A Polish-Norwegian \"silent revolution\"
A large conference was held in Warsaw on 3 December, summing up some of the results so far from the implementation of the EEA and Norway Grants in Poland. The Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elisabeth Walaas, characterised the development of relations between the two countries as a "silent revolution".
With only five months left of the five-year contribution of the EEA and Norway Grants, a conference was held at the SAS Radisson Hotel in Warsaw on 3 December in order to look at the achieved results so far on both aggregate and project level. Poland receives almost half of the funding, close to €560 million, and will have around 400 projects running next year.
Projects and results within areas such as Schengen, protection of the environment, conservation of cultural heritage and the NGO sector were presented. A successful outcome and good results for each project are important. However, the contacts and relationships established between the donor states and Poland might be even more important in the long term.
The Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elisabeth Walaas, underscored the tremendous positive effect the EEA and Norway Grants have had on the bilateral relations between Norway and Poland, with contacts flourishing. She characterised the developments as no less than a "silent revolution".
The Polish Minister of Regional Affairs, Elzbieta Bieñkowska, seemed to agree and thanked both the donor states and the Financial Mechanism Office for their important contribution and good cooperation throughout the period. The Minister emphasised the importance of the EEA and Norway Grants, being a supplement to EU funding and supporting a high number of projects on the local and regional level.
Matúš Minárik of the Financial Mechanism Office informed the audience that somewhere between 50 and 80 projects are now being implemented in partnership between Polish and Norwegian actors, by far the highest number in any beneficiary state.