Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre commented, “Contact between Norway and Hungary will be strengthened through the environmental innovation programme. Our aim is to enhance our cooperation in several areas in the years to come.”
Norway signed a new agreement with Hungary today, 12 October, with a total framework of NOK 1.2 billion for the period up to 2014.
The green innovation programme will seek to increase the use of environmentally sound technology and reduce releases to air and water in Hungary. The programme will be administered by Innovation Norway. There will be extensive opportunities for cooperation between Norwegian companies and Hungarian partners.
In addition to the funding for green innovation, around NOK 200 million has been earmarked for environmental projects. Adaptation to climate change and energy efficiency measures in public buildings are priority areas. Norway’s Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning is involved in some of these projects.
Support for civil society is to be increased and funding for NGOs will be doubled to around NOK 100 million compared with the period 2004–2009.
The research cooperation between Norway and Hungary will continue. In the previous programme period, several projects, for example on new robot technology in the health sector, won international recognition. The research fund totals NOK 190 million, and the priorities are the environment and health sectors. The Research Council of Norway is engaged in this cooperation. The exchange of students and staff between education institutions in Hungary and the donor countries will be continuing. The Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU) in Bergen is involved in this work on the part of Norway.
Vulnerable groups are a separate focus area in the cooperation between Norway and Hungary, particularly the Roma people, who are a large and vulnerable minority in Hungary. The Council of Europe is a new partner in efforts to assist children and young people. Cooperation will also continue in the health sector, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is engaged in a major health programme. Mental health is an important focus area.
The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage is engaged in cooperation with Hungary on the conservation of important elements of European cultural heritage.
The EEA and Norway Grants are jointly funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Norway provides around 97% of the total funding.