'Europe is still facing major social challenges. Jobs need to be created, social inequality needs to be reduced, and democracy and institutions still need to be strengthened. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Norway is providing targeted support to parts of Europe where the needs are greatest,' said Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Marit Berger Røsland.
A number Norwegian agencies are involved as partners in developing and implementing the programmes in Latvia. These are: Innovation Norway, the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), Arts Council Norway, the Norwegian Environment Agency and the Norwegian Correctional Service. These agencies are also responsible for recruiting Norwegian partners for the projects in Latvia.
Cooperation in the area of justice and home affairs will also continue under the new agreement.
'We are supporting new initiatives to combat economic crime. The OECD will contribute to this work by helping to draw up action plans and providing technical assistance to prevent fraud and tax evasion. These efforts are fully in line with the Government's increased focus on combating work-related crime,' Ms Berger Røsland said.
Close cooperation in the justice sector will also be continued with a focus on the correctional services. This will include the establishment of a new training centre for employees working in this area.
Business development, innovation and research will continue to be important. Among other things, pan-Baltic cooperation on research is to be established. Climate change and the environment are also priority areas.
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, and is to be distributed between 15 beneficiary countries.
- Norway provides some 98 % of this funding; the remainder is provided by Iceland and Liechtenstein.