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 March 2017, the FMO had 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
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.
Strategic partnerships with several international organisations include the Council of Europe, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Open Society Foundations. These partnerships bring added expertise, results and value, and aim to ensure that funding is allocated with maximum efficiency and transparency.
• The Council of Europe is involved in 20 programmes in nine beneficiary countries, providing strategic advice as well as technical input in its areas of expertise – human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
• FRA provides expert advice on the protection of fundamental rights and engages with the EEA and Norway Grants on issues of mutual interest.
• The Open Society Foundations give strategic advice on Roma issues in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) programmes.