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Frontpage News 2016 Strengthened cooperation with Bulgaria in the judicial and business sectors

MoU signing Bulgaria December 2016
More than EUR 210 million has been allocated to justice and migration, the business sector, energy and enhanced Roma inclusion. Ambassador Tove Bruvik Westberg signed on behalf of Norway. Photo credit: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Strengthened cooperation with Bulgaria in the judicial and business sectors

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have signed new Memoranda of Understanding with Bulgaria on a number of new programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021.

Justice and migration, the business sector, energy and enhanced Roma inclusion are priority areas of cooperation. More than EUR 210 million has been allocated to a total of ten funds and programmes in Bulgaria through the EEA and Norway Grants.

Bulgaria MoU EEA Grants 2014-2021 (in force as of 10 December 2016)

Bulgaria MoU Norway Grants 2014-2021 (in force as of 10 December 2016)

Working together

"It is a pleasure being able to sign this Memorandum with Bulgaria after swift and successful negotiations. We have reached a good conclusion and I am certain that our cooperation within this framework will be mutually beneficial. Iceland particularly welcomes the possibility to cooperate with Bulgaria on increased use of renewable energy," says Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lilja Alfredsdottir. 

‘Under these agreements, we are strengthening cooperation between Norway and Bulgaria in a number of important sectors,’ says Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Elisabeth Vik Aspaker.

Of the total amount, EUR 56.5 million has been designated for programmes within the business and energy sectors, opening up excellent opportunities for companies in the three donor countries to become project partners.   

‘It is important for the Government that the EEA and Norway Grants are used to promote economic growth and development in Europe, as well as to help us fulfil our shared responsibilities for mitigating climate change. These agreements are designed to help us do both,’ says Minister Aspaker.

Promoting Roma inclusion

At the same time, efforts to fight poverty and to promote local development will continue, with special emphasis on improving living conditions for the Roma population. EUR 35 million has been allocated for job creation and to improve education and health care in poor areas. The agreements also stipulate that at least 10% of the funding for programmes in the justice and cultural sectors is earmarked for projects designed to address the needs of the Roma.

15385290_1774927196092723_1914621851410060487_o Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway today signed new Memoranda of Understanding with Bulgaria. Photo credit: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A total of eight public agencies and institutions from the donor countries will be involved in the implementation of the programmes in Bulgaria, and will be responsible for recruiting project partners from the three donor countries.

‘The agreements with Bulgaria are an open invitation to Norwegian actors that would like to participate in creating a green, competitive and inclusive Europe,’ says Minister Aspaker.

In line with donor priorities, a total of EUR 51.5 million has been allocated through the Norway Grants to programmes within the police and justice sector. This is the first time Norway and Bulgaria are cooperating in a programme for asylum and migration, with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration as the Norwegian partner. The agreements also cover cooperation in the fields of judicial reform, correctional services, and efforts to combat organised crime and police corruption. 

Overview of programmes

Programme Partner(s) Allocation   (EUR million)
Business Development, Innovation and SMEs Innovation Norway (Fund Operator) 28.5
Social Dialogue – Decent Work Innovation Norway (Fund Operator) 0.95
Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Enhanced Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) 35.0
Environment Protection and Climate Change Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) 13.0
Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Energy Security

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE)

National Energy Authority (OS)

28.0
Cultural Entrepreneurship, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Exchange Arts Council Norway (ACN) 10.0
Civil Society   15.5
Judicial Reforms and Correctional Services

Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Services (KDI)

International Partner Organisation: Council of Europe (CoE) 

30.0 
Police Cooperation and Migration Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) 21.5
Bilateral Funds   4.2
Reserve   5.0

About the EEA and Norway Grants

Under the EEA Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are part of the European internal market. The EEA Agreement sets out the common goal of working together to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen cooperation between European countries. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to this through the EEA and Norway Grants. For the period 2014-2021, a total contribution of EUR 2.8 billion has been agreed.

Keep an eye on the website for updates on the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021.