DETECT: Strengthening the capacity of the Malta Customs to detect smuggled and counterfeited goods

Beneficiary: Malta Customs

Funds allocated: €230,000

Valuable assistance rendered to the Malta Customs by MEUSAC staff for the successful application of European Commission’s co-financing of capital projects

Admittedly, answering to Calls-for-Proposals inviting Government entities to apply for EU co-financing is not everybody’s cup of tea, especially owing to the fact that these entities may not be in a position to dedicate staff to be mainly responsible for such tasks.  Additionally, at some point during the process, the European Commission may raise certain queries that may only be addressed to the Commission’s full satisfaction through that expert touch that may only be provided by specially-trained officials.

Between 2016 and 2018, the Malta Customs had two such occasions and, in both cases, MEUSAC’s competent personnel were only a telephone call away to readily provide their assistance both at the initial stages and all along until the respective Financing Agreement was concluded.  The Malta Customs feels fortunate to have benefited from the vast experience and expertise of the MEUSAC team and Malta Customs is, indeed, forever grateful to have acquired MEUSAC’s professional and prompt services.

In brief, it all began in late 2016 when, against tight timeframes, MEUSAC personnel were instrumental in the Malta Customs successfully submitting an application for EU funding, under the 2014-2020 Hercule III Programme, of a somewhat complicated €400,000 project.  The project consisted in the procurement of an intelligence analytical software and equipment together with several canines, the training of canine teams and a canine team instructor, canine feeding and canine vans. To enable the Malta Customs to meet the EU deadlines, MEUSAC agreed to assist almost on a daily basis the Customs staff that were assigned with the application’s preparation and, on MEUSAC’s part, even worked outside normal office hours in a bid for Customs, through its perfect Call-for-Proposal application, to beat other Member States in acquiring a portion of the limited budget available for this Programme. Ultimately, the European Commission agreed to finance 80% of the project costs.

In mid-2018, the Malta Customs was informed that fresh funds were yet available under the Hercule III 2018 Technical Assistance Programme.  This time around, Customs staff felt confident enough to formulate a satisfactory response to the Call-for-Proposals for a €230,000 mobile x-ray tunnel van.  This notwithstanding, MEUSAC was again contacted because Customs wanted to ensure a “fool-proof” submission especially since this was, once again, a competitive Call-for-Proposals with a limited amount of funds to be shared among the qualifying Member States.  And, indeed, the efforts exerted by the Customs personnel, duly very professionally assisted by MEUSAC, not only resulted in the Malta Customs receiving a positive reply but also, as an exception, Malta Customs was awarded a 90% financing proportion for this very useful project.

On the basis of the foregoing, the Malta Customs is forever grateful for MEUSAC’s tangible and fruitful support, whenever and however requested, and, apart from looking forward to further collaboration with the Agency in the future on similar assignments, the Malta Customs exhorts other Government entities to resort to MEUSAC’s assistance in such circumstances, thereby being guaranteed sterling service and, more importantly, positive results” ~ Saviour Gauci, Advisor, Malta Customs.

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