Romania and Bulgaria to recieve 140 million in cohesion funding
Over the next two years, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will provide €140 million to projects contributing to social and economic development in Romania and Bulgaria through the EEA Financial Mechanism and bilateral Norwegian cooperation programmes which are due to be launched in November 2007.
The agreements to include Bulgaria and Romania in the European Economic Area (EEA) were signed in Brussels on 25 July this year, extending the Internal Market, with its so-called four freedoms (free movement of goods, capital, services and persons), to the three EEA EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Pending their ratification in the parliaments of all 30 EEA States, the Enlargement Agreements are being applied on a provisional basis as of 1 August 2007.
The table below shows the economic contribution from the EEA EFTA states Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to Romania and Bulgaria over a two-year period until 30 April 2009.
|Donor State||Beneficiary State|
|EEA Financial Mechanism||Romania||Bulgaria|
|Norway||€47.55 million||€20.24 million|
|Iceland||€2.44 million||€1.04 million|
|Liechtenstein||€0.51 million||€0.22 million|
|Total:||€50.5 million||€21.5 million|
|Bilateral cooperation programmes||Romania||Bulgaria|
|Norway||€48 million||€20 million|
|Total contribution||€98.5 million||€41.5 millio|
EEA Financial Mechanism
Through the existing EEA Financial Mechanism, €72 million will be made available to Romania and Bulgaria. The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) in Brussels will administer the mechanism according to the same rules and procedures that apply to the 13 existing beneficiary states of the EEA Financial Mechanism. Status: Negotiations on Memoranda of Understanding with Romania and Bulgaria have been concluded, and currently these MoUs are subject to political approval processes in the two beneficiary states and the EEA EFTA states.
Priority sectors of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Romania and Bulgaria will be as follows:
- Protection of the environment, including the human environment, through, inter alia, reduction of pollution and promotion of renewable energy;
- Human resource development through, inter alia, promotion of education and training, strengthening of administrative or public service capacities of local government or its institutions as well as the democratic processes, which support it;
- Health and childcare;
- Conservation of European cultural heritage, including public transport, and urban renewal.
A limited number of focus areas will be stipulated for each priority sector. Further information on focus areas will be made available in connection with the launch of the EEA Financial Mechanism for Romania and Bulgaria.
Launch: The MoUs with Romania and Bulgaria for the implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism are expected to be signed during October. The launch of the EEA Financial Mechanism in both countries is planned for the first week of November in Norway and mid-November in Romania and Bulgaria. Further information on the dates will be made available later.
Norwegian cooperation programmes for Romania and Bulgaria
Through new, bilateral cooperation programmes €68 million will be made available by Norway to Romania and Bulgaria. The programmes, which will be administered by Norway, will contribute to economic and social development in Romania and Bulgaria and promote innovation and transfer of technology.
The cooperation programmes will be based on partnership projects between actors from Norway and the two beneficiary states. Under the cooperation programmes, actors from both beneficiary states and Norway may apply for support, and eligible applicants include actors from the private and public sector, civil society organisations and the social partners. Applicants must have a partner in the other signatory of the bilateral cooperation programme. National procurement rules apply.
Priority sectors of the Norwegian cooperation programmes in Romania and Bulgaria will be as follows:
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, including Joint Implementation projects under the Kyoto protocol, and other emissions in air and water
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy;
- Facilitating sustainable production, including certification and verification.
Additionally, implementation of Schengen requirements is a priority sector for Bulgaria.
A limited number of focus areas have been defined within each sector. Further information on focus areas will be made available in connection with the launch of the Norwegian cooperation programmes for Romania and Bulgaria.
Negotiations on Memoranda of Understanding for the programmes have been concluded, and currently these MoUs are subject to political approval processes in the two beneficiary states and in Norway. The MoUs are expected to be signed in late October or early November.
Innovation Norway will administer the cooperation programmes on behalf of Norway. Innovation Norway is currently working to establish regulations and application procedures for the implementation of the cooperation programmes in order to have this finished in time for the launches. A dedicated website for the Norwegian bilateral programmes is being developed in order to provide easily accessible information about the Norwegian bilateral programmes.
Launch: As with the EEA Financial Mechanism, the launch of the Norwegian bilateral programmes is planned during the first week of November in Norway and in the following week in Romania and Bulgaria. Innovation Norway is organising the launch seminars in Norway, Bulgaria and Romania.