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EEA and Norway Grants support EU Cohesion Policy in making Europe stronger

The EEA and Norway Grants are the financial contributions from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to European solidarity and cohesion. In the programming period 2014-2021, EUR 2.8 billion has been made available for projects, reinforcing EU investments in central and southern Europe.

  • Posted on: 11.05.2018
  • Norway

Website: Link

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway cooperate closely with the EU and are members of the single market through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. This includes a shared goal to reduce social and economic disparities across the EEA.

The countries contribute to this through the EEA and Norway Grants. Like the EU Cohesion Fund, the Grants support EU Member States with a gross national income per capita below 90 % of the EU average. Their priorities reflect those of the EU: a green, competitive and inclusive Europe. 

In line with the EU’s priorities for the current funding period, the EEA/Norway grants have recently set up regional funds to tackle youth unemployment and promote cross-border cooperation.

Maximising the impact

At the beginning of the programming period, each beneficiary country proposes priorities for investment in a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with the donor countries. The European Commission is consulted during negotiations to avoid duplication and to ensure funding is targeted where it will have the greatest impact. Programmes implemented under the Grants must comply with EU rules as well as standards relating to human rights, good governance, sustainable development and gender equality. 

EU and EEA funds are complementary, and usually managed by the same Managing Authority at the national level. One can support the other, for example, by helping a pilot project to grow or funding a different aspect of the same project. The Grants also finance projects where EU or national funding is difficult to find, to avoid duplication. Both EU and EEA funds are successful in leveraging other sources of public and private financing. 

A main aim of the Grants is to strengthen bilateral relations between Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and the beneficiary countries. Their priorities respond to shared European challenges, whereby the donor and beneficiary countries have both the expertise and interest in working together. Funds are set aside to facilitate and support bilateral partnerships between public institutions, private companies, NGOs and research institutions at all levels. Thousands of projects are supported in each programming period, including research collaborations, SME joint projects or peer-to-peer exchanges and training for staff.

Supporting democracy

A distinctive feature of the EEA Grants is that a minimum of 10 % of the funding goes directly to civil society organisations in each beneficiary country. The aim is to develop the long-term sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector in promoting democratic participation, active citizenship and human rights. 

The Council of Europe, the OECD and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency are partners on several programmes and projects, contributing their expertise on combating discrimination, social inclusion, economic development and good governance. Empowering vulnerable groups and minorities such as the Roma population is a specific concern for the Grants in many of the beneficiary countries.

EEA and Norway Grants priority sectors 2014-2021

  • Innovation, research, education and competitiveness
  • Social inclusion, youth employment and poverty reduction
  • Environment, energy, climate change and low-carbon economy
  • Culture, civil society, good governance and fundamental rights
  • Justice and home affairs

Current calls:

5 ongoing calls for proposal

Find out more on www.eeagrants.com

Panorama 64: Cohesion Policy: 30 years investing in the future of European Regions


S&T field/scope: General | Affilation and Pillar: Research and innovation community | Geographical focus: Danube Region, EU Member States

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