Analyse des Programmansatzes im EWR/Norwegischen Finanzmechanismus 2009-2014
“Kann die Schweiz von Norwegen lernen? Analyse des Programmansatzer im EEA/Norwegischen Finanzmechanismus 2009/14 und in der neuen EU Kohäsionspolitik 2014 – 2020“
The paper at hand has been written on behalf of the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs in the context of Dr. Urs Heierli’s course “Practical Project Development Aid” at the University of St. Gallen. It deals with European cohesion policies of two states: Switzerland and Norway. Although these countries are not members of the European Union, they both contribute to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU.
In the case of Norway, support is given through two financial mechanisms: The European Economic Area [EEA] grants and the Norway grants. For the period 2009-2014, a new feature has been introduced: the so-called programme approach. It represents a move away from funding project-by-project to funding through programmes. Furthermore, it delegates more responsibility to the beneficiary states. Switzerland, on the contrary, still follows a project approach.
The goal of this paper was to evaluate the newly introduced programme approach through the criteria of efficiency, effectiveness, manageability, relevance, incentives and feasibility within the political context of Switzerland. In doing so, both strengths and weaknesses of the programme approach have been be identified. Furthermore, the paper aimed to answer the question whether Switzerland can learn from Norway and if so, in which way. It was shown that with regard to the workload for the administration in the donor state as well as concerning the duration of procedures, Norway’s programme approach holds important advantages that could be beneficial for Switzerland, too. However, as the programme approach hands over responsibilities and control functions to the beneficiary states, the quality of programmes and projects might be affected negatively. So far, the quality of Switzerland’s measures to reduce disparities in the EU has been very high. It is crucial to hold on to this high quality also in the future, even though this might involve a high workload for the Swiss administration.
This paper concludes that although some aspects of Norway’s programme approach would be beneficial for Switzerland, it is not recommendable to introduce every feature of the programme approach. In view of the political environment in Switzerland, this would probably not be possible, either.