EEA and Norway Grants are unique financial instruments based on the cooperation between Slovenia and three donor countries: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Driven by a common goal – reducing economic and social disparities within the European Economic Area (EEA) – EEA and Norway Grants also contribute to creating a world of equal opportunities, tolerance, safety, environmental sustainability and decent life.
Past implementation periods
The contributions of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have been channelled through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants (2004–2009 and 2009–2014), and before that through Financial Instrument (1999–2003) and Financial Mechanism (1994–1998). Two separate mechanisms – the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants – were established in connection with the enlargement of the European Union in 2004; Norway is the main contributor to both mechanisms. In total, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have provided EUR 3.3 billion through consecutive grant schemes between 1994 and 2014.
In the period 2004–2009 Slovenia received over EUR 17 million. About EUR 14 million of the total allocation was earmarked for individual projects, while the remaining funds went to the NGO Fund, the Fund for cooperation between educational and research institutions and the Technical Assistance Fund. Thus, 62 projects addressing environmental protection, promotion of sustainable development, conservation of European cultural heritage, development of human resources, healthcare and childcare were implemented across Slovenia. In addition, the Scholarship Fund supported over 100 mobility projects.
Slovenia received almost 27 million euros from the EEA and Norway Grants in the period 2009–2014. The funding was channelled through five programmes:
- SI01: Technical Assistance and Fund for Bilateral Relations at National Level, Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) acted as Programme Operator
- SI02: EEA Financial Mechanism Programme under the 2009-2014 period, Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) acted as Programme Operator
- SI03: NGO Programme, Fund for Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organisations, Regional Environmental Centre (REC Slovenia) and the Centre for Information Service, Co-operation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS) acted as Programme Operator
- SI04: Slovenian Scholarship Fund for the 2009-2014 period, Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes (CMEPIUS) acted as Programme Operator
- SI05: Norwegian Financial Mechanism Programme under the 2009-2014 period, Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) acted as Programme Operator
These programmes enabled Slovenia to boost its activities through more than 120 projects in the areas of environmental and climate change, civil society, human and social development, cultural and natural heritage, research and scholarships and, last but not least, decent work and tripartite dialogue.
EEA and Norway Grants 2014–2021
A further EUR 2.8 billion has been made available in the 2014–2021 funding period. The EEA Grants (EUR 1.5 million) are jointly financed by all three donors and available in all 15 countries. The Norway Grants (EUR 1.3 million) are financed solely by Norway and available in the 13 countries that joined the EU after 2003. During this period, Slovenia is entitled to EUR 37.7 million, of which EUR 19.9 million comes from the EEA Grants and EUR 17.8 million from the Norway Grants.
Priority sectors in 2014–2021
The five priority sectors and related 23 programme areas funded in the period 2014–2021 reflect the priorities set out in the Europe 2020 strategy – the European Union’s ten-year growth strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – and the EU 11 cohesion policy objectives. They aim at contributing to growth and jobs, tackling climate change and energy dependence, and reducing poverty and social exclusion. They also promote bilateral and international cooperation.
The five priority sectors in the period 2014–2021 are:
- Innovation, Research, Education and Competitiveness
- Social Inclusion, Youth Employment and Poverty Reduction
- Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy
- Culture, Civil Society, Good Governance, and Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
- Justice and Home Affairs
The donor countries conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with each beneficiary country. The Memoranda of Understanding specify the programme areas to be funded in each beneficiary country. The aim is to tailor the support from the EEA and Norway Grants to each country on the basis of its needs, aims and capacity, as well as on any particular bilateral interest shared by at least one donor and a beneficiary country.
More information on Priority Sectors and Programme Areas is available in the Blue Book
Global Fund for Regional Cooperation
There are a number of challenges in Europe that affect several countries or regions and that can only be tackled through cross-border efforts. A new feature of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014–2021 is the establishment of a Global Fund for Regional Cooperation, divided into two parts: The EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment (EUR 65.5 million) and the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation (EUR 34.5 million). Ecorys Polska is the Fund Operator of both funds.
The EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment will be made available to transnational projects addressing youth employment involving the beneficiary countries and Ireland, Italy and Spain. The Fund has three principal support areas: innovation and exploration; transfer of know-how and good practice; and analysis and research. The target groups of the Fund are young people between 15 and 29, with a special focus on the 25-29 year olds. The long-term unemployed, the low-skilled, inactive women caring for children or incapacitated adults, ethnic minorities including Roma, asylum-seekers, people with mental health issues and the disabled are of particular interest to the Fund.
The EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation will support transnational cooperation to address European challenges across the priority sectors of the EEA and Norway Grants, in particular in the areas of knowledge sharing, policy exchange of best practice and institutional capacity-building. The Fund will be made available to transnational projects involving beneficiary countries and the neighbouring third countries Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. Additionally, both funds can have project partners from the three donor countries.
Bilateral partnerships between public and private institutions, NGOs and research institutions in the donor and beneficiary countries are widely encouraged. Cooperation between people and institutions at administrative and political levels and in the private sector, academia and civil society is a prerequisite for strengthened bilateral relations. Such cooperation is facilitated and supported at programme and project level and through bilateral funds.