About EEA and Norway Grants
HISTORY OF EEA GRANTS AND NORWAY GRANTS
The history of the EEA and Norway Grants dates back to 1994 when the Agreement on the European Economic Area, which covers the four freedoms – the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital in the Internal Market, entered into force. The EEA Agreement brings together the EU Member States and three EFTA states – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The overall objective of the EEA and Norway Grants is to reduce social and economic disparities across Europe. Ever since 1994, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have contributed to social and economic development in the less wealthy countries of the EU and the EEA.
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.
EEA GRANTS AND NORWAY GRANTS 2004–2009
The enlargements of the EU and the EEA in 2004 and 2007 required a substantial increase in the contributions towards European cohesion. Most of the new member states were considerably below the EU average level of social and economic development. To illustrate, the 10 states joining the EU in 2004 had 75 million inhabitants, but a joint GDP below the one of Norway and Switzerland combined with merely 12 million inhabitants. The contribution from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in this five-year period increased to EUR 1.307 billion. The allocation to beneficiary countries was based on population size and GDP per capita, making Poland the largest beneficiary state, followed by Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic. As the major donor, Norway provided nearly 97% of the total funding for the three funding schemes.
EEA Grants: EUR 672 million
Beneficiary countries: Bulgaria (since 2007), Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania (since 2007), Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Norway Grants: EUR 567 million
Beneficiary countries: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In addition, Bulgaria and Romania received EUR 68 million from Norway through the Norwegian bilateral cooperation programmes after they joined the EU in 2007.
AREAS OF SUPPORT
Some 1,230 projects, programmes and funds received financial support in the following areas of support:
- Health and childcare,
- Research and scholarships,
- Cultural heritage,
- Institutional capacity building and human resource development,
- Schengen and the judiciary,
- Civil society,
- Regional development and cross-border activities.