State Secretary Jens Frølich Holte and Alexis Charitsis, Alternate Minister for Economy and Development
The Norwegian State Secretary Jens Frølich Holte (to the right) signed on behalf of Norway, while the Greek side was represented by Alexis Charitsis, the Alternate Minister for Economy and Development. Credit: Emma Lydersen, MFA

Norway strengthening cooperation with Greece

Norway and Greece signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on funding totalling EUR 116.7 million under the EEA and Norway Grants 31 October 2017. Job creation and business development will be a new and important priority area. The agreement also builds on experience gained in the field of asylum and migration.

'Greece is still the first stop 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 Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Marit Berger Røsland.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration is the Norwegian partner for the asylum programme, which will focus particularly on unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable groups. The European Wergeland Centre, which is based in Norway, is involved in a project on anti-discrimination and inclusion of refugee children in Greek schools.

Business development and innovation is a new and important priority area in the new agreement. Innovation Norway will play a central role here, for example by facilitating cooperation between small and medium-sized companies in Norway and Greece that are involved in green industry development, blue growth and ICT.

'Norway and Greece share many economic interests, particular in shipping and maritime industries. I am pleased that the EEA Grants can be used to strengthen the close ties between our two countries. The new agreement also provides excellent opportunities for Norwegian companies', said Ms. Berger Røsland.

Norway has played a part in reducing social and economic disparities in Greece through the EEA Grants since 1994. Poverty reduction and social inclusion of vulnerable groups are still core areas for our support today. Efforts to tackle poverty in Athens will continue during the new funding period.

In addition, Norway is contributing to anti-corruption measures and public sector reform through the EEA Grants.

Facts about the EEA and Norway Grants

  • Under the EEA Agreement, Norway is 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 to strengthen cooperation between European countries. Norway contributes to this through the EEA and Norway Grants.
  • EUR 2.8 billion will be available under the grant scheme for the period 2014-2021, to be divided between 15 beneficiary countries. Of this, EUR 116.7 million will be allocated to Greece.
  • Norway provides some 98 % of this funding; the remainder is provided by Iceland and Liechtenstein.

See the fact sheet for an overview of the programmes that are to be implemented in Greece.