Press release | Date: 11/06/2021 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The annual status report for the EEA and Norway Grants for 2020 is now available. It shows that 1 600 projects are currently under way. Norwegian actors participate as partners in over 40 % of the projects.
‘This report shows that the EEA and Norway Grants are continuing to help to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe. It is very positive that Norwegian researchers, businesses, NGOs and municipalities from all over the country are participating in projects under the Grants scheme. The Grants are thus of value to both Norway and the beneficiary states, and help to strengthen our relations with these 15 countries,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
So far in the current funding period, around 41 % of the projects have a Norwegian partner, and these come from all of Norway’s counties. Oslo tops the list (with 460 projects), followed by Trøndelag (125 projects) and Vestland county (118 projects). A total of 18 Norwegian public agencies and institutions are also involved and work to ensure the quality of the cooperation and establish links between Norwegian and foreign partners in different fields, such as business development and innovation (Innovation Norway), research (Research Council of Norway), the environment (Norwegian Environment Agency), judicial cooperation (Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Norwegian Correctional Service, Norwegian Courts Administration and National Police Directorate) and culture (Arts Council Norway and Directorate for Cultural Heritage).
In the current funding period, projects can receive funding until 2024. Support is being provided for projects in the areas of innovation and research, poverty reduction and social inclusion, the environment and climate change, culture, democracy and the rule of law, migration and judicial cooperation.
Sustainability and the environment
The EEA and Norway Grants serve to strengthen the efforts of the beneficiary states to achieve the SDGs. In addition, the Grants support the implementation of the European Green Deal. Approximately NOK 4.5 billion has been allocated to projects in the areas of renewable energy, climate change and the environment over the seven-year period.
The Norwegian roofing company Søran AS, based in Viken, is cooperating with the Estonian company Roofit.solar to develop roofing for houses with integrated solar panels. The aim is to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 200 kilotons, which is equivalent to the emissions from approximately 61 000 cars.
Access to potable water in the Greek islands is limited. It is possible to convert salt water to fresh water through a process called desalination. However, salt water that contains a high level of pollution must be avoided. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim is currently cooperating with the Greek water resource management company Emvis to monitor changes in the ocean, such as harmful algal blooms. In the long term, the aim is to enhance the desalination process, improve water quality and reduce the cost of drinking water.
Support for civil society
The status report for 2020 shows that so far over 580 000 people are involved in projects organised by civil society organisations in 14 countries. In several of these countries, the EEA and Norway Grants are the most important source of funding. Priority is given to areas such as democracy, social inclusion and active citizenship. The provision of funding to civil society organisations is always independent of the authorities of beneficiary states. A number of the projects are being carried out in cooperation with Norwegian partners.
In Bulgaria, medical students with a Roma background are receiving mentoring and economic support to help them complete their studies. During the Covid-19 pandemic, these students have helped to disseminate information about infection control in areas with large Roma populations.
‘The Covid-19 pandemic is a reminder that we are dependent on cooperation and partnership across national borders to deal with common challenges and improve people’s daily lives. The EEA and Norway Grants are an important tool that will deliver many valuable results in the coming years,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Support for vulnerable groups, such as the Roma people, unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors and people with disabilities, is a priority in many programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants.
The regional funds
In addition to thematic programmes in each beneficiary state, the EEA and Norway Grants also provide funding for cooperation across national borders, under the Fund for Youth Employment and the Fund for Regional Cooperation. By the end of 2020, over 3 200 young people had received assistance to start educational or vocational training programmes, 3 600 had participated in organised activities and 2 500 had received support to apply for a job. In April 2020, 19 projects received funding under the Fund for Regional Cooperation. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the start of a number of projects.
Agreement reached with all beneficiary states
In 2020, MoUs on the EEA and Norway Grants were signed with Hungary, the last of the 15 beneficiary states to sign such agreements. Implementation is contingent on the donor states and Hungary reaching agreement on a fund operator that is independent of the Hungarian authorities. This is a requirement for the disbursement of funds to Hungary under the Grants scheme.
Facts about the EEA and Norway Grants
Under the EEA Agreement, Norway is part of the European internal market.
The 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 states. Norway provides over 97 % of this funding; the remainder is provided by Iceland and Liechtenstein.