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Sectors: Economy - Finances, Services, Trade

Beneficiaries: Administrations States, Local and Regional authorities

Regions: European Union

Category: Call for proposals

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WE funding – HERCULE III – Provide…
Funding for: Providing technical and operational support to fight against fraud and other illegal activities
Main beneficiaries: National or regional administration

Responsible: European Commission

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Funding for: Providing technical and operational support to fight against fraud and other illegal activities
Main beneficiaries: National or regional administration

Priorities and funded actions:

Objectives
* To strengthen the fight against fraud and other illegal activities providing technical and operational support to national investigation and in particular, customs and law enforcement, authorities;
* To limit the currently known exposure of the financial interests of the Union to fraud, corruption and other illegal activities with a view to reducing the development of an illegal economy in key risk areas such as organised fraud, including cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting

Priorities
* Topic 1: Investigation tools and methods:
– To enhance the operational capacity of anti-fraud actors

* Topic 2: Detection and Identification tools:
– To contribute to the strengthening of beneficiaries’ operational and technical capacity to detect smuggled and counterfeited goods, in particular cigarettes or tobacco, imported into the Union with the intention of evading VAT, customs duties and/or excise taxes

* Topic 3: Automated Number-Plate Recognition System (ANPRS):
– To enhance investigative capacities to identify trucks and vehicles suspected of involvement in activities detrimental to the Union’s financial interests

* Topic 4: Analysis and destruction of seizures:
– To analyze the number and value of seizures, and estimates of the losses to national and Union budgets prevented as a result of the use of the equipment purchased or made available 

Among financed actions
* Topic 1:
– The purchase and maintenance of investigation tools and methods used in the fight against (fraudulent) irregularities, fraud and corruption detrimental to the Union’s financial interests;
– The purchase of adapted transport equipment;
– The purchase of equipment for updating existing tools with the latest telecommunication protocols;
– Specialised training to enable staff to operate these tools;
– Cross-border cooperation enabling the exchange of information and best practices

* Topic 2: 
– The purchase and maintenance of devices for inspecting containers, trucks, railway carriages and vehicles (“detection tools”) at the Union’s external borders and within the Union;
– The purchase, transport, training, lodging and feeding of animals that are used to detect smuggled and illicit goods on the basis of their scent characteristics;
– Cross-border cooperation enabling the exchange of information and best practices;
– The purchase and maintenance of technical equipment for the identification of beneficiaries of cash assistance programmes, including by biometric means, in order to prevent fraud and (fraudulent) irregularities related to the use of the Union’s funds in the migration and refugees management field

* Topic 3:
– The purchase, maintenance and (cross-border) interconnection of automated systems for the recognition of number-plates (ANPRSs) or container codes for purposes relating to the protection of the Union’s financial interests;
– Specialised training in the operation of these later systems;
– Cross-border cooperation enabling the exchange of information to strengthen the fight against irregularities and suspected fraud

* Topic 4:
– The purchase of services for the analysis, storage and destruction of seized genuine or counterfeited cigarettes and other counterfeited goods detrimental to the Union’s financial interests

Additional information
* This call for proposals is an open call for proposals

* Initial duration of the project: up to 18 months

* Eligibility
– Be national or regional administration;
– Be established in a European Union Member State;

– Each project proposals will have to satisfy at least two of the following criteria:
> Take place at an external EU border, especially the EU’s eastern border;
> Take place at the most vulnerable locations (as regards seizures of cigarettes and tobacco reported by the Member States to the Commission);
> Reflect the results of the Eurobarometer survey of citizens’ attitudes to counterfeited, smuggled cigarettes and ‘cheap whites’;
> Reflect the findings of the annual reports on implementation of Article 325 TFEU on combating fraud (e.g. as regards the number of cases of smuggled cigarettes reported and the estimated traditional own resources involved), in particular the identification of the Member States that are vulnerable and most exposed to threats in relation to the Union’s financial interests

– Projects may NOT make a profit