EU, Poland and Norway in high-level regional policy talks
As part of European Commissioner Danuta Hubner’s three-day visit to Norway in late June, high-level representatives from the European Commission, Poland and Norway met on June 29 for policy discussions on regional development aboard the M/S Polarlys on its scenic route through the fjords of the Lofoten archipelago in Northern Norway.
The seminar included speeches by Commissioner Hübner, Norwegian Minister for Local Government and Regional Development Åslaug Haga and State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Liv Monica Stubholt, who all stressed the importance of European cooperation within the field of regional development to allow experience, knowledge and know-how flow as freely as possible. Another common theme was the importance of combining national policies with a bottom-up approach that duly recognises the crucial role played by civil society in local and regional development.
Against this political background, expert officials from the European Commission, Poland and Norway discussed regional development policies and assessed possibilities for increased cooperation through stronger coordination between EU funding schemes, such as the Structural Funds, and Norway. Although not an EU-member, Norway makes a considerable contribution to European cohesion through the Norway Grants and EEA Grants, which represent its funding to reduce social and economic disparities in the European Economic Area.
The parties agreed to build on the results from this high-level seminar and continue discussions on key policy issues to facilitate further coordination and cooperation.