Press release | Date: 21/12/2020 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norway has signed new MoUs on the EEA and Norway Grants, in which EUR 214.6 million in funding has been allocated to Hungary. The MoUs ensure that independent funding is made available to civil society organisations, and that support for climate change measures, renewable energy, business development and innovation is strengthened. The MoUs also contain important provisions for local and regional development and the social inclusion of the Roma people.
‘After a long process of negotiation, it is positive that we have finally reached agreement on the framework for EEA and Norway Grants funding to Hungary in the current period. It is especially important to us that funding is made available to civil society and that the fund operator will be independent of the Hungarian authorities,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The MoUs were signed by Norway’s Ambassador to Hungary Trine Skymoen and Hungary’s Minister of State for EU Development Dr. Szabolcs Imre Ágostházy in Budapest.
With a total allocation of EUR 214.6 million, Hungary is the third largest beneficiary of EEA and Norway Grants funding. The MoUs now signed apply to the funding period for 2014-2021, but projects in all beneficiary countries can be carried out until the end of April 2024.
‘Negotiations with Hungary on EEA and Norway Grants funding have been challenging and taken time. Hungary is the last of 15 beneficiary countries that we have signed MoUs with, and it is positive that this cooperation with Hungary can now begin,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
A specific procedure has been decided for choosing a fund operator for civil society funding, and the MoUs contain a reference to the EU’s regulation on the protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in Member States. Agreement on independent fund operator is a condition for the transfer of EEA and Norway Grants funding during the current funding period. This applies to all EEA and Norway Grants funding, not just for civil society, and this means that no programmes can begin until the fund operator for civil society funding has been agreed upon.
Facts about the EEA and Norway Grants
Under the EEA Agreement, Norway is part of the European internal market.
The EEA Agreement sets out the common goal of working together to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen cooperation between European countries. Norway contributes to this through the EEA and Norway Grants.
EUR 2.8 billion is available under the grant scheme for the period 2014-2021, distributed among 15 beneficiary countries. Norway provides over 95 % of this funding; the remainder is provided by Iceland and Liechtenstein.