Funds to promote cooperation
In addition to programme and project support, funding has been set aside in each beneficiary country for developing bilateral cooperation and activities of bilateral interest with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The bilateral funds are one of the tools put in place to achieve the objective of strengthened bilateral relations between the donor and beneficiary countries and contribute to strengthen the contact and cooperation between the donor and the beneficiary countries in areas of mutual interest.
Bilateral funds at national level
In each of the 15 beneficiary countries, 0.5% of the total country allocation is set aside for a national fund for activities of bilateral interest. The national bilateral funds are a flexible source of funding that reinforce the cooperation taking place within the programmes. The funding may be used for financing initiatives such as conferences, workshops, study tours, studies and reports, as well as outreach activities in areas of common interest to the countries involved. The activities add value to and broaden the cooperation that takes place within the programmes. The funds also provide a source of funding for initiatives of interest to both the donor and beneficiary countries going beyond the programmes, and is also available for entities that are not otherwise involved in projects and programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants.
The national Focal Points are in charge of managing the funds on the basis of work plans agreed with the donor countries.
Bilateral funds under programmes
In each of the 150 programmes under the 09-14 programme period, 1.5% of the budget is allocated to bilateral funds. This funding is intended to help facilitate the search for project partners, the development of joint project applications and networking and exchange between project promoters and entities in the donor countries.
Most of the funding from the 09-14 programming period has been allocated. New funds from the 14-21 programming period will gradually become available early 2018, depending on the status of negotiations with each of the beneficiary countries.