The EEA Financial Mechanism

Conference on the Norwegian and EEA Financial Mechanisms held in Brussels

The Norwegian and EEA Financial Mechanisms and best practices for project impementation were the focalpoints at a Norwegian held conference in Brussels on 13 June. Experience from the EU Cohesion Fund was used as the basis for discussions which took place between participants from EEA EFTA States, the Commission and beneficiary states.

17/06/2005 :: With nearly completed signatures for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 13 beneficiary states the EEA EFTA States Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have reached the stage of project generation, illustrated by open calls for proposals by the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

During the conference, titled “Managing the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms: Lessons from EU Cohesion Policy”, representatives from the Commission, EEA EFTA States, and beneficiary states exchanged ideas and experiences based on the work undertaken by the EU Cohesion Fund for establishing best practices for project implementation under the Financial Mechanisms.

Norway, the major financial contributor behind the funds, aimed to broaden cooperation with beneficiary states and the Commission, raise awareness about the process, and foster a continuing dynamic partnership between all relevant actors involved.

After opening the conference the Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Traavik attended a joint press conference with Commissioner Danuta Hübner, where he referred to the conference as an opportunity to “learn as much as possible from the extensive experience of the Commission”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Traavik emphasised the importance of using the funds in a “constructive and responsible manner” in accordance with the guidelines set up for the funds.

Transparency in the decision-making process was underlined as a central principle, while key objectives were expressed as being firmly based on the principles of solidarity, opportunity and cooperation.

The three topics that were discussed during the conference workshops included project areas for the funds, such as human resources, education, capacity building and health; the environment and cultural heritage; and finally the European Neighbourhood Policy, Cross-border and the Schengen cooperation.

Over 150 representatives from the Commission, EEA States, and the beneficiary states Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, poland, Portugal, and Slovenia attended the conference.

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Commissioner Danuta Hübner and Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Traavik emphasised the need for coordination between the Commission and EEA EFTA States.Photo: The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO)

Ambassador Bjørn T. Grydeland referred to the conference as a good opportunity to raise awareness of the funds, and establish contacts with central actors.Photo: The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO)

Ingerid Schulerud, Senior Adviser for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed to health as a key project area for the funds in beneficiary states.Photo: The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO)