Public institutions in the donor and beneficiary countries share responsibility for managing the EEA and Norway Grants. These entities work closely together to achieve the objectives of the Grants.
The programme approach of the EEA and Norway Grants means that considerable responsibility is delegated to the beneficiary states. The National Focal Points, most often ministries, have the overall responsibility of the grant schemes. National programme operators are responsible for making the funding available to applicants through calls for proposals, appraising applications, selecting and monitoring projects.
Entities from the donor countries are partners in the programmes, contributing in the preparation and implementation of the programmes, and in facilitating partnerships at project level. The donor countries, through their secretariat for the Grants, monitor the implementation process.
The Financial Mechanism Committee (FMC) is the decision-making body for the EEA Grants. The committee consists of representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The FMC draws up and passes policy, regulations and guidelines, approves all programmes and ensures monitoring, control and evaluations.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the decision-making body for the Norway Grants.
The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) is the Brussels- based secretariat for the Grants. The FMO is affiliated with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and reports to the Foreign Ministries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The FMO also serves as a contact point for the beneficiary countries. As of 30 June 2018, the FMO has 61 fixed-term staff positions, encompassing 18 different nationalities.
Each beneficiary country has a National Focal Point (NFP), responsible overall for achieving the objectives of the Grants, as well as overall management and control of their programmes. Most of the NFPs are located within relevant ministries, or public agencies that also have responsibility for managing EU funds. The NFP represents the beneficiary country in its relations with the FMC and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the Grants.
Each Programme Operator (PO) is responsible for awarding funding to projects according to agreed criteria, monitoring project implementation and achieving results. In most cases the PO is a public institution. Programme Operators often work in close cooperation with a Donor Programme Partner (DPP). DPPs are public bodies from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway with national mandates in their respective fields. They work with their counterparts in beneficiary countries to:
• provide expertise and strategic advice on programme planning and implementation
• facilitate networking and help project promoters find project partners in donor countries
In some programmes and funds, the FMO is entrusted with the role of Programme Operator. In these cases, the implementation of the programme or fund is normally performed by a Fund Operator selected through an open tender process. For the programmes or funds for which the FMO is Programme Operator, the NFP bears no responsibility for their implementation, financially or otherwise.
The donor Embassies in the beneficiary countries, in particular those of Norway, take part in the dialogue between the donor and beneficiary countries and play an important role in communicating the results of the Grants.
Intergovernmental organisations and actors play an important role, as they monitor compliance with international conventions and treaties across Europe. Furthermore, they provide assistance in areas linked to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In order to ensure that the programmes and projects of the EEA and Norway Grants are aligned with European and international standards, the donors have established strategic partnerships with three European partners who act as International Partner Organisations (IPOs) in the 2014-2021 funding period.
- The Council of Europe (CoE) is the most comprehensive external partner of the Grants, and is involved in 15 programmes and several projects under the 2014-2021 funding period. The organisation provides strategic advice as well as technical input in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
- The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is involved in several programmes and projects on Roma inclusion and fundamental rights. We also cooperate with FRA in organising high-level fundamental rights-related events.
- The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a strategic partner for the Grants in the area of good governance, where it is involved in a number of programmes and projects.