Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway sign EEA cohesion deals for Bulgaria and Romania
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) today (25 October 2007) on the use of funds to be made available to Bulgaria and Romania under the EEA Financial Mechanism, following their entry into the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) earlier this year.
Through the EEA Financial Mechanism, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are already providing close to €1.2 billion in cohesion support over a five-year period until April 2009 to the ten countries that joined the EU in 2004 and to Greece, Portugal and Spain. Following the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the EU and the EEA, the three donor states of the EEA Financial Mechanism will make available an additional €21.5 million to Bulgaria and €50.5 million to Romania.
At a ceremony held at the Residence of the Norwegian Ambassador to the EU, Oda Helen Sletnes, in Brussels, the three donor states signed the MoUs in the presence of the representatives of Bulgaria, Romania and the European Commission.
Sletnes signed the MoUs on behalf of Norway, while Stefan Haukur Johannesson, Ambassador of Iceland to the EU, signed on behalf of Iceland and Georges Baur, Deputy of Liechtenstein’s Mission to the EU, signed on behalf of Liechtenstein.
The two new beneficiary states of the EEA Financial Mechanism were represented by Ambassador and Deputy Head of Mission at the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU Mario Milouchev, and Lazar Comanescu, Ambassador at the Permanent Representation of Romania to the EU. Matthias Brinkmann, Head of Unit at DG RELEX, represented the European Commission. The MoUs are due be signed by Bulgaria and Romania shortly.
Sletnes also signed the MoU for the Norwegian cooperation programme with Bulgaria, which will make available an additional €20 million until April 2009. The MoU for the Norwegian cooperation programme with Romania, with a total value of €48 million, is expected to be signed in connection with a launch event for the cooperation programmes in Oslo, Norway, on 7 November.