The Office of the Auditor General today presented its performance audit of the EEA and Norway Grants. The overall objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants are to contribute to reducing social and economic disparities in the EEA, and to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries.
“The report provides a useful review of our work on the EEA and Norway Grants, and it endorses the changes the Ministry has initiated,” said Mr Eide.
The EEA and Norway Grants have become an instrument of Norwegian foreign policy, and they help to promote social and democratic development in Europe.
“The contribution we make through the Grants acts as a door opener and it creates forums and cooperation on a scale that would otherwise have been impossible,” said Mr Eide.
The Office of the Auditor General’s report supports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ introduction of a new administrative model for the Grants. The report concludes that this has helped to promote a more focused approach, and that performance management has improved and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries has been strengthened.
At the same time, the Office of the Auditor General recommends that the ongoing work on performance management should be further strengthened, that administration and the provision of technical assistance should be followed up, and that the administrative model should be assessed in terms of its ability to meet the need for controls and ensure good performance.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make active use of the investigation in its ongoing work to further develop the administration of the Grants. Quality assurance and performance management will continue to have high priority.
“It is important for Norway to be able to carry out controls and influence how the EEA and Norway Grants are used. We have therefore increased our capacity to carry out controls and engage in risk management. In order to achieve this, we had to use some of the funds to cover the costs of administration and technical assistance,” Mr Eide said.
The Office of the Auditor General’s report and recommendations will be followed up in various forums, including at a risk management seminar in Oslo next week that will gather representatives from all the beneficiary countries and Transparency International.