Norway grants more funds to Poland
Marit Berger Røsland’s visit took place on the very day, though, that the EU threatened to take away Poland’s voting rights because of its conservative government’s controversial reforms.
Norway’s concerns about political developments in Poland delayed disbursement of the financial aid it extends to the country in partnership with Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The three non-EU members, through their membership in the European Economic Area (EEA/EØS) are obligated to pay EUR 2.8 billion to the EU for the period 2014-2021 in order to be part of its inner market.
The money is shared by 15 recipient countries, with Poland getting the largest share of the money (EUR 809.3 million). Norway finances around 98 percent of the EEA budget, while Iceland and Liechtenstein contribute the remainder.
Poland has received financial aid in the form of EEA funding ever since it became a member of the EU in 2004: EUR 558.6 million from 2004 to 2009, another EUR 578.1 million from 2009 to 2014 and, now, EUR 809.3 million for the period 2014 to 2021.
Norway’s new EU/EEA minister Røsland admitted that negotiations for the current disbursement have been “demanding.” Polish authorities wanted their government to be able to control how the money would be spent.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) had reported in October that Poland’s government didn’t want any of the money donated to Poland by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to go feminists, gay rights groups or others who did not conform to the government’s deeply conservative profile.
Norway and its EEA partners demanded, however, that funding must be managed by independent organizations that would funnel it to intended recipients in a wide variety of areas from business development and innovation, to research, education, health care, the environment, culture and civilian society. ■