Council of Europe to cooperate with EEA and Norway Grants
The Council of Europe will cooperate in EEA and Norway Grants programmes across Central and Southern Europe in the coming years, according to a new agreement.
The agreement on the involvement of the Council of Europe in the EEA and Norway Grants will be signed in Brussels today by Director of the Financial Mechanism Office, Stine Andresen, and Jean-Louis Laurens, Director General for Democracy and Political Affairs at the Council of Europe.
Under the €1.789 billion EEA and Norway Grants funding running up to 2014, programmes will be set up in the 12 newest EU member states, as well as Greece, Portugal and Spain. In this process, the Council of Europe will now become an important partner within its key areas of expertise.
“This agreement with the Council of Europe will strengthen the profile and expertise of the EEA and Norway Grants on important areas such as justice, human rights and social inclusion. Our aim is to increase the impact of our funding within these areas by using the considerable experience of the Council of Europe” said Director Stine Andresen.
Based on its different monitoring mechanisms and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe has agreed to help identify priority projects in the beneficiary states of the EEA and Norway Grants and to provide expertise in areas such as improving national judicial systems and prison conditions, fighting organised crime and domestic violence, as well as improving conditions of the Roma population.
To underline the importance that the donors of the EEA and Norway Grants attaches to the work of the Council of Europe, all framework agreements (MoUs) with the 15 beneficiary countries will include a reference to the human rights- and governance-related standards of the Council of Europe. This includes the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, the Council of Europe will participate as a partner at programme and project level in different countries.
Jean-Louis Laurens, Director General for Democracy and Political Affairs at the Council of Europe, said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with EEA and Norway Grants, with whom we share our fundamental values and goals. The Council of Europe’s wealth of experience and expertise in furthering democracy, human rights and the rule of law across the European continent can help to ensure that the grants continue to produce the best possible results in the countries concerned over the next few years and beyond.”