Eligibility on EU REA AGRIP campaigns

This is an issue many organisations struggle with. For some, the answer regarding eligibility for EU REA AGRIP campaigns is straightforward, but many organisations do not fall clearly into either the eligible or non-eligible category.

Since REA won’t review your eligibility before you submit a proposal, and preparing one is time-consuming, it’s worthwhile to focus on this issue. If you are not eligible, nothing else matters. Ineligibility of the proposing organisation is one of the main causes for the rejection of applications. While there has been improvement over time (from 20% ineligible proposals in 2016 to only 10% in 2020), it remains a key factor.

Let’s start with how REA currently explains eligibility.

Eligible organisations

The following types of organisations can apply for funding:

  • Trade or inter-trade organisations set up in an EU country or at EU level which are representative of the sectors concerned in that EU country or at EU level, and groups of producers and processors active in areas of geographical indications.

A trade or inter-trade organisation is deemed representative if it accounts for at least half of the sector’s producers, or half of the volume or value of marketable production of the products or sector. A percentage lower than 50% may be accepted if justified, or where it is an interbranch organisation recognised by the EU Member State.

  • Producer organisations or associations of producer organisations that have been recognised by an EU country.
  • Agri-food organisations that promote their products in the interest of the general public and have been established for at least two years in the respective EU country. They must have representatives of the product/sector among its members (apart from programmes carried out after a loss of consumer confidence).

Private companies in general may not participate as applicants as the promotion policy is not aimed to finance the advertising of a private business company, but instead to have generic campaigns on products or schemes benefiting a whole sector. In certain exceptions, a private company could be considered as a group – please consult the FAQ for more information.

In order to encourage competition and ensure the widest access possible to EU funding, a proposing organisation shall not receive support for information for the same campaign on more than two consecutive occasions. This means that a campaign and its continuation can last for a maximum of six years.

 

They also published a cute infographic:

And an interesting session on this matter on the Info Days:

Since you probably still have questions, let’s review what the regulations explicitly state regarding eligibility for EU REA AGRIP campaigns.

Let’s start with Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014, the “Original Law” that started all this. In its article 7, proposing organisations, it specifies who can propose a programme:

Article 7
Proposing organisations

1.   A programme may be proposed by:

(a)    trade or inter-trade organisations, established in a Member State and representative of the sector or sectors concerned in that Member State, and in particular the interbranch organisations as referred to in Article 157 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 and groups as defined in point 2 of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, provided that they are representative for the name protected under the latter Regulation which is covered by that programme;

(b)    trade or inter-trade organisations of the Union representative of the sector or sectors concerned at Union level;

(c)    producer organisations or associations of producer organisations, as referred to in Articles 152 and 156 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 that have been recognised by a Member State;

(d)    agri-food sector bodies the objective and activity of which is to provide information on, and to promote, agricultural products and which have been entrusted, by the Member State concerned, with a clearly defined public service mission in this area; those bodies must have been legally established in the Member State in question at least two years prior to the date of the call for proposals referred to in Article 8(2).

2.   The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 22, setting out the specific conditions under which each of the proposing organisations, groups and bodies referred to in paragraph 1 may submit a programme. Those conditions shall, in particular, guarantee that those organisations, groups and bodies are representative and that the programme is on a significant scale.

 

That isn’t very helpful, is it? No mention of what ‘representative’ means and how that can be evaluated, and a lot more other references that are quite ambiguous. We don’t get much clarity with the references to other regulations either.

Article 1(a) of this regulation mentions Article 157 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, while 1(c) mentions Articles 152 and 156 of that same regulation. This extensive piece of regulation, that has been amended a million times in the last decade, sets out the rules for Member States to recognise interbranch organisations in the articles mentioned here.

This is clear: if you are recognised as a representative for your sector by your Member State, then you are eligible. So that’s one way to ensure that you can get awarded an EU REA AGRIP campaign.

But what if you are not?

(d) opens the door to agri-food sector bodies without really defining what these are. This is later addressed in a question on the FAQ (see below).

We’ll need to check more stuff.

Soon after, the EU Commission published the Regulation (EU) 2015/1829, that supplements Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014, which we have just reviewed above. And lucky for us, its first article expands the info on eligible organisations:

Article 1
Conditions under which a proposing organisation may submit a simple or multi programme

 

1. The proposing organisations as referred to in Article 7(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014 may submit a proposal for an information and promotion programme provided that they are representative of the sector or product concerned as follows:

(a) trade or inter-trade organisation, established in a Member State or at Union level, as referred to in Article 7(1)(a) and (b) of Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014 respectively, shall be deemed to be representative of the sector concerned by the programme:

(i) where it accounts for at least 50 % as a proportion of the number of producers, or 50 % of the volume or value of marketable production of the product(s) or sector concerned, in the Member State concerned or at Union level; or

(ii) where it is an interbranch organisation recognised by the Member State in accordance with Article 158 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (11) or with Article 16 of Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (12);

(b) a group as defined in point 2 of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (13) and referred to in Article 7(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014, shall be deemed to be representative of the name protected under Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 and covered by the programme, where it accounts for at least 50 % of the volume or value of marketable production of the product(s) whose name is protected;

(c) a producer organisation or an association of producer organisations as referred to in Article 7(1)(c) of Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014 shall be deemed to be representative of the product(s) or sector concerned by the programme where it is recognised by the Member State in accordance with Articles 154 or 156 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 or with Article 14 of Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013;

(d) with the exception of programmes carried out after a loss of consumer confidence, an agri-food sector body as referred to in Article 7(1)(d) of Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014 shall be representative of the sector(s) concerned by the programme by means of having representatives of that product(s) or sector among its memberships.

2. By way of derogation from points (a)(i) and (b) of paragraph 1, lower thresholds may be accepted, if the proposing organisation demonstrates in the submitted proposal that there are specific circumstances, including the evidence on the structure of the market, which would justify treating the proposing organisation as representative of the product(s) or sector concerned.

3. The proposing organisation shall have the necessary technical, financial and professional resources to carry out the programme effectively.

4. A proposing organisation shall not receive support for information and promotion programmes on the same product or scheme, carried out in the same geographical market on more than two consecutive occasions.

 

Well, this is something else. For the first time, the rule requiring 50% of producers, or the volume or value of the production, is introduced. This is a clear guideline, though it’s not always easily estimated. In many cases, the organisations themselves are the only entities tracking these metrics. Regardless, this represents progress. Unluckily for us, paragraph 2 introduces exceptions to this threshold, allowing for lower thresholds under specific circumstances. The exact nature of these circumstances, however, is left rather vague.

It also introduces the requirement for Geographical Indications (GI) regulatory bodies to represent 50 % of the volume or value.

A new concept, ‘programmes carried out after a loss of consumer confidence,’ is mentioned for the first time. This concept exempts an organisation from needing to be representative of its sector if it is operating under such conditions.

While there are some additional references to other regulations, they don’t seem to add much clarity to the discussion.

So, that’s it, by now you will probably know whether you are eligible or not, right?

Yes, we thought so. REA (and CHAFEA before them) has probably received hundreds of questions on this issue and have thus published additional notes in their FAQ that we conveniently summarise here for you to assist you on evaluating your eligibility for EU REA AGRIP campaigns:

A producer organisation or an association of producer organisations as referred to in Article 7(1)(c) of Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014 shall be deemed to be representative of the product(s) or sector concerned by the programme where it is recognised by the Member State in accordance with Articles 154 or 156 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 or with Article 14 of Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013. If in a particular Member State such recognition is established at the regional level, the criterion of representativeness will be considered as fulfilled.

Source

Yes, in that case, the proposing organisation will need to explain that because of the administrative organisation of its country, there are only “regional” trade organisations and that it cannot reach the 50% threshold. It shall belong to the proposing trade organisation to demonstrate that it can still be considered as representative of the product or sector concerned, due to i.e. its share in the region concerned, at Member State level, exports, etc.

Source

Trade organisations generally have data on the market. It is generally one of their objectives: improving knowledge and the transparency of production and the market of a sector, including by publication of aggregated statistical data on production costs, prices, etc.

There is no need to ask any national authority to certify these data. In an application for EU funding, these data shall be easy accessible (extract of studies or link with webpages, etc.).

In addition, according to Article 2 of the Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1829/2015, lower thresholds of representativeness can be accepted in duly justified cases, such as a specific structure of the market.

Source

In line with Article 7(1) of Regulation 1144/2014, the conditions for eligibility of agri-food sector bodies are the following:

  • It is an agri-food sector body.
  • Its objective is to provide information on, and to promote, agricultural products.
  • It has been entrusted, by the Member State concerned, with a clearly defined public service mission in this area.
  • It has been legally established in the Member State in question at least two years prior to the date of the call for proposals.

In addition, in order to be considered representative, the agri-food sector body must have representatives of the product(s) or sector concerned by the programme among its memberships. The condition on membership can be fulfilled via mandatory financial contributions of representatives of the product(s) or sector concerned.

Source

In general no, as only the proposing organisations listed under 1.2.6 can be eligible. The promotion policy is not aimed to finance the advertising of a private business company. It is designed to have generic campaigns on products or schemes benefiting to a whole sector. Nevertheless, in certain cases, it is not excluded that some of the eligible proposing organisations may be registered as private companies. This could be for example the case of a private company that would be considered as a group under Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 thus eligible proposing organisation in accordance with Article 7(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014.

Source

  • Trade or inter-trade organisations, established in a Member State or at Union level, and representative of the sector(s) concerned in that Member State or at Union level, and groups of producers and processors active in geographical indications. A trade or inter-trade organisation shall be deemed to be representative (i) where it accounts for at least 50% as a proportion of the number of producers, or 50 % of the volume or value of marketable production of the product(s) or sector concerned, in the Member State concerned or at Union level; but lower percentages may be accepted if justified or (ii) where it is an interbranch organisation recognised by the Member State.
  • Producer organisations or associations of producer organisations that have been recognised by a Member State.
  • Agri-food bodies involved in a mission of public interest in charge of promotion. Those bodies must have been legally established in the Member State in question at least two years prior to the date of the call for proposals. They shall be representative of the product/sector by means of having representatives of product/sector among its memberships (with the exception of programmes carried out after a loss of consumer confidence).

Only applications from entities established in EU Member States are eligible.

The proposing organisation shall have the necessary technical, financial and professional resources to carry out the programme effectively.

In order to boost competition and ensure the widest access possible to EU funding, a proposing organisation shall not receive support for information for the same campaign more than two consecutive occasions. This means that a campaign can last for a maximum of six years.

Source

 That’s all the official information out there on eligibility for EU REA AGRIP campaigns.

Do you need some help checking your elegibility?

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