Financial Mechanisms


The EEA Grants and Norway Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reducing economic and social disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with 16 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe.

Through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are partners in the internal market with the 28 EU member states. They also share common values and responsibility with other European countries to promote equality of opportunity, tolerance, security, environmental sustainability and a decent standard of living for all. Ever since the establishment of the EEA Agreement in 1994, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have provided funding to reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA. Despite much progress in Europe, gaps in economic development and living standards persist. The expansions of the EU in 2004 and 2007 brought a 20% increase in the EU's population, but only a 5% increase in GDP. The funding is targeted on areas where there are clear needs in the beneficiary countries and that are in line with national priorities and wider European goals.

The EEA Grants and Norway Grants are set up for five-year periods. For the period 2009-2014, €1.798 billion has been set aside under the Grants. The EEA Grants are jointly financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, who contribute according to their size and economic wealth. Of the €993 million set aside for the 2009-14 period, Norway provides 95.8%, Iceland 3.0% and Liechtenstein 1.2%. The Norway Grants are financed by Norway alone and amount to approximately €804 million in this period.

Funding is channelled through 150 programmes in the 16 beneficiary countries. Each beneficiary country agrees on a set of programmes with the donor countries, based on national needs and priorities and the scope for cooperation with the donor countries. All programmes must adhere to standards relating to human rights, good governance, sustainable development and gender equality. In addition, the individual Memorandum of Understanding with each country lays down the guidelines and specifies any special concerns for individual programmes or for the grant scheme as whole.


EEA Grants


In the period 2009-14, the EEA Grants support 86 programmes in 16 countries in Europe. The EEA Grants are available to the 13 EU member countries that joined the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) in 2004, 2007 and 2013 as well as Greece, Spain and Portugal.

The EEA Grants are jointly financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The three countries contribute to the grant scheme according to their size and economic wealth. The decision-making body of the EEA Grants is the Financial Mechanism Committee, which is composed of representatives of the Foreign Ministries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

At least 30% of the funding is allocated to environmental protection, climate change measures and renewable energy. Improving energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewables in energy use is a key objective of the Grants. Funding backs projects to improve energy efficiency, develop energy efficiency initiatives for small businesses and increase renewable energy production. Curbing marine pollution, improving environmental monitoring and preserving biodiversity are also important priorities for the EEA Grants. NGO programmes worth €158 million are set up in all beneficiary countries of the EEA Grants.The funds are intended to promote a viable democratic system and respect for vulnerable groups.


Programme areas

In the funding period 2009-2014, the EEA Grants support these programme areas:


  • Environmental protection and management
  • Integrated marine and inland water management
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Environmental monitoring and integrated planning and control
  • Reduction of hazardous substances
  • Environmental and climate change-related research and technology

  • Climate change and renewable energy
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy
  • Adaptation to climate change

  • Civil society
  • NGO programmes

  • Human and social development
  • Children and youth at risk
  • Local and regional initiatives to reduce national inequalities and to promote social inclusion
  • Public health initiatives
  • Mainstreaming gender equality and promoting work-life balance
  • Institutional framework in the asylum and migration sector

  • Protecting cultural heritage
  • Conservation and revitalisation of cultural and natural heritage
  • Promotion of diversity in culture and arts within European cultural heritage

  • Research and scholarship
  • Research within priority sectors
  • Scholarship



Norway Grants


In the period 2009-14, the Norway Grants support 61 programmes in 13 countries in Europe. The Norway Grants are available to the 13 EU member countries that joined in 2004, 2007 and 2013. Under the Norway Grants, Norway has set aside €804 million for the current funding period. The decision-making body for the grant scheme is the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Norway also provides 95% of the funding to the EEA Grants.

The Norway Grants support green industry innovation in eight of the beneficiary countries. This is a new business development programme, primarily targeting small and medium-sized enterprises. Another notable feature of the Norway Grants is the support to promotion of decent work and tripartite dialogue in 12 countries. The Global Fund for Decent Work and Tripartite Dialogue supports measures such as structures for social dialogue, health safety and environment, anti-discrimination and gender equality in the work place.

In the funding period 2009-2014, the Norway Grants support these programme areas:

  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Carbon capture and storage

  • Green industry innovation
  • Green industry innovation

  • Decent work and tripartite dialogueGlobal fund for decent work and tripartite dialogue

  • Research and scholarship
  • Research
  • Scholarship

  • Human and social development
  • Capacity-building and institutional cooperation with Norwegian public institutions, local and regional authorities
  • Cross-border cooperation
  • Public health initiatives

  • Mainstreaming gender equality and promoting work-life balance

  • Justice and home affairs
  • Domestic and gender-based violence
  • Schengen cooperation and combating cross-border and organised crime
  • Judicial capacity-building and cooperation
  • Correctional services, including non-custodial sanctions
Bilateral relations

Strengthening bilateral relations is a primary objective of the EEA and Norway Grants. Strengthening ties between European countries brings mutual benefits for institutions and organisations in both the donor and beneficiary countries. In each of the 150 programmes, 1.5% of the budget is allocated to bilateral funds. This funding is intended to help facilitate the search for project partners, the development of joint project applications and networking and exchange between project promoters and entities in the donor countries.


To enhance cooperation and knowledge exchange, partnerships between organisations in the donor and beneficiary countries are widely encouraged for mutual benefit and strengthening of the programme and project’s quality. Funds are set aside in all beneficiary countries to support networking and foster project partnerships on initiatives of mutual interest. One of the measure available under the bilateral funds at programme level is so called seed money that can be used for example for travel and meeting costs for potential partners or any costs related to the development of the project application or development of the partnership. The other measure available under the bilateral fund is support for networking and exchange of knowledge and experience.

In Slovenia, €134,500 has been set aside for the bilateral national fund. Among the focus areas for the fund, are cooperation in the health sector, and Slovenia’s and the EEA countries’ experiences with past and future European integration. The fund does not support projects. Rather, it supports various activities that will contribute to strengthening the bilateral relations between Slovenia and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Funded activities include organising and participating in seminars, workshops and conferences, as well as study visits to exchange good practice and experience.


The funding from the bilateral national fund serves as a flexible source of financial support for initiatives from both Slovene and donor country entities that can contribute to strengthening the bilateral relations. The funds are to be used strategically and can go beyond the programmes. (

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