Start-up of negotiations on a new funding period for the EEA and Norway Grants

‘The EEA and Norway Grants scheme is not just an important contribution to economic and social development in the 15 beneficiary states. It also provides us with good opportunities to develop our bilateral cooperation with these countries,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The negotiations are due to begin soon. Portugal, the current President of the Council of the EU, has indicated that the first round of negotiations could take place in June. Norway has appointed a delegation headed by Norway’s Ambassador to the EU, Rolf Einar Fife.

‘The EEA and Norway Grants constitute voluntary contributions intended to help reduce economic and social disparities in the EEA. Norway considers it important for this to remain the basis for contributions in the new funding period as well. The Grants are to be targeted towards areas where we have common interests and build on experience from earlier periods, as well as improve systems where this is possible and will be beneficial. The objectives of the European Green Deal are of strategic importance both to the EU and to Norway, and there will be increased focus on contributions that help to meet these objectives in the next funding period as well,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

‘It is vital for Norway that the EEA and Norway Grants are based on fundamental values such as democracy, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. Norway will demand that fundamental requirements regarding the rule of law and democracy are set out in the text of the agreement with the EU,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

‘Support for civil society has been an important component of the scheme up to now. We intend to increase the proportion of funding allocated for this purpose in the next period,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reviews the results of the EEA and Norway Grants on an annual basis. The 2020 status report has just been published. It shows that 1 600 projects are currently under way. Norwegian actors participate as partners in almost half of these projects.

Parallel negotiations will be conducted on tariff quotas and other refinements to the trade regime for fish and marine products to the EU. An agreement on a new funding period for the EEA and Norway Grants is contingent on a satisfactory agreement on market access for fish and marine products.

Facts:

  • Under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme, the EEA member states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein contribute to the reduction of social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen cooperation between European countries
  • 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.