ITF and the European Union
ITF has been cooperating with the European Union for many years, implementing humanitarian projects related to demining and capacity building in South Eastern and Eastern Europe. The EU is one of ITF’s largest donors, contributing over 7.6 million USD towards these efforts. In 2018, the European Commission granted ITF the status of EU Member States’ Specialized Agency and in 2020, ITF successfully passed the EU Pillar Assessment.
EU Pillar Assessment
The European Union Pillar Assessment determined that ITF is organizationally and financially compliant to work with EU funds under indirect management as EU’s partner organization. The assessment is a thorough and comprehensive process that examines whether or not an organization meets the requirements under Article 154 of the Financial Regulation (EU) 2018/1046. ITF was assessed in eight out of nine pillars. Some of them were mandatory in order to complete the assessment (internal control, accounting, external audit, exclusion from access to funding, publication of information on recipients, and protection of personal data) while pillars pertaining to grants and procurement were assessed due to the nature of the budget implementation tasks that will be entrusted to ITF.
By successfully completing the Pillar Assessment, ITF is eligible to be entrusted by the European Commission with the implementation of EU funds, since the assessment itself provides a guarantee of a sufficient level of protection of the EU’s financial interests. As such, ITF has demonstrated to be a trustworthy, reliable, and transparent organization, with suitable and proven internal procedures for managing EU funds.
Member States’ Specialised Agency
The Member States’ Specialised Agency (MSSA) is given by the European Commission, specifically the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). This status gives ITF wide opportunities for implementing humanitarian projects of the European Union. ITF is the first MSSA with such status from Slovenia or any other recent EU Member State, in addition to the current 11 MSSA agencies from Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Sweden and Spain.
During the process of obtaining the status, the European Commission payed special attention to ITF’s financial management and financial results, the scale of work implemented in the field of humanitarian demining and enhancing human security, and the fact that ITF comes from Slovenia, an EU member state with highlighted and active humanitarian activity.
The criteria for obtaining the MSSA status are: the organisation needs to be capable of operatively conducting its obligations with the EU; actively engaged in humanitarian activities; financially stable; committed to humanitarian principles of the EU such as humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.