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.

From EU programmes to EEA programmes

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

Click here for EEA EFTA States Programme participation in a nutshell, including their rights and obligations.

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.

The Participation of the EEA EFTA States in the EU Programmes is formalised by the inclusion of each respective programme regulation, in which the EEA EFTA States agree to participate in, into Protocol 31 of the EEA Agreement.

The impact of this participation has been substantial. It has meant, for example, that researchers from the EFTA States participate in international cooperation on the same basis as their counterparts in EU Member States. The EEA EFTA States’ participation in the EU Programmes has had a tangible effect on businesses, research institutions, students, workers, artists and consumers in the EFTA States and has enabled EFTA and EU participants to learn from each other and take advantage of the expertise and best practices that exist in a wide range of areas.

The Financial Contribution

The modalities for the EEA EFTA financial contribution are set down in Article 82 of the EEA Agreement. The financial contribution takes the form of a multiannual commitment by the EEA EFTA States to make annual payments towards the programmes for which they have established participation. The annual EEA EFTA 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. 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 2021-2027 programming period
EU programmes are normally implemented in periods of 7 years corresponding with the Union’s multiannual financial frameworks (MFF). The EEA EFTA States have decided to participate in 13 EU programmes in the 2021-2027 programming period, either fully or partially.


EEA EFTA Participation

Horizon Europe

Iceland, Norway

European Defence Fund


Digital Europe

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway




Iceland,Liechtenstein, Norway

European Solidarity Corps


EU Programme for for Employment and Social Innovation (ESF +/EaSI)

Iceland, Norway

Single Market Programme

Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway

Union Civil Protection Mechanism

Iceland, Norway

European Space Program

Iceland, Norway

Creative Europe

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway


Iceland, Norway


Iceland, Norway


Programme Participation in Action

The participation of the EFTA States in the programmes is a good example of EFTA-EU cooperation in the Internal Market and participation of the EFTA States continues to be beneficial for both sides. Through these programmes, citizens of the EEA EFTA States have been given the opportunity to benefit from the activities put in motion by resources from all over 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.

Calls 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.


Get a glimpse of the EEA EFTA Programme participation in action:


Senior Officer
Internal Market Division

+32 2 28 61 704

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