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Frontpage News 2012 Agreement with Portugal focuses on climate change and health

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Agreement with Portugal focuses on climate change and health

Challenges related to environment, climate change and public health are priorities in the new agreement on the use of the EEA Grants in Portugal. €58 million is being made available to Portugal until 2014.

"Our cooperation with Portugal will be boosted by the new EEA Grants agreement", says Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre.

Addressing climate change and public health issues are key areas of support within the new agreement with Portugal (PDF). Several public institutions from Iceland and Norway will be involved in the development and implementation of the programmes. 

Reducing health inequalities

The Norwegian Institute for Public Health will cooperate with the Ministry of Health in Portugal within the field of public health. Like most European countries, Portugal faces challenges in addressing health inequalities related to income and standards of living. The health investment of the EEA Grants will contribute to reducing these inequalities.

In addition, the funding will support Portugal’s efforts to improve the national health systems. A total €10 million will be spent on initiatives within the health sector.

Climate change and environment

Adjustment to climate change is another priority for the EEA Grants in Portugal. Climate change effects should be taken into account in community planning. This requires cooperation between a variety of sectors and levels of administration. The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning will cooperate with Portuguese authorities in a specific programme on adaptation to climate change.

In the Azores, the Icelandic National Energy Authority will be involved in extracting geothermal energy. A programme will also be set up to help increase the share of renewables in the Portuguese energy consumption. Funding will also be used to strengthen the environmental surveillance of Portugal’s coastal areas, with the involvement of the Norwegian Mapping Authority. In total, €26.2 million is set aside for environmental and climate change initiatives.

Gender equality, cultural heritage and civil society

The EEA Grants will also support measures to promote gender equality and conserve valuable European cultural heritage. The Arts Council Norway will contribute to promoting cultural diversity and exchange between Norwegian and Portuguese artists.

The support to civil society will be more than doubled compared to the previous period. A total of €5.8 million will be made available for Portuguese NGOs. 

All agreements now signed

The agreement that was signed today is the last agreement to be signed on the use of the EEA Grants in the period 2009 – 2014. All 15 countries benefiting from the Grants have now signed agreements on the use of these funds.

The EEA and Norway Grants are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway’s contribution to reducing disparities in the European Economic Area and to strengthening bilateral relations with 15 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe. For the period 2009-14, the total funding amounts to €1.79 billion. Norway contributes around 97% of the total funding.