Celebrating successes of EEA and Norway Grants in Lithuania
Successful closure of the first round of the EEA and Norway Grants in Lithuania paves the way for enhanced cooperation in new funding period.
Representatives of the Lithuanian government, the President’s Office, ministries and municipalities met at the Paaislis monastery in Kaunas on 7 June at an event to mark the closure of the implementation of the EEA and Norway Grants from the period 2004-09.
The Paaislis monastery, one of the finest baroque architectural monuments in Lithuania, provided an impressive backdrop for the event. The monastery is one of the most important cultural heritage sites in Lithuania. Backed by support from the EEA Grants, dilapidated sections of the monastery have been carefully restored, creating a new exhibition and educational space.
Opening the event, H.E. Mr. Leif Arne Ulland, Ambassador of Norway to Lithuania, and Ms. Ingrida Šimonytė, Lithuanian Minister of Finance, emphasised the importance of the EEA and Norway Grants for local communities in Lithuania. The Ambassador highlighted key achievements of the grants - worth €67.3 million between 2004 and 2009. He spoke about the significant contribution they have also made towards strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. Norwegian entities were involved in eight partnership projects in the fields of health and childcare, human resource development and environmental protection.
Increased levels of support
The Ambassador also provided an overview of the shape of the future grant programmes, which, in the period up to 2014, have been awarded €84 million. Environmental protection, justice and home affairs, green industry innovation, cultural heritage and civil society feature as key areas under this increased support. Partnership projects continue to be strongly encouraged in the new programmes.
Minister Šimonytė commended all the project promoters, noting their dedication, expertise and promotion of values that are fundamental to the achievements of the programme. Project promoters representing three institutions that have benefited from the grants – Antakalnis Hospital, Juvenile Interrogation Isolator – Correctional Facility of Kaunas, and the Paaislis monastery – presented their respective projects giving an insight into the impact of the funding at first-hand.
A photo exhibition Norway Grants and EEA Grants: Vision to Reality in Lithuania was displayed during the event, providing a visual illustration of some of the people and the places that have been transformed by grant support.