Grants 2009-2014 launched in Lithuania
A two-day event was held on 25 and 26 September in Vilnius to launch the new round of the EEA and Norway Grants in Lithuania. The event attracted a large number of participants, introducing the opportunities under the grant schemes to the Lithuanian public.
The first evening of the launch celebrated the achievements of the Grants to date, their contribution to the bilateral relationships between Lithuania and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and the opportunities under the newly launched schemes. The Norwegian Embassy in Vilnius and the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance jointly hosted the launch event.
Gathering at the Vilnius Small Theatre were representatives of the Lithuanian Parliament, ministries, local authorities, as well as cultural and non-governmental organisations. Several Norwegian partner organisations, including Innovation Norway, the Directorate for Nature Management, and the Association of Local and Regional Authorities, also took part. These donor programme partners will play a significant role, both strategically in programme planning, as well as in programme implementation and facilitation of project partnerships.
Building stronger bilateral ties
In their introductions, Ambassador of Norway, Leif Arne Ulland, and Lithuanian Minister of Finance, Ingrida Šimonytë, focused on the significant results achieved to date, possibilities to build strong and long-term bilateral partnerships, and valuable opportunities provided by the EEA and Norway Grants in Lithuania.
"The results in the health and children sector and other areas are impressive. Facilities for heart operations on children, cancer research, thirteen children’s homes renovated, thirty school sports facilities refurbished," said Mr Ulland.
Representing the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director General Elisabeth Walaas spoke about the relationship between Norway and the European Union, noting the special importance of the EEA agreement and the important contribution made by the EEA and Norway Grants across Europe. Speaking on behalf of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister Evaldas Ignatavièius emphasised the close cooperation enjoyed by Norway and Lithuania in a variety of areas, and thanked for the continued Norwegian support.
Concluding the evening, guests were invited to see one of the latest productions of the Vilnius Small Theatre, Henrik Ibsen’s The Vikings at Helgeland - another sign that Norwegian culture enjoys great popularity and interest in Lithuania.
New programmes introduced
The second day of the launch event was dedicated to introducing the new programmes funded by the EEA and Norway Grants in current 2009-2014 funding period to potential applicants. The event generated a lot of attention and was well attended. The Lithuanian National Focal Point and Programme Operators presented the broad lines of the new programmes, detailing the opportunities the programmes provide in various sectors. As the implementation of individual programmes moves forward, further information on specific programmes will be provided at additional information and training events.
For the period 2009-2014, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have allocated a total of €84 million to a wide range of programmes in Lithuania. The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Arts Council Norway will be partnering with Lithuanian beneficiaries in implementing the two programmes.
Key areas of support include judicial reform, fighting cross-border and organised crime, promoting green industry innovation and entrepreneurship, halting the loss of biodiversity and protecting ecosystems. Protection of cultural and natural heritage and promotion of diversity in culture and arts are also among the key programme areas, with some €10 million earmarked for various projects. In total, 11 Norwegian public bodies are partners in the implementation of various programmes.
Photo: Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Elisabeth Walaas, and Ambassador of Norway, Leif Arne Ulland, at the launch
Credit: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs