Romania will benefit of non-refundable funds worth 502 million Euros, through the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norwegian grants, under the 2014-2012 financial exercise, following the Memorandums of Understanding initialled on Thursday by Minister of European Funds Cristian Ghinea and the State Secretary with the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry Elsbeth Tronstad, Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Elisabeth Vik Aspaker.
According to the new agreements, there will be taken into account the funding of areas such as: local development and poverty fight, improving the Roma population’s situation, public health, innovation, business environment and SMEs, the NGO sector, research and education, energy efficiency, renewable energy and environment, cultural heritage and exchange, justice, correctional services and internal affairs.
The two agreements concluded on Thursday stipulate both the institutional management framework and the established programs, with the main objectives, the financial allocation, and special areas of interest.
“It is a very important moment for the Ministry of European Funds and for me. Romania is the first county that signs the Memorandums of Understanding for the 2014-2021 allocation period of this grants. It was a significant effort, both on our side, and on the Norwegian partners’ side. We started the negotiations in June 2016, which took up a four month period. The Memorandums initialled today establish certain criteria, and the details will be settled in the following period. I hail the special interest for the social area, and here I refer to the poverty fight, as well as to the interest in the justice area. I would use as an example the funding of the project regarding the installation of solar panels in villages where there is no electricity. The Norwegian funds come in addition to the structural funds, in the sense that Norwegian funds are flexible. Now we set the sectoral foundations. We will start as soon as possible the procedures regarding the funding allocation for the projects that won’t receive funding from this grants,” European Funds Minister Cristian Ghinea stated, during a press conference, organized on Thursday, on the occasion of the signing of the two Memorandums of Understanding.
The EEA and Norwegian grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and the Kingdom of Norway to reducing the economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area and strengthening the bilateral relations between the beneficiary and donor states.
In the 2009-2014 programming period, Romania benefits, until 2017, from an allocation of 306 million Euros, which supports projects in areas such as: public health, children and young people in risk situations, cultural heritage, research, scholarships, the NGO sector, poverty reduction, justice and internal affairs, environmental protection. The absorption rate on this funds stood at 68 percent on 1 August 2016.
Starting 13 October 2016 Romania will implement the 2014-2021 financial framework of these funds, with a total allocation worth 502.5 million Euros. Through the EEA Grants, the projects in progress will be granted funding worth 275.2 million Euros, while through the Norwegian Grants the funds stand at 227.3 million Euros.
Romania benefited in the period 2007-2009 of an allocation worth 98.5 million Euros, the absorption rate being 77.7 percent. The program officially ended on 27 June 2014.