General Information on the EEA and Norway Grants
The European Economic Area (EEA) was established on 1st January 1994 following the EEA Agreement which unites the member states of the European Union and the three EFTA (European Free Trade Association) states of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the Internal Market. The EEA is based on the same “four freedoms” as the European Union: the free movement of goods, persons, capital and services among the EEA countries and aims at promoting a continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relations between the EEA Member States. To this end, the EEA-EFTA States, incorporate relevant EU laws in their national legislation through the EEA Agreement, thus ensuring the aforementioned “four freedoms” within the EEA.
When the EU members increased to 27 on 1st of May 2004 with the historic enlargement of the European Union and the European Economic Area, the three EEA EFTA members (i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) established the EEA and Norway Grants. More specifically, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway established the EEA Financial Mechanisms whereas, in addition, Norway established also a separate Norwegian Financial Mechanism. The grants provided through the two Financial Mechanisms are their countries’ contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area and to the strengthening of bilateral relations with the 15 beneficiary states in Central and Southern Europe.
The countries eligible for support under the EEA Grants were the 12 newest EU member states as well as Spain, Portugal and Greece; whereas the Norway Grants were open only to the 12 newest EU member states.
For the 2004-2009 period, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein made available €672 mln in EEA Grants whereas Norway made available and additional €635 mln in Norway Grants. The total contribution was therefore €1.3 billion which was made available to 1188 individual Projects, Programmes and Funds, run by private and public sector, NGOs and research and academic institutions in 15 countries in Central and Southern Europe. The supported Projects, Programmes and Funds were in implementation until April 2011.
EEA and Norway Grants in 2009-2014
Overall Objectives of the Grants
Strengthening Bilateral Relations