The consultation was specifically focused on two issues: grants and administration procedures. Since most BCSDN members have benefited from Commission funding and have experienced problems with EU bureaucracy, the BCSDN submitted its recommendations for how the grant rules and application procedure could be simplified.
Before embarking on first experience of writing an EU project proposal, CSOs mistakenly think that EU is an ideal supporter of civil society activities. The most common problems faced by the CSOs are required ceiling and type of co-financing (no in-kind is allowed), long application and evaluation procedures, which sometimes prevent organizations to react timely to a situation or a problem, fluctuating exchange rates (the European Commission uses its own average Euro calculations) and limited (7%) overhead (where office rent and similar direct administration costs are allowed to be budgeted and reimbursed only under this limited category).
One of the main problems faced by CSOs in accession and pre-accession countries is lack of access to institutional support which is available to CSOs in EU Member States through Europe for Citizens and Structural Funds. On initiative of the BCSDN, the IPA Civil Society Facility Technical Assistance (TACSO) project offices in some countries have taken on to inform and coordinate national input in all Western Balkans countries and Turkey as a way to enable local CSOs to have their say in the consultation.
Full BCSDN contribution is available here. There were only a few more contributions from organizations and public authorities from the Balkans. All contributions from individuals, organizations and public authorities are available here. The consultation was closed on 18th December. It is expected that Commission will present its proposals for changes to the Regulation in mid-2010.