The EEA and Norway Grants are a form of non-refundable foreign aid provided by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway to Poland and other members of the European Union.
Such funds are a result of Poland joining the EU and at the same time our membership of the European Economic Area (EU + Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway). In return for financial aid, grant-giving states are given access to the internal markets of the EU, even though they are not fully fledged members. The names given to such funds come from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The main aim delivered by these funds is the reduction of economic and social inequalities within the European Economic Zone, as well as the strengthening of bilateral relations between grant giving and receiving states.
The EEA and Norway Grants cover the period between 2009-2014, but the beneficiaries, including the Pan Tadeusz Museum in Wroclaw, will have an additional two years in which to deliver their projects. Thus far, there have been two rounds of the EEA and Norway Grants. The previous rounds took place between the years 2004-2009.
The Pan Tadeusz Museum was selected as part of a competition organised by its Operators. The project fulfilled all the administrative requirements, while also meeting all the terms necessary for it to receive the relevant grants. As a result of ideas and projects being submitted in accordance with relevant criteria, the Committee for Project Selection agreed that the project meets the aims required by the fund givers, which in this case is the reduction of economic and social variations within the European Economic Area, as well as strengthening bilateral relations between grant giving and receiving states.
Beneficiaries can apply for funding of up to 85% of qualifying costs of the project. The remaining sums have to be secured by the beneficiaries as their own capital contributions. In turn, non-governmental organisations can secure funding of up to 90% of the qualifying costs. There also exists the possibility of securing 100% of the relevant costs. All information relating to the levels of funding are always provided in documents relating to individual programmes.
Depending on the relevant programme or competition, funding levels are assigned accordingly. The level of minimum or maximum funding levels depends on the details of the relevant programme and will be outlined in competition documents in each case. In accordance with the aims of any given project, the funding cannot be less than 170,000 euros. In the case of some projects, there is the possibility of delivering “small” projects (as part of the so-called Small Grants Scheme), where the levels of support can range from 5,000 to 250,000 euros.
The grants allocated to Poland total 578.1 million euros. This sum includes the operating costs, covering expenses for both the fund givers and the Polish partners, as well as the Bilateral Cooperation Fund at the national level. The cost of managing the funding streams by the fund givers amount to approximately 43.4 million euros. They will be assigned, for example, to cover the cost of the Financial Mechanisms Office in Brussels, the costing, monitoring, evaluation, reporting and audits conducted by the fund givers. As to the aims to be achieved by the Polish side – connected with managing, actioning, monitoring, controlling and informing about funding aspects – so-called Technical Assistance funds have been assigned. The Technical Assistance budget is around 8.4 million euros. The Bilateral Cooperation Fund on the national level, representing a source of funding for initiatives which support the cooperation between fund giving and find receiving states, amounts to 2.9 million euros. The terms of the funding allow for the financing of initiatives which aim to make it easier to establish partnerships and the creation of cooperation networks on the national level.