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Commission Implementing Decision of 14.12.2021 on the financing of humanitarian aid actions from the 2022 general budget of the European Union

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THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012, and in particular Article 110 thereof,

Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid, and in particular Article 15(2) and (3) thereof,

Whereas:

(1) In order to ensure the implementation of the humanitarian aid actions of the Union for 2022, it is necessary to adopt an annual financing decision for 2022. Article 110 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 (‘the Financial Regulation’) establishes detailed rules on financing decisions.

(2) Union humanitarian aid is to provide assistance, relief and protection on a nondiscriminatory basis to help people in third countries, particularly the most vulnerable among them, victims of natural disasters, man-made crises, such as wars and outbreaks of fighting, or exceptional situations or circumstances comparable to natural or man-made disasters. It should do so for the time needed to meet the humanitarian requirements resulting from these different situations. Such aid should also comprise operations to prepare for risks or prevent disasters or comparable exceptional circumstances.

(3) The principal objectives of Union humanitarian aid operations are outlined in Article 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 while other eligible activities are specified in Articles 3 and 4 of the Regulation.

(4) In March 2021, the Commission adopted a communication on the Union’s humanitarian action. This document outlines the challenges and key actions for 2022 and beyond.

(5) The Union has been a member of the Food Assistance Convention since 2012. In accordance with Article 5 of the Food Assistance Convention, the Union is to specify a minimum annual commitment. An amount of EUR 350 000 000, to be spent as food and nutrition assistance funded under this Decision, is to be counted towards the Union’s minimum annual commitment for 2022 under Article 5 of the Food Assistance Convention.

(6) As a general rule, grants funded under this Decision should be co-financed. However, by way of derogation, pursuant to Article 190(3) of the Financial Regulation, the Authorising Officer responsible may authorise financing the grant in full, provided appropriate justification is given in the award decision.

(7) The envisaged assistance is to comply with the conditions and procedures set out by the restrictive measures adopted pursuant to Article 215 TFEU, account being taken of the relevant principles of international humanitarian law.

(8) The Commission should acknowledge and accept contributions from other donors made in accordance with Article 21(2), point (a)(ii) of the Financial Regulation, subject to the conclusion of the relevant agreement. Where such contributions are not denominated in euro, a reasonable estimate of conversion should be made.

(9) Part of the Union budget for humanitarian aid should remain unallocated, as part of an operational reserve, in order to cover unforeseen operations.

(10) In cases where Union funding is granted to non-governmental organisations in accordance with Article 7 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96, the Authorising Officer responsible should verify if the non-governmental organisations concerned satisfy the requisite eligibility and selection criteria, notably as regards their legal, operational and financial capacity. That is in order to guarantee that the beneficiaries of that funding are able to meet their commitments in the long term. The verification to be made should also seek to confirm whether the non-governmental organisations concerned are able to provide humanitarian aid in accordance with the humanitarian principles set out in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid.

(11) In cases where the Union finances humanitarian aid operations of Member States' specialised agencies in accordance with Article 9 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96, the Authorising Officer responsible should verify the legal, operational capacity of the entities applying for financial support under this Decision. Where the entities or bodies concerned are governed by private law, the Authorising Officer responsible should also verify the financial capacity of any Member States' specialised agencies applying for financial support under this Decision. The verifications should be made in order to guarantee that the beneficiaries of that funding are able to meet their commitments in the long term. In particular, it should be verified whether the Member States' specialised agencies concerned are able to provide humanitarian assistance or equivalent international relief outside the Union in accordance with the humanitarian principles set out in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid.

(12) Pursuant to the exception set out in Article 195, point (a) of the Financial Regulation, it is appropriate to authorise the award of grants without a call for proposals to the non-governmental organisations satisfying the eligibility and suitability criteria referred to in Article 7 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 for the purpose of humanitarian aid.

(13) Pursuant to the exception set out in Article 193(2), point (b) of the Financial Regulation, the Commission should authorise the eligibility of costs as of a date preceding that of the submission of a grant application, which is prior to the date of adoption of this Decision, for reasons of extreme urgency in crisis management aid or in other exceptional and duly substantiated emergencies, whereby an early engagement by the Union would be of major importance.

(14) In order to ensure an effective delivery of Union-funded humanitarian aid in all relevant crisis contexts while taking into account the specific mandates of international organisations, such as the United Nations, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, it is necessary to use indirect management for the implementation of Unionfunded humanitarian aid operations.

(15) The Commission is to ensure a level of protection of the financial interests of the Union with regards to entities and persons entrusted with the implementation of Union funds by indirect management as provided for in Article 154(3) of the Financial Regulation. To this end, such entities and persons are to be subject to an assessment of their systems and procedures in accordance with Article 154(4) of the Financial Regulation and, if necessary, to appropriate supervisory measures in accordance with Article 154(5) of the Financial Regulation before a contribution agreement can be signed.

(16) It is necessary to allow for the payment of interest due for late payment on the basis of Article 116(5) of the Financial Regulation.

(17) In order to allow for flexibility in the implementation of the work programme, it is appropriate to allow changes which should not be considered substantial for the purposes Article 110(5) of the Financial Regulation.

(18) The measures provided for in this Decision are in accordance with the opinion of the Humanitarian Aid Committee established by Article 17(1) of Council Regulation (EC)
No 1257/96,