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Frontpage News 2004 Baltic duo sign EEA funds deal with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Baltic duo sign EEA funds deal with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Estonia and Latvia signed o­n 2 December 2004 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the three EEA EFTA states Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway o­n the use of funds available through the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA). The MoU for the EEA Financial Mechanism, established under the EEA Enlargement Agreement, will make 10.1 million euros available in Estonia and 19.7 million euros in Latvia over a five-year period for projects in a broad range of sectors, including environmental protection, renewable energy, promotion of sustainable development, conservation of the European cultural heritage, human resources development, health and childcare.

Mr Vaino Reinart, Estonian Ambassador to the European Union, signed the MoU o­n behalf of Estonia, while Mr Eduards Stiprais, Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, signed o­n behalf of Latvia. The Ambassador of Iceland, Mr Kjartan Jóhannsson, the Ambassador of Liechtenstein, H.S.H. Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, and the Ambassador of Norway, Mr Bjørn T. Grydeland, signed o­n behalf of the EEA EFTA countries. The signing comes after Norway signed an MoU with Lativa in Riga o­n 16 November 2004 and with Estonia o­n 17 November 2004 o­n the use of funds available through the closely-related Norwegian Financial Mechanism, which was also established under the EEA Enlargement Agreement. The two mechanisms will in total make available 33.8 million euros for projects Estonia, and 53.7 million euros for projects in Latvia over the five-year period.

The EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism aim to reduce social and economic disparities within the EEA, and to enable all EEA countries to participate fully in the Internal Market.

The EEA Agreement makes the EEA EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein part of the Internal Market, which was expanded from 18 to 28 member states at the same time as the EU enlargement in May. The EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism established under the EEA Enlargement Agreement aim to reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA area.

The EEA Financial Mechanism makes funds available to the ten countries which joined the EU in May, and to Spain, Portugal and Greece. The Norwegian Financial Mechanism makes funds available to the ten new EU member states. In total, the two mechanisms make available approximately 1.17 billion euros over a five-year period to the 13 countries eligible for funding. Both mechanisms are administered by the Financial Mechanism Office in Brussels, which is affiliated to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Secretariat.