Press release | Date: 2016-12-09 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norway and Bulgaria have signed agreements on a number of new programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants. Justice and migration, the business sector, energy and enhanced Roma inclusion are priority areas for cooperation.
'Under these agreements, we are strengthening cooperation between Norway and Bulgaria in a number of important sectors,' said Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Elisabeth Vik Aspaker.
More than EUR 210 million has been allocated for ten funds and programmes.
Of the total amount, EUR 51.5 million has been allocated for programmes in the police and justice sector. This is the first time Norway and Bulgaria are cooperating in a programme for asylum and migration, with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration as the Norwegian partner. The agreements also cover cooperation in the fields of judicial reform, correctional services, and efforts to combat organised crime and police corruption.
'It is important for the Government that the EEA and Norway Grants are used to promote economic growth and development in Europe, as well as to help us fulfil our shared responsibilities for mitigating climate change. These agreements are designed to help us do both,' said Ms Aspaker.
Ms Aspaker pointed out that EUR 56.5 million has been designated for programmes within the business and energy sectors, opening up excellent opportunities for Norwegian companies to become project partners.
At the same time, efforts to fight poverty and to promote local development will continue, with special emphasis on improving living conditions for the Roma population. EUR 35 million has been allocated for job creation and to improve education and health care in poor areas. The agreements also stipulate that at least ten % of the funding for programmes in the justice and cultural sectors is earmarked for projects designed to address the needs of the Roma.
A total of seven Norwegian agencies will be involved in implementing the programmes in Bulgaria and are responsible for recruiting Norwegian project partners: Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Environment Agency, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, Arts Council Norway, the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Services and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
'The agreements with Bulgaria are an open invitation to Norwegian actors that would like to participate in creating a green, competitive and inclusive Europe,' Ms Aspaker said.
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 to strengthen cooperation between European countries.
- Norway contributes to this through the EEA and Norway Grants.
- EUR 2.8 billion will be available under the grant scheme for the period 2014-2021, to be distributed among 15 beneficiary countries.
- Norway provides some 98 % of this funding; the remainder is provided by Iceland and Liechtenstein.
See the fact sheet for an overview of the programmes that are to be implemented in Bulgaria.