When grant funds are mismanaged and corruption risks left unaddressed, not only do the intended recipients lose out, but the effectiveness of grant schemes and donor credibility is also at stake. With this is mind, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have partnered with Transparency International to assess and tackle potential corruption risks in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway Grants scheme. The aim of this collaboration is to help ensure that almost 1.8 billion Euro of funding goes where it is meant to go and achieves its intended results.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT
The European Economic Area and Norway Grant Schemes provide grants to 15 EU countries, with the aim to strengthen bilateral co-operation and reduce economic and social disparities. Addressing corruption risks in the grant schemes remains a priority for the donor countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway), and they have adopted zero-tolerance to corruption, graft and mismanagement as one of their guiding principles. To this end, Transparency International has partnered up with the donors to identify potential corruption risks in the grant schemes – ensuring the money goes where it’s intended to go.
Since July 2011, Transparency International has provided expert advice to the European Economic Area and Norway Grants to help address corruption risks affecting the grant schemes. This involves a thorough assessment of the overall level of integrity of the beneficiary states and an analysis of the specific corruption risks in the different countries. Once identified, Transparency International offers guidance and support on potential mitigation measures for the donors and the beneficiary states to consider in their anti-corruption planning.
The 15 EU beneficiary states include Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The Partnership Agreement involves Transparency International and the Financial Mechanism Office, based in Brussels, which represents the European Economic Area and Norway Grants in the day-to-day management of the grant mechanism.
In the framework of this agreement, Transparency International supports the Financial Mechanism Office in advising National Focal Points – the entities in charge of the overall management of the funds in each beneficiary state – on potential corruption risks in the grant scheme in their respective country, and on which measures could be useful to address these risks and strengthen the institutions involved in the grant scheme at national level.