POLAND-RUSSIA Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014–2020

 

Programme Bodies

In accordance with the legal basis of the Programme, the representatives of the participating countries decided to arrange the following joint and national institutional structure for the Programme implementation.

The management functions shall be performed by the following institutions:

  • Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC);
  • Managing Authority (MA), located in the Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Poland;
  • National Authority (NA) in Poland, located in the Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Poland;
  • National Authority (NA) in the Russian Federation, located in the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation;
  • Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS) appointed as Intermediate Body (IB) - located in Olsztyn, Poland within the structure of the Center of European Projects;
  • Branch Office – located in Kaliningrad (Russian Federation).

The control functions shall be performed at the following levels:

  • Independent auditors who will be selected by the project beneficiaries and who will be responsible for expenditure verification at the project level;
  • MA and JTS who will be assisted by the Control Contact Points (CCP) in each country:
    in Poland: the Centre of European Projects;
    in the Russian Federation: the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

The audit functions shall be performed by the following institutions:

  • Audit Authority (AA) – General Inspector of Treasury Control, the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Poland;
  • Group of Auditors (GoA) which shall be composed of the following members:
    The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Poland;
    The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

Joint Monitoring Committee

The JMC is the main decision-making body of the Programme. The JMC is responsible for the quality and efficiency of the implementation of the Programme.

Composition of the Joint Monitoring Committee

The JMC is composed of representatives of each eligible region, central authorities and representatives appointed by each participating country. Each country will have one vote irrespective of the number of members.

Responsibilities of the Joint Monitoring Committee

The JMC follows the Programme implementation and progress towards its priorities using the objectively verifiable indicators and related target values defined in the Programme. The JMC examines all issues affecting the Programme performance. The JMC issues recommendations to the MA regarding the Programme implementation and evaluation. It monitors actions undertaken as a result of its recommendations.

The JMC in particular:

  • approve the MA’s work programme and financial plan, including planned use of technical assistance;
  • monitor the implementation by the MA of the work programme and financial plan;
  • approve the criteria for selecting projects to be financed by the Programme;
  • be responsible for the evaluation and selection procedure applicable to projects to be financed by the Programme;
  • make the final decision on approval or rejection of the project applications and decide on the final sums granted to them;
  • take decisions concerning any proposal to amend the Programme;
  • examine all reports submitted by the MA and, if necessary, take appropriate measures;
  • examine any contentious cases brought to its attention by the MA;
  • examine and approve the Programme annual report;
  • examine and approve the Programme annual monitoring and evaluation plan;
  • examine and approve the Programme annual information and communication plans.

The Joint Monitoring Committee functioning

The JMC shall take decisions by consensus. Each country shall have one vote, regardless the number of the voting members within its delegation. Details on the functioning of the JMC were described in the Rules of Procedure (RoP) of the JMC which were unanimously approved during its first meeting.

The JMC shall be chaired on the annual rotation basis by the representatives of both countries participating in the Programme (NA). The representative of the JTS shall act as secretary of the JMC.

The JMC shall meet as often as necessary and at least once a year. It shall be convened by MA or following a duly justified request from one of its appointed members or from the EC. It may also take decisions through written procedure at the initiative of the MA or the country participating in the Programme. In case of disagreement any member may request that the decision will be discussed at a meeting.

The JTS is responsible for secretariat and organisation of the JMC meetings. After each meeting, the minutes shall be drawn and circulated to all members for approval. Final version of the minutes will be sent to each member and observer.

The MA and national bodies will support the members of the JMC in obtaining visas.

Managing Authority

The role of the MA is entrusted to the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland. The MA is particularly responsible for managing the Programme in accordance with the principle of sound financial management and for ensuring that decisions of the JMC comply with the regulations and provisions in force.

Organisation of the Managing Authority

The Minister of Economic Development of Poland performs duties of the Managing Authority. In accordance with separation of functions principle, functionally independent units shall function within the MA: operational unit, financial unit, control unit
and paying unit. Specific tasks of each unit may be delegated further but shall not overlap.

The Authorising Officer is the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland, or authorised director or deputy director of the Territorial Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland.

The MA is supported by the JTS in the implementation of its tasks.

Operational unit

The Programming Unit “East” of the Territorial Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland acts as the operational unit. Its responsibilities include:

  • supporting the work of the JMC;
  • providing the JMC with the information it requires to carry out its tasks, in particular data relating to the progress of the Programme in achieving its expected results and targets (with support of JTS);
  • drawing up and, after approval by the JMC, submitting operational annual/final reports to the European Commission and the Russian National Authority;
  • sharing information with the JTS, the AA, NAs and beneficiaries that is relevant to the execution of their tasks or project implementation;
  • establishing and maintaining a computerised system to record and store data on each project necessary for monitoring, evaluation, financial management, control and audit, including data on individual participants in projects, where applicable. The system shall provide all data required for drawing up payment requests and annual accounts, including records of amounts recoverable, amounts recovered and amounts reduced following cancellation of all or part of the contribution for a project or Programme (in cooperation with the financial and paying units, JTS, CCPs and AA);
  • carrying out where relevant environmental impact assessment studies at Programme level (with support of JTS);
  • implementing the information and communication plans (with support of the JTS and JTS BOs);
  • implementing the monitoring and evaluation plans (in cooperation with the financial and paying units);
  • drawing up and launching the calls for proposals (with support of the JTS);
  • managing the project selection procedures, providing the lead beneficiary with a document setting out the conditions for support for each project including the financing plan and execution deadline (with support of the JTS), as well as submitting recommendation regarding submitted applications to the JMC and for information to the EC (with support of the JTS);
  • signing grant and service contracts, and then, if necessary, signing addenda to concluded contracts (with support of the JTS);
  • managing the technical assistance budget.

Financial unit

The Financial Management Unit of the Territorial Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland acts as the financial unit. Its responsibilities include:

  • verifying that services, supplies or works have been performed, delivered and/or installed and whether expenditures declared by the beneficiaries have been paid by them and that this complies with applicable law, Programme rules and conditions for support of the projects (in cooperation with the JTS and CCPs);
  • ensuring that beneficiaries involved in project implementation maintain either a separate accounting system or a suitable accounting code for all transactions relating to a project;
  • drawing up the management declaration and annual summary;
  • drawing up and submitting payment requests to the EC;
  • drawing up the financial part of the annual/final financial reports;
  • keeping an account of amounts recoverable and of amounts reduced following cancellation of all or part of the grant;
  • carrying out financial corrections and follow-up of the recoveries.

Control Unit

The Management and Control Systems Unit  of the Territorial Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland acts as the control unit. Its responsibilities include:

  • putting in place effective and proportionate anti-fraud measures taking into account the risks identified;
  • setting up procedures to ensure that all documents regarding expenditure and audits required to ensure a suitable audit trail are held;
  • taking account of the results of all audits carried out by or under the responsibility of the AA when drawing up and submitting payment requests;
  • maintaining computerised accounting records for expenditure declared to the EC and for payments made to beneficiaries.

Paying unit

The Accounting Officer is the chief accountant of the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland.

The Funding of Territorial Cooperation Programs Unit of the Development Budget Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland acts as the paying unit. Its responsibilities include:

  • setting-up and managing the single bank account of the Programme;
  • establishing the accounts of the Programme (the accounting system is specific and separate and exclusively deals with operations related to the Programme, allowing for the analytical follow-up per TO, priority and project );
  • receiving payments from the EC;
  • executing payments to beneficiaries and contractors;
  • giving opinions and initialling of documents which are the basis for financial flows, i.e. contracts, annexes, decisions, calls for payment.

National Authorities

The NA of the Russian Federation and Poland cooperate with the MA during preparation and implementation period of the Programme, and are responsible for coordination of programming and implementation process on their territories in fields of Programme management, control, audit, irregularities and recoveries issues. The Russian NA is responsible for the correct implementation of the provisions of the financing agreement in the Russian Federation.

The following institutions play the role of the NAs:

  • In Poland: the Management and Control Systems Unit of the Territorial Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Economic Development,
  • In Russian Federation: Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Department for Regional and Cross-border Cooperation Development, Unit for Coordination and Legal Support of Regional and Cross-border Cooperation Development.

The NAs support the MA in the management of the Programme in accordance with the principle of sound financial management. They inter alia:

  • are responsible for the set up and effective functioning of management and control systems at national level;
  • ensure the overall coordination of the institutions involved at national level in the Programme implementation, including, inter alia, the institutions acting as Control Contact Points and as member of the Group of Auditors;
  • represent the country in the JMC.

The assistance of NAs in Programme management may include:

  • supporting the MA in providing specific national data related to Programme implementation;
  • supporting the MA in the organization of environmental impact assessment consultations on their territory (with the support of the relevant institutions) if relevant;
  • supporting the MA/JTS in carrying out the eligibility/administrative check (providing opinions in relation to e.g.: eligibility of the respective applicant/partner, compliance of the respective supporting document with the national legislation, etc.);
  • facilitating the setting up of branch office on their territory e.g. providing necessary information regarding: the institution that may host/ take up responsibilities of BO and other support, if needed and agreed;
  • supporting the MA/JTS in solving possible challenges and problems in projects implementation in respective countries, supporting the MA in prevention, detection and correction of irregularities, including fraud and the recovery of amounts unduly paid, together with any interest pursuant to the financing agreement in case of the Russian Federation and in case of the Republic of Poland in accordance with Art. 74 of the IR and the legislation of the parties. They shall notify these irregularities without delay to the MA and keep them informed of the progress of related administrative and legal proceedings. Responsibilities of participating countries for amounts unduly paid to a beneficiary are laid down in financing agreement in case
    of the Russian Federation and in case of the Republic of Poland in Art. 74 of the IR.

Support provided to the MA by the NAs in preventing, detecting and correcting irregularities as well as recoveries on their territory may include:

  • prevention: contribution to the elaboration of guidelines on the eligible expenditure for project beneficiaries, etc.;
  • detection: management verifications of its own and/or support to management verifications of MA/JTS, expenditure verification of its own or support to verifications of the MA (role of the Control Contact Point);
  • correction: support to the MA in implementing the corrections of the cases detected;
  • notifying irregularities to the MA without delays;
  • defining together with the MA effective and proportionate anti-fraud measures to be put in place on their territory;
  • supporting the MA in recovering the amounts from project beneficiaries (private and public entities) established on their territory and other support, if needed and agreed.

In case of Russian NA, the terms of liability for recovery of the amounts unduly paid to the beneficiaries operating in the Russian part of the Programme area, where these amounts cannot be recovered, as well as the mechanisms for such recovery, will be stipulated in the Financing Agreement to be concluded between the Russian Federation and the European Union.

Joint Technical Secretariat and Branch Office

The MA has set up the Joint Technical Secretariat appointed as Intermediate Body to carry out the practical implementation of the Programme. The JTS assist the MA, the JMC and where relevant also the AA in carrying out their respective functions. In particular, the JTS inform the potential beneficiaries in the Russian Federation and Poland about funding opportunities under the Programme and assist beneficiaries in the project implementation. The JTS functions within the state-owned body Centre of European Projects.

It is recommended that employees from the whole Programme area participate in the work of the JTS. The JTS and the Branch Office in cooperation work with the public and the stakeholders in Polish and Russian languages, in addition to the English language.

The costs of JTS functioning shall be covered from the Programme TA budget.

The JTS is responsible for performance of the following tasks:

  • supporting the organisation of calls for proposals;
  • supporting the work of Programme managing structures (JMC, NAs, CCPs, GoA etc.);
  • providing assistance to applicants and beneficiaries;
  • information and promotion of the Programme;
  • communication, information, assistance to the MA in project management and follow-up of the projects implementation including assisting beneficiaries on both countries;
  • keeping all documents related to the project and Programme implementation, in particular documents concerning expenditure and control required for ensuring adequate audit trail.

JTS Branch Office and its functions

Following a decision of the participating countries, a Branch Office in Kaliningrad (Russia) was set up. The Branch Office operates in cooperation and under the supervision of the JTS. By the recommendation of Russian national and regional authorities the hosting organisation for the Branch Office in Kaliningrad is Kaliningrad Regional Organisation “Transboundary Initiatives Support Center”. Its role includes among the others:

  • consult national and regional authorities on the programme related issues at their request;
  • implementation of the information and communication plan;
  • perform communication and information tasks in line with the Programme’s communication strategy and annual communication plans and requirements of the Russian legislation and EU Visibility Guidelines with the cooperation of the JTS;
  • support the MA in the development of various documents of the programme including guidelines of the calls for proposals and follow-up of the projects implementation;
  • take part in administrative checks and eligibility verifications of the applicants located in Russia;
  • organise Programme events on the Russian territory, funded with the technical assistance budget of the Programme, and finance the participation of the Russian authorities in those events;
  • monitor the projects activities implemented in the Russian territory;
  • participate in the evaluation of implemented projects;
  • consult potential participants of the programme on legal conditions of participation in the programme, project management etc., assist them in finding partners and preparing project proposals;
  • providing information for the MA, JTS and project partners from Poland on Russian legislation;
  • monitor the implementation of the Programme visibility rules by project partners in the Russian territory;
  • support in the organisation of the meetings of the JMC and other important Programme events;
  • collection of data to improve the monitoring of projects;
  • other tasks supporting MA and JTS in their day-to-day implementation of the Programme;
  • providing the support to the National Authority and Control Contact Point in Russian Federation in performance of their tasks;
  • provide information, consultation and support to project partners and give guidance to potential applicants and beneficiaries/partners;
  • assist the national and regional authorities in their work with the Programme;
  • assist the MA and JTS in its contacts with Russian beneficiaries;
  • The Russian Branch Office shall send reports on programme implementation to the Russian authorities on quarterly basis and at their request.

Audit Authority and Group of Auditors

The AA ensures that audits are carried out on the PMCS, on an appropriate sample of projects and on the annual accounts of the Programme.

The role of the AA in the Programme is performed by the General Inspector of Treasury Control in the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Poland. The Secretary or Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance performs the AA functions. In practice, the tasks of the AA are carried out by a department in the Ministry of Finance (Department for the Protection of the European Union Financial Interests) and relevant Treasury Control Offices located at the voivodeship level (in Poland).

The Audit Authority is independent from the MA as well as from the Control Contact Points (CCPs). Functions of the AA, MA and CCPs are performed by separate and independent bodies.

All audit bodies are in every circumstance fully independent in their audit work in relation to the MA, to the CCPs and to the JTS as well as from other bodies involved into the implementation of the Programme.

Each participating country has set the minimum qualifications and experience for the nationally designated members in the GoA and for the auditors carrying out the auditing duties. All of them must be qualified in audit work.

The Audit Authority in particular:

  • shall ensure that audits are carried out on the management and control systems, on an appropriate sample of projects and on the annual accounts of the Programme;
  • where audits are carried out by a body other than the AA, shall ensure that this body has the necessary functional independence;
  • ensure that the audit work complies with internationally accepted auditing standards;
  • shall submit an audit strategy for performance of audits to the European Commission within 9 months of the signature of the financing agreement. The audit strategy shall set out the audit methodology on the annual accounts and on projects, the sampling method for audits on projects and the planning of audits for the current accounting year and the two subsequent accounting years. The audit strategy shall be updated annually from 2017 until end 2024. Where a common management and control system applies to more than one Programme, a single audit strategy may be prepared for the Programmes concerned. The updated audit strategy shall be submitted to the European Commission together with the Programme annual report;
  • shall draw up an audit opinion on the annual accounts for the preceding accounting year and an annual audit report.

Group of Auditors

Members of GoA assist the AA in the assessment of the national part of the management and control system and during the performance of sample checks of project expenditure. It also assists the AA in the elaboration of the audit strategy for the Programme either by preparing it jointly or by endorsing the one prepared by the AA.

GoA comprises a representative of each participating country. The GoA shall be chaired by a representative of the AA.

The designated civil servants representing the following institutions and positions are nominated to the GoA:

  • Poland: General Inspector of Treasury Control (the Ministry of Finance, Department for Protection of EU Financial Interests);
  • Russian Federation: Ministry of Finance.

The following topics relating to audit work will be discussed in the meetings of the GoA:

  • Audit Strategy (including sampling method, audit methodology on the annual accounts and on projects etc.);
  • audit opinion on the annual accounts;
  • annual audit report;
  • other relevant issues raised by the member(s) of the GoA.

Control Contact Points

The CCP are set up in each of the participating countries in order to support the Managing Authority in verification of expenditures declared by the beneficiaries.

Each participating country has appointed a CCP. The following institutions play the role of CCPs:

  • in Poland – Centre of European Projects;
  • in Russian Federation – Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Department for Regional and Cross-border Cooperation Development.

CCPs in Poland responsibilities may include:

  • Supervising the expenditure verification at the project level by:
    Setting up the criteria for the auditors to be contracted by beneficiaries;
    Endorsing independent auditors contracted by beneficiaries;
    On the request of MA, conducting quality control of the work of the auditors (in cooperation with the other respective institution) in case of any suspicion that work of the auditor is not reliable;
    Assistance to JTS/MA in conducting trainings for auditors contracted by beneficiaries;
  • Providing clarifications to the NA/JTS/MA on national rules (procurement, VAT, labour law, etc.) in cooperation with relevant public bodies;
  • Answering possible requests for clarification put forward by the JTS/MA in order to give due course to payment requests;
  • Supporting the MA/JTS/NA in recovery procedures;
  • Supporting the JTS/MA in the drafting of a Guidance on expenditure verification;
  • Assistance to JTS/MA in performing on-the-spot checks in projects on the national territory.

Responsibilities of CCPs in the Russian Federation:

  • Supervising the expenditure verification at the project level by:
    Setting up the criteria for the auditors to be contracted by beneficiaries;
    Assistance to JTS/MA in conducting trainings for auditors contracted by beneficiaries;
    On the request of MA, conducting quality control of the work of the auditors (in cooperation with the other respective institution) in case of any suspicion that work of the auditor is not reliable.
  • Providing clarifications to the NA/JTS/MA on national rules (procurement, VAT, labour law, etc.) in cooperation with relevant public bodies;
  • Answering possible requests for clarification put forward by the JTS/MA in order to give due course to payment requests;
  • Supporting the MA/JTS/NA in recovery procedures;
  • Supporting the JTS/MA in the drafting of a Guidance on expenditure verification;
  • Assistance to JTS/MA in performing on-the-spot checks in projects on the national territory.

The costs borne by the CCPs shall be covered from the Programme TA budget.

Independent Auditors

Expenditure declared by the beneficiary in support of a payment request shall be examined by an auditor being independent from the beneficiary and independent from MA/IB. The auditor shall examine whether the costs declared by the beneficiary and the revenue of the project are real, accurately recorded and eligible in accordance with the contract.

The independent auditors entitled to verify project expenditures will be either selected by the beneficiary and then endorsed by CCP (in case of Polish beneficiaries) or selected by the beneficiary from a list endorsed by relevant CCP (in case of Russian beneficiaries). Independent auditors should act in accordance with grant contract expenditure verification requirements and Programme control procedures.