Historical archive

Norway and Bulgaria strengthen cooperation on fight against human trafficking

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Funds from the EEA and Norway Grants will be used in the fight against organised crime and human trafficking in Bulgaria.

Funds from the EEA and Norway Grants will be used in the fight against organised crime and human trafficking in Bulgaria.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre commented, “The fight against human trafficking and organised crime can only be won through international cooperation. These criminal bands are mobile and respect no boundaries. I am pleased that Bulgaria and Norway have agreed to give priority to this issue in connection with the EEA and Norway Grants.”

The Norwegian Police Directorate is involved in this cooperation. Funding of around NOK 50 million will be made available through the Grants. This will be used for strengthening border control in Bulgaria both on land and at sea, and cooperation between the police in the Schengen area will also be enhanced.

In addition, priority will be given to assistance to victims of human trafficking and violence in close relationships. A total of NOK 140 million will be used to fund projects in the justice and home affairs sector. The Council of Europe will be an important partner in this field.

The EEA and Norway Grants are intended to help to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe, and are provided in a spirit of solidarity by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Norway provides 97% of the funds. Under the agreement signed in Sofia today, Bulgaria will receive funding of around NOK 1 billion for the period up to 2014.

In addition to the justice and home affairs sector, Norwegian and Bulgarian partners will cooperate on a number of other areas. More than NOK 100 million has been earmarked for developing new green companies. Bulgaria’s Roma population is also a priority. The aim is that 10% of the EEA and Norway Grants will be used to improve their situation.

“The Roma are probably the most stigmatised group in Europe today. Two key factors for social inclusion are education and the opportunity to keep their culture alive. The Council of Europe will be an important partner in this respect, and will help to ensure that the EEA and Norway Grants meet these targets in Bulgaria,” said Mr Støre.

The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities has been engaged to strengthen competence and capacity in local and regional administration. One of the projects addresses challenges and opportunities in Bulgaria’s border areas. The Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes will share its experience in this connection.

Other Norwegian partners are: the Climate and Pollution Agency, the Directorate for Nature Management, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, Innovation Norway, and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education.

Press contact: Senior Adviser Christian Grotnes Halvorsen, +47 481 53 748