FAQ

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a regional politician or an individual, please contact me if you are interested in a concrete political area or worried about issues I can help you with. The easiest way to arrange an appointment with me is to contact my team in the Czech Republic on zdechovsky@zdechovsky.eu, or me personally at tomas.zdechovsky@ep.europa.eu. Further information is available on my web pages at http://zdechovsky.eu/contact.

Our team is constantly looking for young, talented and ambitious people who are interested in European politics and law. Current openings are offered through our web pages. If there is no current opening available on the web pages, do not hesitate to send your CV and cover letter directly to my email address tomas.zdechovsky@ep.europa.eu. My web pages http://zdechovsky.eu/links also provide information on traineeships in other European institutions.

Twice a year, our office organizes a trip to one of the seats of the European Parliament for secondary school students from all over the Czech Republic. In spring we take students to Brussels, in autumn to Strasbourg. If your school is interested in making this trip, first it is necessary to select students who will take part in this trip by organizing a competition focusing on a specific European topic. As soon as you know the names of the students , kindly contact our team in the Czech Republic on zdechovsky@zdechovsky.eu to discuss the possible dates.

If you are interested in visiting the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg as an individual, please follow our web pages where we announce competitions focusing on European topics with the possibility of winning a trip to Strasbourg.

Current information on the results of negotiations, decisions and votes of the European Parliament is available in Czech on the official web pages of the European Parliament on http://www.europarl.europa.eu/portal/cs. Click on “Plenary sessions” to find concrete information on negotiations as well as vote results. Here, you will also find detailed information regarding members of the European Parliament. If you are interested in how a particular MEP voted, go to another useful link http://www.votewatch.eu/.

Entrepreneurs can make use of several sources of funding from the EU. The first possibility is to apply for a subsidy from structural funds, especially under the Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness operational programme or the Employment operational programme. To gain access to finances from structural funds, it is necessary to submit a project application. For more information, including current calls for proposals under individual operational programmes as well as instructions on how to fill in the project application, go to http://www.strukturalni-fondy.cz/cs/Fondy-EU/2014-2020.

Small enterprises especially can make use of soft loans or bank guarantees with the support of the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund and other institutions. More information can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/small-business/finance/index_cs.htm.

You may also use the opportunity to take part in European public procurement procedures by means of TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) which is the online version of the 'Supplement to the Official Journal' of the EU dedicated to European public procurement. TED provides free access to business opportunities from the European Union, the European Economic Area and beyond. You can browse, search and sort procurement notices by country, region, business sector and more. Information about every procurement document is published in the 24 official EU languages. TED is available on http://ted.europa.eu/TED/main/HomePage.do.

If you want me to take part in an event that you organize, please contact my team in the Czech Republic well in advance on zdechovsky@zdechovsky.eu, or me personally on tomas.zdechovsky@europarl.europa.eu. For easier communication, please do not forget to include the concrete topic and a brief description of the planned event in your email message.

Members of the European Parliament have no direct power to influence the condition of the Czech education system. In response to specific incentives, they can develop their own initiative and, by means of letter of personal discussion, call on responsible persons to improve the situation or start acting in specific cases.

As an area without internal borders allowing for the free movement of people, services and capital, the EU single internal market facilitates access of Czech companies to the EU market. If you are looking for new business opportunities  or planning to expand your business in another EU country, you can contact the relevant  point of single contact in the given country on http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/eu-go/index_cs.htm to get information regarding the local rules. The requirements for setting up a business are different in individual member states. However, the EU recommends that member states should follow certain rules in this area. One of them says, for example, that establishing a business should not take longer than three working days. For more information go to http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/start-grow/start-ups/index_cs.htm.

f you have any enquiries regarding the EU, you can contact Europe Direct which is a network of information centres. Contacts for your nearest information centre are available on http://www.europe-direct.cz/. You can also direct your enquiries to the Eurocentres network established by the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic. You will find the list of Eurocentres at  https://www.euroskop.cz/ecms/. In addition to this, you can use the services of the European House in Prague which offers not only useful information, but also a wide range of cultural events and discussions. Events that are currently being prepared are available on http://evropskydum.cz/ where you will also find contact details for the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic and the European Parliament Information Office.

If you wish to address your enquiry directly to the European Parliament, you can do so by filling in the form on https://www.secure.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/cs/askEP.html. You can make an enquiry in Czech. In such a case the reply will be in Czech, too.

An enquiry for the European Commission can be sent by means of the form on http://europa.eu/contact/write-to-us/index_cs.htm. You can make this enquiry in Czech as well, just like in the case of enquiries addressed to the European Parliament. If you want to contact the EU Council or the European Council, go to http://www.consilium.europa.eu/cs/contact/general-enquiries/.

The procedure related to applying for a subsidy from the European funds is a complex procedure involving several steps connected to each other.

1) Create a project proposal

First of all, it is necessary to create a detailed project proposal in which you precisely define why you need the finances and how you are planning to use them. Furthermore, it is important to present a document with a logical structure and clearly specified goal. Last but not least, you should pay adequate attention to the financial side of the project.

2) Find a relevant operational programme and within this programme a specific area of intervention for your project proposal

You have set your goal and now, depending on the conditions of launched subsidy schemes for the given period, you need to find such a subsidy scheme which best corresponds to the goal of you project and by means of which you can finance it. Detailed information on the subsidy scheme can be obtained in the relevant programming document which clearly defines supported areas, goals of the programme or types of applicants who may apply for a subsidy. All programming documents can be found on web pages of those governing authorities that publish a particular programme.

3) Submit an application

This application will play a crucial role in whether or not you will be successful. When preparing the application, you can use handbooks and methodological guidelines prepared by governing authorities. Besides the printed and electronical versions of these materials, there are also specialists available for consultations or educational seminars you can attend, etc. The applicant has to wait till a call for proposal related to their project is published. Information on calls for proposals published for the given year is available in the so-called timetable of calls for proposal which can be found on web pages of governing authorities. The preliminary timetable of calls for proposals is at your disposal on http://www.strukturalni-fondy.cz/cs/Kalendar-akci?t=4#Tabs. Each call for proposal clearly specifies its own conditions for submitting an application for a subsidy, the extent of the application, types of eligible applicants, etc. The application for a subsidy including all the compulsory attachments must be submitted by a concrete date by means of the electronic system MS 2014 on https://mseu.mssf.cz/. There is also a video with instructions for completing the application on http://www.strukturalni-fondy.cz/cs/Jak-na-projekt/Elektronicka-zadost/Edukacni-videa.

4) Evaluation of the application

All presented applications for a subsidy are subsequently evaluated by the given governing authority or institution which has been empowered by the governing authority to do so. Evaluation of applications is based on evaluation criteria that are always part of the relevant call for proposal. The criteria are at your disposal in the relevant call for proposal or its additional documents. Handbooks for applicant/ beneficiary also contain information about the course of evaluation. For the 2014-2020 programming period, uniform rules for evaluating projects under various programmes have been established, and furthermore, tools have been created to add more transparency to the whole procedure. Applicants should be able to receive detailed information about the result of the project evaluation. In case of negative result, the applicant has the right to appeal against it, which was impossible in the previous period. The following points focus on the practical implementation of the project that you have prepared.

5) Implementation of the project

After the project approval, successful applicants sign a subsidy contract which stipulates in detail the conditions of project implementation, rules for the selection of suppliers, obligatory publicity standards, principles of keeping and maintaining documents, etc.

6) Request for payment

You will obtain funding later upon the so-called request for payment submitted to the governing authority or relevant institution. Payments may have different forms – reimbursement of eligible costs (ex-post payment), funding provided in advance (ex-ante payment) or combined payments. The concrete conditions for payment requests are laid down by the relevant governing authority.

7) Evaluation and settlement of payment

When submitting a request for payment, it is necessary to prove that the costs correspond to the conditions stipulated in the concluded contract. Therefore, it is advisable that you take photographs in the course of the project, produce attendance sheets, handover reports etc., as these materials will later serve as evidence for invoicing. The relevant governing authority will then decide whether or not your request is legitimate. If the costs that you presented are eligible, you will obtain the relevant funding. If certain costs are identified as non-eligible, e.g. you fail to submit some of the documents or present them incorrectly, the governing authority will make corrections and reduce the requested amount by those non-eligible costs.

8) On-site inspection

In addition to administrative checks, you have to be prepared for an on-site inspection as well. It is possible to inspect the project documentation, the actual condition of the project (whether the project is being implemented in line with the project proposal), the financial aspects, etc. The inspectors will always draw up a report summarizing their findings and measures to be adopted in order to avoid possible sanctions. The inspections may be planned as well as random. To ensure the smooth running of the inspection, beneficiaries are recommended to have all the relevant documents in one place, make minutes of negotiation meetings, keep original documents as well as any communication records including electronic records, set up procedures and competencies within the project team, etc. It is also important to timely notify the governing authority of all possible changes during the implementation of the project.

9) Publicity of the project

Each beneficiary who obtained funding from EU funds is obliged provide information about this support in line with the rules for mandatory project publicity. The rules are clearly defined and published in handbooks for applicants and beneficiaries. As far as small projects are concerned, the publicity requirement is satisfied by displaying an A3 poster in the place where the project is being implemented. In the case of more expensive projects, it is necessary to promote them by means of large-format banners or billboards. After the completion of such projects these temporary carriers are replaced by commemorative plaques. The information about the project must be maintained in the place at least until the end of the project sustainability period.

10) Sustainability of the project

Work on your project does not end with the last payment you received. From this moment on, it is necessary to keep the goals of the project relevant and meaningful even without any subsidies for the period which has been stipulated in the subsidy contract. The most common sustainability period is five years, but it may be only three years for selected projects. If you fail to ensure that the project is sustainable, you may have to face a sanction. In an extreme case, you may be required to return part of or even the entire subsidy. Comprehensive and detailed information can be obtained on http://www.strukturalni-fondy.cz/cs/Fondy-EU/2014-2020.

The EU is aware of the fact that all member states need to apply a uniform approach to solving the migrant crisis. In September the EU approved a system of relocation of migrants generally known as the quota system under which each member state is to take in a concrete number of migrants.

The system of hotspots in member states as well as on the external EU borders is another tool introduced to manage the migratory flows.  These hotspots are managed by supporting units helping the given member states to fulfil their obligations and duties. The units consist of the representatives of the European Asylum Support Office, the EU Border Agency (FRONTEX) and the EU Judicial Cooperation Agency (EUROJUST). They cooperate with the authorities of those member states where they operate. So far, hotspots have been established in Greece and Italy. Support provided under the Hotspot approach concentrates on registration, identification and fingerprinting of asylum seekers.

Hotspots play a very important part in return operations, i.e. in the system of integrated return management using information exchange within the EU in order to impose return and entry bans.

Students have a wide range of traineeship opportunities within one of the EU institutions.

The European Commission opens registration for selection procedures twice a year. A traineeship with the European Commission lasts 6 months and important qualification requirements include at least a bachelor´s degree, a knowledge of two official languages and at the same time a good knowledge of English, German or French. Further details including the application are available on http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm. You can also apply for a translation traineeship with the European Commission. Besides the basic conditions, the applicants must be able to translate into their mother tongue (or language that they master equally well) from two other official EU languages (of which one must be English, French or German).

The European Parliament offers several types of traineeships both for university and secondary school graduates, and also translation traineeships. For more information in Czech about individual types of traineeships, go to http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/cs/20150201PVL00047/St%C3%A1%C5%BEe.

The Council of the EU also offers paid as well as unpaid traineeships on http://www.consilium.europa.eu/cs/general-secretariat/jobs/traineeships/ where you will find more details.

Traineeship opportunities are available not only with the above-mentioned institutions, but also with many other institutions. A clear summary of basic information about further traineeship opportunities is at your disposal on http://europa.eu/about-eu/working-eu-institutions/traineeships/index_cs.htm.

You can also become an intern directly with Mr Zdechovský´s office.  Information about how you can apply is provided in one of the questions above.

For the 2014-2020 programming period, the Erasmus+ programme has been created to support young people in developing their skills and help them increase their chances of getting a good job. The programme also aims at modernizing education, specialized trainings and work with young people. The budget allocated to the programme is €14.7 billion.

It is possible to obtain support for various kinds of projects including partnerships projects between schools, projects focused on opportunities for teachers, mobility projects for young people and many others.

Comprehensive information on Erasmus+ is available on http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/index_cs.htm.

MEPs do most of their work in the committees of the European Parliament. Each MEP is part of one or more committees. Mr Tomáš Zdechovský, for example, is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) where he acts as a vice-coordinator. He is a substitute member in the Committee on Budgets. He is also engaged in the Delegation for relations with China and Japan. Besides discussing legislative issues in the committees, meeting people from various areas is a routine part of an MEP´s job as well.

Moreover, once a month each MEP attends a plenary session in Strasbourg to discuss and  vote on final proposals.

During the so-called green weeks, Mr Zdechovský takes part in a number of seminars, discussions and events in the Czech Republic.

A member of the European Parliament is not able to directly contribute to obtaining subsidies from the EU. You can find instructions on how to apply for a subsidy by clicking on one of the questions above.

The Czech Republic is implementing measures adopted by the European Union. For example, our country contributes to the protection of external borders by providing its police forces. In addition to this, the Czech Republic is obliged to take in a certain number of asylum seekers.

As far as refugee quotas are concerned, I have always voted against them (in the fraction, in the parliament and the committees as well). My opinion on this issue remains and will remain unchanged. It is the member states, not the EU, who will have the final word. I would also like to add that the Czechs, together with the Polish, Slovaks, Hungarians and the Baltic states are the main opponents of the introduction of mandatory refugee quotas. So the decision on mandatory refugee quotas is in the hands of member states. There is no need to be concerned that we will be dictated to take in a certain number of refugees.

In short, the thing is that EU member states should unify their asylum policies. People with criminal conviction records or people whose asylum application has been repeatedly refused will not be allowed to enter the EU territory in any way. Moreover, it is necessary to refuse all economic migrants. These people should be immediately returned to their home countries. I have always insisted and will insist on these principles.

First of all, it is necessary to find legal assistance. One of the organizations which you can contact if necessary is the Authority of Social and Legal Protection of Children (Orgán sociálně právní ochrany dětí). For further details go to http://www.ospod.cz/informace/obecne/. You can also contact the Office for International Legal protection of Children (Úřad pro mezinárodněprávní ochranu dětí) whose main role is to enforce child support from abroad to the Czech Republic and vice versa, to solve cases of international abductions, to ensure the right to contact, to solve cases of intercountry adoptions. More information is available on http://www.umpod.cz/urad/. In difficult life situations, you can also contact the office of the Public Defender of Rights (Ombudsman) that will provide assistance in submitting complaints to authorities or in similar matters. The Public Defender of Rights is available on http://www.ochrance.cz/. Other institutions focusing on the given issues include the Union of Fathers (Unie otců) on http://www.unie-otcu.cz/,  Defence for Children International DCI - Czech section on http://wwwstranka.wix.com/dcicz or the Educational Institute for  Child Protection (Vzdělávací institut ochrany dětí o.p.s.) on http://www.viod.cz/cz/viod/domaci.html, which is a public benefit company organizing educational activities and also running an information centre focused on the international child protection and the EU.

If you exhaust all legal remedies, you have the right to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

I have committed myself to contributing one sixth of my salary to beneficial projects every month. Therefore, if you have a reason to ask me for financial support, do not hesitate to do so by sending an official application to zdechovsky@zdechovsky.eu.

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on Blog / iDNES.cz
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