10 May 2018

OP EIC update

The media has disclosed information about the EU suspending the provision of aid within the Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness Operational Programme, whose governing body is the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as a result of a high error rate when paying subsidies from this programme, revealed by the Ministry of Finance as the auditor. Below we provide a short summary of the current situation.

Karin Osinová
Eva Truhlářová

The Ministry of Industry and Trade issued a press release and additional information from an intermediary, the Agency for Enterprise and Innovations (the AEI). The audit revealed a high error rate, which should be rectified by means of a number of internal measures that are currently being implemented. However, the programme’s suspension only relates to the certification of funds from the European Commission to the state budget, which should not affect the payment of funds in respect of projects implemented by individual applicants. In the period of suspension, funds will be paid from national sources and applications for payments submitted by applicants will continue to be paid in a standard manner. 

Method of calculating newly-created jobs within the ICT and shared services programme

The second piece of information, encountered by applicants within the ICT and Shared Services programme, in particular relating to the Creation of new IS/ICT solutions call, was a message from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (the AEI) clarifying the method of calculating newly-created jobs, which is the key indicator of this programme.

An audit of this programme revealed discrepancies in the payment of aid for newly-created jobs due to an error in the definition of the methodology within the above call to participate in the programme. According to the audit findings, in addition to expenses incurred for newly-created jobs, the programme also covered the payroll expenses of existing employees who had been merely relocated to the project, which is in compliance with the call conditions but at variance with the EU rules, according to which aid may only be provided in respect of jobs created within a project as a net increase in the total number of jobs.

We do not know either the exact number of projects whose expenses have already been covered based on the incorrect interpretation, nor its overall impact. A large number of projects are currently being implemented and subsidies have not yet been applied for. The AEI is communicating directly with the applicants concerned to ensure compliance with the EU rules.

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