The new EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation was launched in Brussels today. State Secretary Audun Halvorsen from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of Iceland to the EU Bergdís Ellertsdóttir and Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the EU, Sabine Monauni, were among the speakers.
Facilitating cross-border regional cooperation
Whereas the majority of EEA and Norway Grants funding is tailor-made to national initiatives and bilateral cooperation between the donor and beneficiary countries, the new EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation supports project ideas strengthening cross-border and transnational cooperation between the donor countries, the beneficiary countries and ten neighbouring countries.
A total of €34.5 million has been allocated to this fund. In the first call for project proposals that was also launched today €15 million is made available for projects. The call is available on www.eeagrants.org/regionalcooperation. The purpose of the fund is to finance regional cooperation projects within a wide range of fields
“Many of the economic and social challenges we are facing in Europe today do not respect national borders,” said the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide on the occasion of the launch.
The launch of the Fund gathered a full house of more than 130 participants from the EU institutions, EU member states’ and other countries’ representations in Brussels, international organisations, regional offices and representatives from the donor countries.
“It is important that Norway is promoting European solidarity and cooperation through this new fund,” Ms Eriksen Søreide said.
Cooperation also with neighbouring countries
It is possible to apply for funding for projects within any of the priority sectors of the EEA and Norway Grants, for example projects in the areas of innovation, business development, health, research, social inclusion, the environment and climate change, culture, civil society, protection of fundamental rights, migration, and the judicial system/correctional services. Read more about the priority sectors here.
Funding is available for projects in all the 15 beneficiary countries of the EEA and Norway Grants. In addition, projects may involve cooperation with non-EU countries that share a border with a beneficiary country.
“Expertise partners from the donor countries Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland can also take part in the projects and I hope this will be the case. Iceland is a geographically isolated island, but its inhabitants know that today´s problems and solutions know no borders,” said Ambassador of Iceland to the EU, Bergdís Ellertsdóttir.
Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the EU Sabine Monauni said that regional cooperation is in the DNA of her country.
“We know from our daily experience that looking across borders, with open minds, and working together helps us to achieve more”.
Deputy Head of Unit in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) Ann-Kerstin Myleus and Boyan Natan, from the Permanent Representation of Republic of Bulgaria to the EU also spoke at the event and welcomed the new Fund established by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Projects must involve partners from at least three countries and activities in different countries.
The deadline for applications is 1 July 2018.