+ CBHE project, whether as coordinators or partners, could open foreign accounts outside Lebanon (preferably in the EU) in order to facilitate all necessary transactions in the framework of the implementation of the CBHE project.
- Foreign bank accounts are to be opened in the name of the Lebanese beneficiary institutions involved in an Erasmus+ CBHE project. In case this is not possible, the beneficiary could use the bank account of a legally connected body, provided that they can demonstrate the legal and financial link between the two institutions and the capacity to operate (receiving and making money transfer as well as other transactions) on this bank account with no restrictions. Furthermore, Lebanese beneficiary institutions would have to ensure that the funding will only be accessible to them and is not going to be used for any other purpose than the implementation of the project.
- If this is not possible, the Lebanese beneficiaries could explore the possibility of giving a mandate to the beneficiary coordinator to open an account on their behalf in the EU;
- Further to point 1), 2) and 3) Lebanese coordinating institutions are supposed to submit to the EACEA a request to amend the previous bank account with the new one by using the specific Bank Identification Form (BIF).
- Under very limited circumstances and only in case that point 1), 2) and 3) are not possible, Coordinating institutions are allowed to reimburse staff costs by using individual bank accounts of the universities’ staff involved in the CBHE project.
N.B.: This practice is only allowed provided that the Lebanese beneficiary institution will substantiate and endorse the workload, the tasks carried out and the amounts to be paid to their staffs’ personal bank accounts. The Lebanese beneficiary institution has to authorize the coordinating institution to make the transfer to its staff personal bank accounts. Therefore, the institutional declaration signed by the legal representative of the Lebanese beneficiary institution concerned is a requirement. This declaration should confirm that the Lebanese beneficiary institution and its staff members (working on the CBHE project) comply with the national fiscal obligations related to the income perceived from the CBHE project. Attached to this email you can find an example of the basic principles that should appear in the institutional declaration. These principles should be maintained. However, beneficiaries are expected to adapt this example in respect of their institutional and national requirements.
- Coordinating institutions are encouraged to centralise the payments related to travel cost, costs of stay and equipment. In exceptional cases and provided that this is established in the Partnership Agreement, travel costs and costs of stay could be paid directly to the bank account of the persons concerned. The institutional declaration mentioned in point 5) applies in this case too.
- The purchase of equipment on the local Lebanese market has become challenging due to the inflating prices applied in order to overcome cash shortage. In line with the EU policy of supporting Lebanese local economies and whenever possible, beneficiaries’ institutions should continue to purchase equipment on the Lebanese local market. However, in case this will not be possible, equipment can be purchased oversea and shipped to Lebanon.
We invite you to inform us in writing and on time about the mitigating actions that are going to be implemented in accordance with the above suggestions. In addition, we invite you to amend the Project Partnership Agreement in the light of new methodology that will be applied as suggested above.
We would like to remind the partnership that the Grant Agreement signed with the Agency is a multi-beneficiaries agreement. This implies that the project coordinator and all project partners are equally legally responsible towards the Agency. Therefore, in case of ineligibility of costs or in case that penalties are applied to your project in line with the Grant Agreement’s provisions, the Agency will reserve the right to recover the expenditures concerned.
All the remaining principles of sound financial management as reported in the Grant Agreement signed with the EACEA will continue to apply.
Beneficiaries are invited to consult with the National Erasmus + Office (NEO) in Lebanon (email@example.com) or the EACEA (only coordinators) for further clarification if needed.