Spain and Norway are to cooperate on research and development in the field of renewable energy, through the EEA and Norway Grants, with a particular focus on hydropower, solar power, wind power and wave power.
“The funding from the EEA and Norway Grants will help to strengthen cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary states, in part through this environmental technology programme. Spain and Norway complement each other well as cooperation partners in the environmental field,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Mr Støre pointed out that Spain is among the most important and advanced producers of new forms of renewable energy in the world.
In total, Spain will receive around NOK 360 million in funding under the EEA and Norway Grants for the 2009–2014 period. Of this sum, around NOK 140 million has been earmarked for developing new environmental technology. Innovation Norway is the Norwegian partner, and will promote greater cooperation between the Norwegian and Spanish private sectors and research institutions.
The agreement was signed in Madrid on Tuesday evening. Gender equality is another priority area in Spain. The Ombudsperson for Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination is the Norwegian partner in this area. Among other things, the gender equality and work-life balance programme will help to promote female entrepreneurship, gender balance on company boards and the inclusion of migrant and Roma women in working life. It will also seek to address gender-based violence. Just under NOK 90 million has been allocated to this programme.
In addition to renewable energy and gender equality, NOK 30 million has been allocated to an EEA scholarship programme for higher education students and researchers, NOK 35 million has been provided for an NGO fund, and NOK 35 million has been set aside for cultural heritage and cultural exchange programmes.
The EEA and Norway Grants are Norway’s contribution to reducing social and economic disparities in Europe. The funds are also intended to strengthen cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary states. For the 2009-2014 period, a total of around NOK 14 billion is available under the EEA and Norway Grants. Norway provides 97% of the funds, and Iceland and Liechtenstein provide the rest.