Legal Framework

The legal framework of the EEA and Norway Grants is laid out in several key documents. Below you will find an overview of each category and their purpose.

Agreement on the European Economic Area
The EEA and Norway Grants came about as a result of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway's participation in the internal market in the areas covered by the EEA Agreement. The EEA Agreement provides for the inclusion of EU legislation covering the four freedoms — the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital — throughout the 30 EEA States (27 EU member states and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The objective of the EEA and Norway Grants is to reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA, and they are intended to put the beneficiary countries in a better position to make use of the internal market.

EEA and Norway Grants - overall agreements
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have entered into multi-year agreements with the European Commission on the EEA and Norway Grants. These agreements, dating back to 1994, include the total funding for the period, how that funding is allocated across the beneficiary countries and which topics can be funded.

Memoranda of Understanding with beneficiary countries
The Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) are framework agreements with each beneficiary country on how the funding will be implemented within that country in the given grant period. The agreement includes details on the country allocation, which programmes are to be funded, and the management set-up including information on cooperation with the donor countries. A separate MoU is signed for the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants.

Regulations with annexes
The regulations for the EEA and Norway Grants contain the rules and procedures for each funding period. The regulations for the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants are in most parts the same. However, given the different sets of donor countries the references to the donor side management are different.  Experiences from previous funding periods are actively taken into account during the drafting process of the regulations in order to ensure that implementation of programmes and projects is as efficient as possible.

Programme agreements
For each approved EEA Grants programme, a programme agreement is concluded between Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and the National Focal Point. Norway concludes agreements with the National Focal Points on the Norway Grants programmes. The programme agreement sets out the terms and conditions of the operation of the programme as well as the roles and responsibilities of the parties. 

Guidelines, mandates and strategy
Funding to the Active Citizens Fund, as well as scholarship and research programmes is subject to additional or specific rules. Specific guidelines and mandates have also been developed for strengthening bilateral relations, evaluations, and for risk management.

Meeting agendas and conclusions
The meeting agendas and conclusions of the donor countries' meetings on the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants are made public.

Are you interested in accessing other documents? Visit our public access policy for more information on which documents can be accessed and how to do so.