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«MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EEA FINANCIAL MECHANISM 2004-2009 between THE REPUBLIC OF ICELAND, THE PRINCIPALITY OF ...»

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MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EEA FINANCIAL MECHANISM

2004-2009

between

THE REPUBLIC OF ICELAND,

THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIECHTENSTEIN,

THE KINGDOM OF NORWAY,

hereinafter referred to as the “EFTA States”

and

THE REPUBLIC OF PORTUGAL,

hereinafter referred to as the “Beneficiary State” together hereinafter referred to as the “Parties”, WHEREAS the Agreement of 14 October 2003 on the participation of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic in the European Economic Area (hereinafter referred to as the “EEA Enlargement Agreement”) is applicable as of 1 May 2004;

WHEREAS Protocol 38a to the EEA Agreement, incorporated into the EEA Agreement by the EEA Enlargement Agreement, establishes a financial mechanism through which the EFTA States will contribute to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area (hereinafter referred to as the “EEA Financial Mechanism”);

WHEREAS by decision of the Standing Committee of the EFTA States No.

4/2004/SC of 3 June 2004 the EFTA States have established a Financial Mechanism Committee, which shall manage the EEA Financial Mechanism (2004-2009);

WHEREAS the EEA Enlargement Agreement and the EEA Financial Mechanism will strengthen relations between the EFTA States and the Republic of Portugal to the mutual benefit of their peoples;

WHEREAS the enhanced co-operation between the EFTA States and the Republic of Portugal will contribute to securing a stable, peaceful and prosperous Europe, based on good governance, democratic institutions, the rule of law, respect for human rights and sustainable development;

WHEREAS the Parties agree to establish a framework for cooperation in order to ensure the effective implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism;

HAVE DECIDED to conclude the following Memorandum of Understanding (hereinafter referred to as the “MoU”):

Article 1 (Objectives) In accordance with Article 1 of Protocol 38a, the EFTA States have established the EEA Financial Mechanism in order to contribute to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area. Accordingly, the Parties to this MoU shall endeavour to select for funding, projects that contribute to the achievement of that objective.

Article 2 (Legal Framework) This MoU, agreed between the EFTA States and the Republic of Portugal, shall be read in conjunction with and subject to the conditions in the following documents,

which constitute the legal framework of the EEA Financial Mechanism:

• Protocol 38a to the EEA Agreement (hereinafter referred to as “Protocol 38a”), establishing the EEA Financial Mechanism,

• the Rules and Procedures on the implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism (hereinafter referred to as the “Rules and Procedures”) and subsequent amendments thereof. The Rules and Procedures are adopted by the EFTA States in accordance with Article 8 of Protocol 38a,

• the Grant Agreements, which will be concluded between the Financial Mechanism Committee and the Beneficiary State for each project.

–  –  –

1. In accordance with Article 2 of Protocol 38a, the EFTA States will commit € 600 million to the EEA Financial Mechanism in annual tranches of € 120 million over the period running from 1 May 2004 to 30 April 2009, inclusive.

2. In accordance with Article 5 of Protocol 38a, a total of € 31,320,000 shall be made available to the Republic of Portugal over the period referred to in Paragraph 1.

3. In accordance with Article 8 of Protocol 38a, the management costs of the EEA Financial Mechanism shall be covered by the amounts referred to above. Further provisions to this effect are set out in the Rules and Procedures.

4. In accordance with Article 6 of Protocol 38a, a review will be carried out in November 2006 and again in November 2008 with a view to reallocating any noncommitted available funds for high priority projects from any Beneficiary State.

–  –  –

1. The EFTA States shall make funds available in support of eligible projects proposed by the Republic of Portugal and agreed on by the Financial Mechanism within the priority sectors listed in Article 6 of this MoU.

2. The Beneficiary State shall assure the full co-financing of projects that benefit from support from the EEA Financial Mechanism.

3. The EEA Financial Mechanism Committee shall manage the EEA Financial Mechanism and take decisions on the granting of financial assistance.

4. The Committee shall be assisted by the Financial Mechanism Office (hereinafter referred to as the “FMO”). The FMO shall be responsible for the day-today operations of the EEA Financial Mechanism and shall serve as a contact point.





5. The Republic of Portugal has authorized the Ministry of Towns, Local Administration, Housing and Regional Development (Ministério das Cidades Administração Local, Habitação e Desenvolvimento Regional (MCALHDR)) to act on its behalf as its national focal point. It shall have overall responsibility for the management of the EEA Financial Mechanism’s activities in the Republic of Portugal, including financial control and audit and serve as a contact point. Its managerial setup is contained in Annex A.

6. The MCALHDR shall be responsible and accountable for the identification, planning, implementation and monitoring of projects as well as for the use of funds under the EEA Financial Mechanism in accordance with the Rules and Procedures. It shall report on these activities to the FMO. Any irregularities shall be reported to the FMO without delay. The Tribunal de Contas of Portugal carries out independent control activities.

7. As a general rule, the gathering of project applications shall be carried out by open calls for proposals.

8. The MCALHDR shall ensure that the project promoters are fully committed and equipped to ensure successful project implementation.

–  –  –

1. In order to ensure the effective implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism, the Parties agree to hold annual meetings between the Financial Mechanism Committee and the Focal Point. The Focal Point shall at the meeting

present an annual report, which shall amongst other things address:

• the progress made towards the achievement of the overall objective of the EEA Financial Mechanism,

• the progress of project identification in the Beneficiary State,

• the reporting of ongoing project implementation against established criteria,

• financial progress pertaining to commitments and disbursements,

• fields of intervention and measures for the following year.

2. The MCALHDR shall organise the meetings, in cooperation with the FMO.

The Commission of the European Communities may be invited to observe the meetings.

3. The minutes of the meetings shall be drafted by the MCALHDR.

4. The first meeting shall be held no later than one year after the entry into force of this MoU.

–  –  –

1. In accordance with Article 3 of Protocol 38a, grants shall be available for

projects in the following priority sectors:

(a) Protection of the environment, including the human environment, through, inter alia, reduction of pollution and promotion of renewable energy;

(b) Promotion of sustainable development through improved resource use and management;

(c) Conservation of European cultural heritage, including public transport, and urban renewal;

(d) Human resource development through, inter alia, promotion of education and training, strengthening of administrative or public service capacities of local government or its institutions as well as the democratic processes, which support it;

(e) Health and childcare.

2. Academic research may be eligible for funding in so far as it is targeted at one or more of the priority sectors.

–  –  –

1. With a view to ensuring effective use of the EEA Financial Mechanism funding and without prejudice to Article 6 above, particular attention shall be given to the fields of intervention outlined in the programming framework in Annex B to this MoU.

2. Annex B shall be subject to review in the annual meetings referred to in Article 5 above.

–  –  –

1. In accordance with the Priority Sectors referred to in Article 6 and with particular attention given to the fields of intervention outlined in the Programming Framework referred to in Article 7, the Parties have agreed to establish, within the overall amount referred to in Article 3, the Specific Forms of Grant Assistance listed in Annex C.

2. The Parties shall conclude Grant Agreements laying down the terms and conditions of each grant commitment.

3. Annex C shall be subject to review in the annual meetings referred to in Article 5 above.

–  –  –

The EEA Financial Mechanism Committee, the EFTA Board of Auditors and their representatives have the right to carry out any technical or financial mission or review they consider necessary to follow the planning, implementation and monitoring of projects as well as the use of funds. The Republic of Portugal shall provide all necessary assistance, information and documentation.

–  –  –

All projects submitted to the EEA Financial Mechanism shall be consistent with the Republic of Portugal’s national priorities and relevant arrangements with the European Union.

–  –  –

1. The implementation of this MoU shall in all aspects be governed by the Rules and Procedures of the EEA Financial Mechanism and subsequent amendments thereof.

2. The Parties agree to apply the highest degree of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism, as well as objectives and principles of good governance, sustainable development and gender equality.

–  –  –

This MoU shall enter into force on the day of signature.

******** The present Memorandum of Understanding is signed in four originals in the English language Done in Brussels on 3 February 2005,

–  –  –

The Ministry of Towns, Local Administration, Housing and Regional Development fulfils the tasks of the National Focal Point. The National Focal Point has the overall responsibility for the management and coordination of the EEA Financial Mechanism’s activities in Portugal, including the overall responsibility for the use of funds, financial control and audit.

Additionally, its responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

• call for, collect, identify and select proposals to be forwarded to the EEA Financial Mechanism

• ensure proper implementation and monitoring of projects

• ensure regular reporting to the Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) on the implementation of projects financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism, as well as to immediately report any irregularities

• organise annual meetings with the Financial Mechanism Committee

• ensure information and publicity about available funds and inform the general public about the projects implemented under the EEA Financial Mechanism

• ensure that project promoters are fully committed and equipped to successfully implement projects

• ensures efficient and correct use of available funds

• ensure complete and sufficient audit trails in all engaged institutions

• ensure effective financial control and audits of approved projects

• store all documents connected with projects realised within the EEA Financial Mechanism for 10 years after the completion of projects Further arrangements regarding the National Focal Point, such as designation of a unit responsible for the management and implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanisms within the Ministry, shall be elaborated by the Ministry in co-operation with the FMO, and approved by the latter, prior to receiving or calling for any project proposals.

Auditing arranged by the National Focal Point1.1.1.1

The National Focal Point will carry out continuous auditing of approved projects as well as spot checks. The National Focal Point’s obligations regarding audit also

include:

• organising the auditing of the management and control systems of the administration and execute project audits on a sample basis

• presenting to the FMO an annual audit plan once a year

• compiling and submitting to the FMO a report summarising the outcome of audits conducted over the reporting period, in particular any irregularities detected

• reporting to the FMO without delay any found and/or suspected cases of fraud and irregularity as well as all measures related thereto taken by competent authorities The Tribunal de Contas of Portugal executes independent control. The Tribunal de Contas is independent of the National Focal Point and Paying Authority.

The Focal Point has the duty to provide, in accordance with Article 6.2 of the Rules and Procedures, the FMO with copies of any reports made by the Tribunal de Contas, the National Focal Point, Intermediate Bodies, or any agency tasked with auditing the implementation of the Financial Mechanism, about projects or other activities related to the Financial Mechanism.

Financial Flow (Paying Authority) The Direcção Geral do Desenvolvimento Regional (DGDR) functions as the Paying

Authority. Its responsibilities are, among others, to:



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