EU Programmes with EEA EFTA Participation

The EEA Agreement ensures participation by the three EEA EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) in a number of EU programmes.

The participation of the EEA EFTA States  in EU programmes is a vital part of their integration in the Internal Market and a key instrument for cooperation between the Members States in a wide range of areas.

Article 78 of the Agreement states that the EU and the EEA EFTA States “shall take the necessary steps to develop, strengthen or broaden cooperation on matters falling outside of the four freedoms, where such cooperation is considered likely to contribute to the attainment of the objectives of [the] Agreement, or is otherwise deemed by the Contracting Parties to be of mutual interest”. This mutual obligation is fulfilled by the EEA EFTA States’ participation in EU programmes.

From EU programmes to EEA programmes
By defining the areas in which the EU should invest over seven-year periods, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is as much an expression of political priorities as a budgetary planning tool. The annual EEA budget is adopted within this framework and allows its contributors (the EU and the EEA EFTA States) to carry out common policies over a period long enough to make them effective.

The modalities for EEA EFTA financial contribution are set down in Article 82 to the EEA Agreement. The financial contribution takes the form of a seven-year commitment by the EEA EFTA States to make annual payments towards the programmes in which they participate. Each payment is established as a proportion of the EU’s annual budget towards the specific EEA programmes. The proportionality factor varies from year to year and is based on the relative size of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the EEA EFTA States compared to the total GDP of the European Economic Area.

EEA EFTA participation in the 2014-2020 programming period
A new generation of programmes was established for the MFF 2014-2020. The focus areas for the programming period follow the main policy structure outlined in the Europe 2020 Growth Strategy, defining activities under:

1) Sustainable growth
2) Preservation and management of natural resources
3) Citizenship, freedom, security and justice
4) The EU as a global player
5) Administration

The EEA EFTA States negotiated their participation in a range of programmes within this framework and in line with their prioritised fields of cooperation.

The MFF 2014-2020 is characterised by an increase in spending on innovation and research, a new fund for financing infrastructure called the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and an integrated programme for education, training, youth and sport.

The EEA EFTA commitment to the new MFF is approximately EUR 3.22 billion according to forecasts made at the beginning of the period. For comparison, the estimate made in 2006 to the previous MFF 2007-2013 was EUR 1.7 billion. Overall the EEA EFTA States participate in 13 programmes under the MFF 2014-2020, either fully or partially.

The table below outlines the different policy areas and corresponding programmes for the 2014-2020 period in which the EEA EFTA States are participating, based on the decisions taken at national level (listed by size of EEA EFTA contribution).

 

Programme

EU commitment

(in thousand EUR)

EEA EFTA commitment

(in thousand EUR)

Iceland

Liechtenstein

Norway

Horizon 2020

77 033 279

2 310 998

X

-

X

Erasmus+

14 774 067

447 654

X

X

X

Implementation and exploitation of European satellite navigation systems (EGNOS and Galileo)

6 958 771

203 196

-

-

X

Copernicus

4 291 480

128 744

X

-

X

Creative Europe

1 464 724

43 942

X

-

X

Connecting Europe Facility (ICT Part)

1 275 400

38 262

X

-

X

Health for Growth

449 394

13 482

X

-

X

Union Civil Protection Mechanism

368 428

11 053

X

 

X

European Statistical Programme (ESP)

427 760

9 721

X

X

X

Employment and Social Innovation

922 885

6 075

X

-

X

Consumer Programme

188 829

5 665

X

-

X

Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME)

2 298 243

1 827

X

-

-

Rights, Equality and Citizenship

439 973

435

X

X

-

Through these programmes, citizens of the EEA EFTA States are given the opportunity to benefit from the activities put in motion by resources from all of the EEA. Not only can the EEA EFTA States shape the aims and objectives of the programmes, but EEA EFTA nationals are given the opportunity to submit proposals for the funding of projects that are in line with the MFF’s overall objectives.

Horizon 2020
Both Iceland and Norway participate in the Horizon 2020 Programme, which implements the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. The goal is to ensure that the EEA produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. By coupling research with innovation, Horizon 2020 places an emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges.

Erasmus+
All three EEA EFTA States participate in the Erasmus+ Programme, which aims to boost skills and employability, as well as to modernise education, training and youth work. Erasmus+ provides opportunities for over four million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer within the EEA. The programme supports transnational partnerships between education, training and youth organisations, bridging the worlds of education and work and tackling the skills gaps facing Europe. In the field of sport, it also supports grassroots projects and cross-border challenges such as combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism.

Creative Europe
Norway and Iceland participate in the Creative Europe Programme, which offers funding for the development of European films, television programmes and games, the distribution and promotion of European films, festivals, cinema networks, training for cultural and creative professionals/artists, literary translations and cross-border cooperation.

Application Process
Call for proposals are published regularly in the Official Journal of the EU. The Europa website gives the best overview of open calls, including the objective of the call, the criteria for funding and the formal application requirements. The information is organised by the Directorate-General of the European Commission responsible for the Programme in question.  Read more about the application process under Applications and Finances.

Results
Since the establishment of the EEA Agreement, the EEA EFTA States have been active participants in a wide range of EU programmes, projects and networks, from youth exchange and research programmes to public health and the development of digital content. Thousands of students from the EEA EFTA States have studied abroad through the Erasmus+ Programme, and many cultural institutions have participated in film, theatre or music projects through the Creative Europe Programme. The EEA EFTA States’ participation in these programmes has been beneficial for all parties concerned, enabling EFTA participants to find partners across the European Union and EU participants to take advantage of the expertise and best practices that exist in the EEA EFTA States. In addition, the EEA EFTA States’ financial contributions increase these programmes’ budgets significantly.

 

 

 

Budget Officer
Services, Capital, Persons & Programmes Division
Brussels

+32 22861 787