'Norway and Lithuania have close historic ties. Today nearly 40 000 Lithuanians are living in Norway and around 250 Norwegian companies have operations in Lithuania. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Norway is further strengthening these ties. We are helping to create jobs, reduce social and economic disparities, and bolster democratic institutions,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Strengthening ties with Lithuania and the other 14 beneficiary countries is one of the main objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants. It was therefore natural that the MoUs for the current funding period should be signed during the visit of The Crown Prince and The Crown Princess in connection with Lithuania's centenary as an independent state.
A number of Norwegian agencies are involved as partners in developing and implementing the programmes in Lithuania, including Innovation Norway, the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Arts Council Norway and the Directorate for Cultural Heritage.
Norway's cooperation with Lithuania in the justice sector will continue in the new funding period. This will include continued cooperation in the correctional service system, which will involve the Norwegian Correctional Service, and cooperation between the two countries' police forces on cross-border crime and organised crime. In addition, new cooperation will be developed on combating work-related crime under the programme area on decent work.
'The Government has recently stepped up its efforts to fight work-related crime. Over the next few years, a new and promising project will be developed in this area in Lithuania with support from the EEA and Norway Grants. The labour inspectorates in our two countries will be working together in this important field,' said State Secretary Audun Halvorsen.
Business development, innovation and research will also be given high priority. A pan-Baltic cooperation on research is to be established. Cooperation in the field of health will be continued with particular focus on public health, children and young people and families in vulnerable groups.
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 is available under the grant scheme for the period 2014-2021, to be distributed among 15 beneficiary countries.
- Norway provides some 98 % of this funding; the remainder is provided by Iceland and Liechtenstein.