A total of EUR 60.6 million is made available for projects under the EEA and Norway Grants. The purpose of the fund is to finance pilot projects that help young people find employment, as well as to transfer measures that work in one country to others. Funding has also been set aside for research on why some measures have a greater effect than others.
Present at the launch were representatives from the three donor states, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, included Norwegian State Secretary for EEA & EU Affairs, Elsbeth Tronstad.
Julie Fionda from the European Commission and Lorenzo Vella from Maltese Precidency of the EU represented the EU-side.
The youth were also represented by Portuguese Inés Nascimento do Carmo, who shared her story. After completing her Master’s degree, she experienced difficulties in getting a job. The EEA and Norway Grants funded project IDEARIA offered her practical training and capacity building for the labour market, and she is today successfully employed. – I now have my dream job thanks to the EEA Grants, she said.
Unemployment continues to be a problem in Europe. The effects of unemployment are serious for the individual concerned, and threaten the development of social and economic cohesion. The fund aims to complement the huge effort made by the EU.
– To invest in the youth is never a waste of money, said Julie Fionda from the European Commission. She underlined the importance of this Fund as a supplement EUs measures on this field.
The fund covers all 15 beneficiary countries under the EEA and Norway Grants, as well as Ireland, Italy and Spain. At least two countries must cooperate when submitting proposals for projects. Institutions or organizations from the donor states may participate as expert partners.
Assessments of the EU youth guarantee scheme show that it has difficulty in reaching certain target groups. Among them are the long-term unemployed, the 25-29-year-olds, ethnic minorities and the disabled.
– Helping these groups requires well-designed and sustainable measures. We hope that the fund will both find new ways of helping these young people and promote the exchange of existing good methods, said State Secretary Tronstad at the launch.
Facts about the EEA and Norway Grants
- Norway is part of the European internal market through the EEA Agreement.
- The aim of the EEA and Norway Grants is to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries.
- For the period 2014-2021, EUR 2.8 Billion has been set aside under the EEA and Norway Grants for distribution among 15 beneficiary countries.
- Norway provides about 98 % of the EEA and Norway Grants.