EEA and Norway Grants Reducing disparities Strengthening relations Bjarni Vestmann, Head of Administration, Communication and Donor Relations September 2014
Who we are Financial Mechanism Office • Manages the EEA and Norway Grants on behalf of the donors (the Financial Mechanisms) • Administratively part of EFTA • Reports to the Foreign Ministries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway • Oversees implementation in 16 beneficiary countries
EEA Agreement Article 115 …With a view to promoting a continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relations between the Contracting Parties agree on the need to reduce the economic and social disparities between their regions…
Why we do it The 3 donor countries cooperate closely with the EU through the EEA Agreement • We are partners in the internal market • We share European values, such as democracy and tolerance • We are helping to address the economic, political and social challenges facing Europe • Strengthen relations between donor and beneficiary states Contribution---- Solidarity ---- Engagement
What we do Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to • reducing economic and social disparities • strengthening bilateral relations • …..with 16 beneficiary • countries in central • and southern Europe
€1.8 billion 2009-2014 Target specific needs Support capacity building Exchange skills and knowledge 16 beneficiary countries 150 programmes
Economic disparities GDP per person (PPS) EU-28=100 (2012) Norway 195 Iceland 112 … Latvia 62 Romania 49 Bulgaria 47
Social disparities Human development UNDP Index – world ranking (2014) Norway 1 • Iceland 13 Liechtenstein 18 Slovenia 25 Poland 35 Bulgaria 58
Mutual benefits • Creates stronger bonds which increase opportunities for trade and investment • Cements ties which will ensure beyond the funding at political, institutional, cultural and educational level • Strengthens cooperation to serve in the fight against crime • …..works to the benefit of all
GREEN FOCUS Around 1/3 to environment and climate change • Renewable energy • Energy efficiency • Climate change • Green innovation • Research and innovation • Biodiversity Green industry innovation is a new sector. €120 million to business development in cooperation with Norwegian SMEs. BG, EE, HU, LV, LT, RO, SK, PL.
CIVILSOCIETY NGO funds in all 16 countries - €158 million • Democracy and good governance • Human rights • Anti-discrimination • Social justice • Sustainable development Improving the situation for the Roma population is a focus of NGO funds in a number of countries.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE Research cooperation and educational exchange • Research cooperation • Application of research • Educational cooperation • Student mobility • Staff mobility Bilateral cooperation is key to the programmes on research and education.
SOCIALWELFARE Protecting and assisting vulnerable groups • Improve capacity • Improve systems • Equal access to health • Protecting vulnerable groups Improved care for children, youth and various vulnerable groups is important in many programmes and countries.
JUSTICEAND HOME AFFAIRS Fighting crime and improving the judiciary system • Police cooperation • Access to justice • Efficient judiciary • Better prisons • Fight human trafficking Fighting cross-border and organised crime, and improving correctional services, including non-custodial sanctions
CULTURE AND DIVERSITY Protecting heritage and promoting cultural dialogue • Restore cultural heritage • Improve access to culture • Preserve traditional skills • Promote cultural diversity • Cooperation and dialogue Encouraging cooperation and dialogue between cultural institutions is an important aspect of the culture programmes.
Characteristics • Accessible funding • Complements EU funds • Flexible • Popular • Visible