Negotiations with the EU on financial contributions 2014 – 2019 and on market access for fish started today. “We look forward to constructive negotiations and a successful outcome,” commented Ingvild Næss Stub, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Norway contributes significantly to reducing social and economic disparities in Europe. The Grants also help to strengthen contact and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries in Central and Southern Europe.
“We are currently providing extensive and generous funding through the EEA and Norway Grants, and we are prepared to continue to do so. At the same time, we must take into account the positive developments that have taken place in the beneficiary countries, and we cannot ignore the fact that the EU’s own level of contribution has fallen,” said Ms Stub.
Despite the fact that several EU countries have experienced difficult economic times due to the crisis in Europe, there have been positive developments in most of the beneficiary countries in recent years. Nevertheless, efforts to reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA are still needed.
“Our continued support will depend on the outcome of parallel negotiations on market access for Norwegian fish and fish products. This is very important for Norway. The outcome will therefore depend on a satisfactory agreement on market access,” emphasised Ms Stub.
The current funding period for the EEA and Norway Grants comes to an end on 30 April this year, and formal negotiations between the EU and the EEA EFTA states on the new funding period started in Brussels on 22 January.
Norway considers it essential that the objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants and the principles for deciding which countries can receive this support remain the same in the next period. The plan is to continue to build on the priority sectors for the current grants, , and also focus the efforts on particular challenges in each Beneficiary state. .
A number of duty-free quotas for the import of products such as mackerel, herring and prawns into the EU have been negotiated in connection with the enlargement of the EU and the EEA in 2004, 2007 and 2013. These quotas have a five-year time limit, and come to an end at the same time as the funding period for the EEA and Norway Grants. They are important for Norway’s seafood industry, which would otherwise have to pay high import duties on these products in the EU market.
Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein provide around EUR 1.8 billion for the 2009–2014 period of the EEA and Norway Grants, around 97 % of which is provided by Norway. This funding is used to support a range of projects in 16 beneficiary countries in areas such as climate change and environmental protection, research and scholarship, decent work and civil society. The Grants are also used to promote democratic values, the rule of law and tolerance in Europe.
Read more about the EEA and Norway Grants on www.eeagrants.org