The EEA and Norway Grants
The EEA Grants and Norway Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reducing economic and social disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with 16 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics.
Why the Grants
Through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are partners in the internal market with the 28 EU member states. We also share common values and responsibility with other European countries to promote equality of opportunity, tolerance, security, environmental sustainability and a decent standard of living for all.
Ever since the establishment of the EEA Agreement in 1994, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have provided funding to reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA. Despite much progress in Europe, gaps in economic development and living standards persist. The expansions of the EU in 2004 and 2007 brought a 20% increase in the EU's population, but only a 5% increase in GDP. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, we are helping to reduce disparities. The funding is targeted on areas where there are clear needs in the beneficiary countries and that are in line with national priorities and wider European goals.
Strengthening bilateral relations is a primary objective of the EEA and Norway Grants. Strengthening ties between European countries brings mutual benefits for institutions and organisations in both the donor and beneficiary countries.
To enhance cooperation and knowledge exchange, partnerships between organisations in the donor and beneficiary countries are widely encouraged for mutual benefit and strengthening of the programme and project's quality. Funds are set aside in all beneficiary countries to support networking and foster project partnerships on initiatives of mutual interest.
What We Support and Where
The EEA Grants and Norway Grants are set up for five-year periods. For the period 2009-2014, €1.798 billion has been set aside under the Grants.
The EEA Grants are jointly financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, who contribute according to their size and economic wealth. Of the €993 million set aside for the 2009-14 period, Norway provides 95.8%, Iceland 3.0% and Liechtenstein 1.2%.
The Norway Grants are financed by Norway alone and amount to approximately €804 million in this period.
Key Areas of Support
Funding is channelled through 150 programmes in the 16 beneficiary countries. Country allocations are based on population size and GDP per capita, making Poland the largest beneficiary state, followed by Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Each beneficiary country agrees on a set of programmes with the donor countries, based on national needs and priorities and the scope for cooperation with the donor countries. All programmes must adhere to standards relating to human rights, good governance, sustainable development and gender equality.
In addition, the individual Memorandum of Understanding with each country lays down the guidelines and specifies any special concerns for individual programmes or for the grant scheme as whole. Inclusion of minorities and improving the situation of the Roma are examples of special concerns.
In the current period, environment and sustainable development is the largest sector, and includes substantial funding targeting climate change and green industry innovation. Other key areas of support are health, education, civil society, research and scholarships, justice and social dialogue.
Grants are available for non-governmental organisations, research and academic institutions and public and private sector bodies. Projects that are financed under the programmes may be implemented until 2016.
Source: The EEA and Norway Grants
Additional Information: Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water - MOEW