Funds to promote cooperation
In addition to programme and project support, funding is available in each country for developing bilateral cooperation and activities of bilateral interest with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The bilateral funds are one of the tools put in place to achieve the objective of strengthened bilateral relations between the donor and beneficiary countries and will contribute to strengthen the contact and cooperation between the donor and the beneficiary states in areas of mutual interest.
Bilateral funds at national level
At the national level in each of the 16 beneficiary countries, 0.5% of the total country allocation is set aside for a bilateral national fund for activities of bilateral interest.
The national bilateral funds are a more flexible source of funding that will reinforce the cooperation taking place within the programmes. The funding may be used to finance initiatives such as conferences, workshops, study tours, studies and reports, as well as outreach activities in areas of common interest to the countries involved. The activities could add value to and broaden the cooperation that takes place within the programmes. The funds may also provide a source of funding for initiatives of interest to both the donor and beneficiary countries going beyond the programmes, and is also available for entities that are not otherwise involved in projects and programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants.
The national Focal Points are in charge of managing the funds on the basis of work plans agreed with the donor countries. The national-level work plans will define how the fund will be managed in each country and how interested stakeholders can submit ideas and apply for funding.
During the programme planning stage, a number of beneficiary countries have used part of these bilateral funds for exploratory visits and study tours to learn from the donor countries’ experience or to plan for future bilateral cooperation in the programmes.
The funds will allow for broadening the network of actors involved in the cooperation and could provide a platform for increased political, cultural, professional and academic relations.
Bilateral funds under programmes
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.
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. Both project applicants in the beneficiary states and potential project partners from the donor states can apply for this funding.
The other measure available under the bilateral fund is support for networking and exchange of knowledge and experience.