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Frontpage News 2017 Strengthened cooperation on asylum, migration and innovation with Greece

Greece MoU 2014-2021 signed in Athens
The Greek Alternate Minister for Economic Affairs and Development, Alexis Charitsis and Jens Frølich Holte, Norwegian State Secretary, signed the agreement in Athens.

Strengthened cooperation on asylum, migration and innovation with Greece

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have signed a new cooperation agreement with Greece under the EEA Grants 2014-2021. 

The three donor countries have allocated €116.7 million to a total of 9 programmes and funds in Greece for the coming seven years. The objectives of the programmes are to contribute to social and economic development in Greece and strengthen the cooperation between Greece and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Innovation and business development, and migration and asylum are the two areas receiving most funding. Other key areas include energy and environment, poverty reduction and measures to improve the living conditions of the Roma.

"Greece has been undertaking a very important role when it comes to asylum and migration in the Mediterranean and Iceland welcomes the opportunity to support those efforts through the EEA Grants. At the same time, it is my hope that the grants will allow innovation and business development to thrive and boost further prosperity in Greece and the EEA as a whole," said Foreign Minister of Iceland, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson.

Iceland signs Greek EEA MoU Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdottir, Head of the Icelandic Mission to the EU, signed the MoU on behalf of Iceland.
 

Asylum and migration key priority

“I am glad that Liechtenstein can make a contribution to reduce economic and social disparities within the European Economic Area. I very much welcome the fact that the EEA Grants will be used to alleviate the heavy burden Greece is carrying to cope with migration flows through the Mediterranean,” said Foreign Minister of Liechtenstein, Aurelia Frick.

Liechtenstein signs Greek MoU Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the EU, Sabine Monauni, signed the MoU on behalf of Liechtenstein. Photo: FMO
 

In the asylum and migration programmes priority will be given to ensure legal protection, support and care for the most vulnerable asylum seekers, in particular unaccompanied children.

“Greece is still the first destination for many migrants and refugees who are trying to reach Europe. European countries share a responsibility to find good solutions to this situation. It is therefore both important and right for Norway to continue its cooperation with Greece to deal with one of the greatest challenges Europe is currently facing,” said Marit Berger Røsland, Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs.

Continuation and cooperation

Building on the good cooperation established with Greece in the previous funding period, several programme areas and projects will continue to receive support under this funding period.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) will continue their involvement and act as donor programme partner in both the asylum and migration programmes.

Innovation and business development is a new programme supported in Greece. The main focus areas will be green industry innovation, blue growth and ICT. Innovation Norway will be the Fund Operator for this programme, opening up for increased bilateral cooperation.

There will also be a new programme focusing on good governance, accountable institutions and transparency. The programme will support key intervention areas to increase the efficiency and transparency of the Greek public sector.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are involved in programmes as international partner organisations contributing with their expertise.

Want more detail on what's in the agreement? Download the full agreement here. 

Next steps

In the coming months work will continue to set up the programmes. Open calls for proposal will be announced at a later stage. Follow updates on: www.eeagrants.org/greece.

Overview of programmes

   
Programme Partner(s) Allocation (EUR million)
Innovation, Business Development and SMEs Innovation Norway (Fund Operator) 21.5
Roma inclusion and Empowerment International Partner Organisation: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) 5.0
Local Development and Poverty Reduction   6.5
Water Management   4.0
Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency   7.5
Good governance, Accountable Institutions, Transparency International Partner Organisation: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 7.0
Asylum and Migration (Capacity building of national asylum and migration management systems) Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) 16.5
Asylum and Migration (Addressing urgent needs for the reception and screening of asylum seekers and for the accommodation of vulnerable groups) Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) 16.5
Civil Society   12.0
Bilateral Fund   2.3

About the EEA and Norway Grants

Under the EEA Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are part of the European internal market. The EEA Agreement sets out the common goal of working together to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen cooperation between European countries. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to this through the EEA and Norway Grants. For the period 2014-2021, a total contribution of €2.8 billion has been agreed. Greece will receive € 116.7 million of this total. Greece receives funding from the EEA Grants.