The national focal points provided the link between the Council of Europe Transversal Programme and the actors and mechanisms that are responsible for gender equality at national level : that is from government, parliament, local and regional authorities, civil society and the private sector. Their role was to promote international standards at national level with a view to bridging the gap between legal and real equality in our member states. However, as the terms of reference of the GEC now include the reimbursement of the costs of the representatives of the 47 member states, the NFP network was removed as a part of the Programme with effect from January 2016.