Agreements on funding signed with Lithuania
Norway and Lithuania have today signed agreements on the EEA and Norway Grants totalling €84 million. Environmental protection, green industry innovation, cultural heritage, civil society, and justice and home affairs feature as key areas of support.
“The EEA and Norway Grants help to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe, and this is also to Norway’s benefit,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Norwegian Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget, and Lithuanian Finance Minister, Ingrida Šimonytė, signed the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), outlining the priorities for the €84 million investment in the period leading up to 2014, during a state visit to Norway by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė.
“We can look back on many years of good neighbourly relations with Lithuania. The country has made great economic and political progress since it gained independence in 1991. With these agreements, we are stepping up cooperation between our two countries in areas of mutual interest,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Focus on Environment and Justice
Environmental protection and combating climate change is the largest priority under the new EEA and Norway Grants agreements. Almost a quarter of the funding, €19.5 million, has been earmarked for programmes promoting green industry innovation, marine and inland water management and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
Justice and home affairs will be the other large sector in this funding period. The Norway Grants will provide €18.8 million to three key areas - combating cross-border and organised crime, judicial capacity building and cooperation, and correctional services, including non-custodial sanctions.
Civil society and social partners
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will continue their support to the civil society sector by channelling €5.5 million through a fund for non-governmental organisations. There will also be new funding to promote decent work and dialogue between social partners, as well as programmes to support public health initiatives, conservation and rehabilitation of cultural heritage sites, scholarships, and children and young people at risk.
A number of Norwegian institutions will be involved in the implementation of the programmes in cooperation with their Lithuanian counterparts.
“We are very pleased to have signed the agreements, particularly because this year we are celebrating 20 years since diplomatic relations were re-established between Lithuania and Norway,” said Foreign Minister Støre.
Photo: Lithuanian Minister of Finance Ingrida Šimonytė and Norwegian Minister of Justice Knut Storberget signed memorandums of understanding today. Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in the back.