- These projects really show what we can do together, to make sure that no one is left behind and that everyone - wherever they are - are given the same opportunities, said Christian Leffler, Deputy Secretary General at the EEAS’ opening reception.
The exhibition, which is on display at the EEAS until January 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the EEA Agreement. The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement is the cornerstone of relations between the EU member states and the three EEA/EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The agreement includes a common goal of working together to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein contribute to this through the EEA and Norway Grants.
The exhibition features one project in each of the 15 beneficiary countries – plus Spain, which was a beneficiary country until 2017.
Christian Leffler, Deputy Secretary General at the EEAS.
Stronger ties – better futures
The Grants enhance cooperation between the donor countries and the beneficiary countries.
Rolf Einar Fife, ambassador of Norway to the EU, highlighted the importance of these partnerships at the opening reception:
- It is when our researchers, teachers, students, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, human rights defenders, artists – just to mention a few examples – share their knowledge and work together, that we create a stronger Europe. A Europe that is able to find solutions to common challenges, Fife said.
One in three projects in the last funding period had a partner from Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and half of them plan to continue the cooperation.
Together for a Green Europe
Green innovation and sustainable development is at the core of the cooperation under the Grants.
One of the projects showcased in the exhibition is from the Maximilián Hell primary and secondary school in Central Slovakia, which was one of 69 projects funded under the Grants’ ‘Adaptation to climate change programme ’ in Slovakia.
Present at the opening reception, were Lucia Mišíková and Klaudie Kočí, a teacher and her student from Maximilián Hell School. They presented blue and green initiatives that have inspired other schools and local communities in Slovakia. The school attracts more than 10.000 visitors annually.
Lucia Mišíková and Klaudie Kočí from Maximilián Hell primary and secondary school in Central Slovakia at the exhibition opening.
Five key sectors
The Grants support sectors that are crucial for development in the beneficiary countries, and where there is potential for cooperation with donor partners.
In the exhibition, different priority sectors are highlighted through one project from each beneficiary country, including for instance cancer research in Poland, improved migration management systems in Greece, conservation of cultural heritage in Latvia, establishment of hate-free zones in the Czech Republic, combating youth unemployment in Croatia and green innovation start-ups in Estonia.
The Grants’ programmes and projects cover five key sectors:
- Innovation, research, education and competitiveness
- Social inclusion, poverty reduction and youth employment
- Environment, energy, climate change and the low-carbon economy
- Culture, civil society, good governance and fundamental rights
- Justice and home affairs
In the current funding period (2014-2021), the funding amounts to € 2.8 billion. The 15 beneficiary countries are Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Greece, Slovakia, Croatia, Portugal, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta. A regional fund also supports cross-border and transnational cooperation that involves partners and activities in 10 neighboring countries to the EU.