Through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, signed in the city of Oporto in May 1992, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are partners, in the internal market, of the Member States of the European Union.
As a way of promoting a continuous and balanced strengthening of the economic and trade relations, the parties of the European Economic Area Agreement have established a Multiannual Financial Mechanism, known as the EEA Grants, through which Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway provide financial support to Member States of the European Union with the greatest deviations from the European average GDP per capita, which includes Portugal.
EEA Grants Objectives
The two major EEA Grants objectives are:
- To reduce the economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area
- To strengthen the bilateral relations between beneficiary and donor countries.
EEA Grants support to Portugal
Since the entry into force of the Agreement in 1994, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as donor States, have contributed to Portugal's economic and social development.
- EEA Grants 1994-1999 - 105M€ of outright grants and 315M€ of soft loan.
- EEA Grants 1999-2003 - 21,288,800€ grant applied in full to the area of urban rehabilitation.
- EEA Grants 2004-2009 - allocation of a 30,067,200€ grant, attributed to the priority sectors of heritage conservation, environmental protection, sustainable development, human resource development, health and childcare and research and development.
- EEA Grants 2009-2014 - net allocation of 53,603,750€, destined to promote a close cooperation between the institutional entities and partners of the donors and beneficiaries States, in projects linked to the following programmatic areas:
- Marine and Inland Waters
- Renewable energies
- Climatic changes
- Non-Governmental Organizations
- Public health
- Gender Equality and Work Life Balance
- Cultural Heritage and Arts
- EEA Grants 2014-2021 - a global allocation of 102.7M€ will support five programmes:
- Blue Growth
- Conciliation and Gender Equality
- Active Citizens Fund
In addition to these five programmes, it also exists the Fund for Bilateral Relations. This fund supports initiatives aimed at strengthening the relations between Portugal and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.