The EEA and Norway Grants
The EEA Agreement is the main foundation of Norway’s cooperation with the EU. The agreement ensures free movement of people, goods, services and capital, providing Norwegian businesses access to a market with over 500 million people. The EEA and Norway Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reduce economic and social disparities and to strengthen bilateral relations with 15 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics.
Projects in the 2009-2014 period
One of the key areas of support in the 2009-2014 period was to improve the infrastructure and the efficiency of court systems. Within this area, the “Judicial Capacity Building” programme was a success story. As a part of the programme, a courthouse in Karlovac was renovated and reconstructed. The facade and the heating system were improved, and the building has been adapted to accommodate people with disabilities. In addition, the case-handling systems were upgraded, and a guidance manual for judges is being drafted, contributing to the improvement of the effectiveness of the courts. The “Judicial Capacity Building” programme was supported with €3.2 million.
Another key area of support in the 2009-2014 period was to promote increased understanding between ethnic groups in post conflict communities. A multi-cultural school project in Vukovar was started as a result of this.
With the support of €1.3 million for a NGO fund, the EEA and Norway Grants also contributed to the strengthening of civil society development and enhancement of contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development.
Via a bilateral fund, the grants also contributed to facilitation and enhancement of bilateral relations between Croatian and Norwegian organizations. In total 12 projects on different areas of interest were supported and implemented in this period.
Negotiations for 2014-2021
The next period of the EEA and Norway Grants to Croatia is 2014-2021. For this period, a total contribution of €103.4 million has been agreed. A new feature of the EEA and Norway Grants from 2014 to 2021 is the establishment of several funds intended to counter specific challenges that can only be tackled through cross-border efforts. Three special funds have been established with this in mind: a fund for youth employment, a fund for regional cooperation and Decent Work and Tripartite Dialogue Fund.
The five programme areas Croatia and Norway will negotiate allocating grants to, are as follows:
#1 Innovation, Research, Education and Competitiveness
#2 Social Inclusion, Youth Employment and Poverty Reduction
#3 Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy
#4 Culture, Civil Society, Good Governance and Fundamental Rights
#5 Justice and Home Affairs
The EEA and Norway Grants negotiations have started
The negotiations for the next period of the EEA and Norway Grants to Croatia, began on the 21st of March. Representatives from Croatia and Norway met in Zagreb for an annual meeting and to start the negotiations. The process is at an early stage, and the cooperation between the two countries will continue through the spring. It will be exciting to see what the two parties finally agree on for the period of 2014-2021.
The EEA and Norway Grants