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Frontpage News 2017 Joining forces to promote human rights

FRA and FMO signing agreement
The exchange of letters was signed in Vienna 14 December by Michael O'Flaherty, director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and Henning Stirø, director of the Financial Mechanism Office (FMO)- the secretariat of the EEA and Norway Grants.

Joining forces to promote human rights

The Grants are cooperating with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to promote human rights in Europe. A new agreement paves the way for involvement of FRA in our programmes linked to Roma inclusion and empowerment.

The EEA and Norway Grants have a strong focus on European values and democratic principles linked to human rights and combating discrimination.

Strategic cooperation
To further strengthen the strategic cooperation, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) – the secretariat of the EEA and Norway Grants - signed an exchange of letters on the implementation of their administrative cooperation arrangement on 14 December in Vienna.

The agreement sets out the terms and conditions for involving FRA as a strategic partner in several of the Grants' programmes linked to Roma inclusion and empowerment. FRA will act as an International Partner Organisation supporting programmes in Greece, the Czech Republic and other beneficiary countries of the EEA and Norway Grants.

“We are pleased to secure the involvement in our programmes of such a reputable actor on fundamental rights in Europe”, said FMO director Henning Stirø.

The agreement marks a further step in the relationship between the two strategic partners in their work on advancing human rights across Europe.

Cooperation with EU partners
For the coming years, the EEA and Norway Grants are also cooperating with FRA and the rotating EU Council Presidencies as well as other relevant partners in organising high-level events on human rights related topics, when the Presidency is held by a beneficiary state of the Grants.

On 6 December, the conference ‘Reality bites: Experiences of immigrants and minorities in the EU’, jointly organised by FRA, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the European Commission, the EU Council’s Secretariat General and the EEA and Norway Grants took place in Brussels.

The conference presented findings from FRA’s second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey and focused among other things on discrimination, rights awareness, social inclusion, cohesion, as well as how Europe should tackle hate crime that jeopardises the strong sense of belonging migrant and minority group feel towards the countries they now live in.