EEA/Norway Grants funding promoted in Sofia
Norway’s ambassador to Bulgaria Guro Katharina Vikør and Bulgarian Minister for EU Funds Tomislav Donchev presented on January 21 funding opportunities under the EEA Grants and Norway Grants programmes.
Bulgaria’s allocation under the two programmes for the 2009/14 budget period (the deadline for implementing projects is the end of 2016) is 126.6 million euro, including 78.6 million euro under EEA Grants and 48 million euro under Norway Grants.
The two programmes are the contribution of European Economic Area members Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (but funded mainly by the latter) to reducing economic and social disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with 15 EU member states in Central and Southern Europe.
Their stated goals in Bulgaria are: strengthening the justice sector through reforms; assisting in the fight against organised crime, including trafficking; combating violence against women; improving the situation for vulnerable groups, including Roma; promoting green industry innovation; improving public health and reducing health inequalities.
Last month, the Norwegian embassy launched an open call for individual projects for green industry innovation funding worth 11.6 million euro. The deadline for submitting projects is April 15.
Similar calls for projects in other areas are expected to follow shortly.
The main areas that will receive funding during the current budget period are human and social development (23.3 million euro), justice and home affairs (18 million euro), environmental protection and management (16 million euro) and cultural heritage (14 million euro).
Separately, 11.8 million euro has been set aside for an NGO fund, which will aim to strengthen civil society and enhance its contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development. An open call for projects is expected to be published by the end of January, news website Mediapool.bg reported.
On the issue of improving the situation of Roma, no separate funding has been aside for Roma integration, but at least 10 per cent of the money in each funding area will be used on projects promoting Roma involvement, Vikør said.
Although the number of Bulgarian Roma in Norway was estimated at about 500 people, the Norwegian government wanted to invest in improving conditions for the Roma in their home countries, with an emphasis on education as the key towards integration and improving standards of living, Vikør was quoted as saying.
For more information on EEA Grants/Norway Grants in Bulgaria, visit their country website here.
(Norway’s ambassador to Bulgaria Guro Katharina Vikør addresses the audience at a book presentation in November. Photo: The Royal Norwegian Embassy)