45 million euros invested in Spain by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism between 2009 and 2014, more than 400 projects financed, thousands of stories… All this was presented during the event “Small grants for big ideas. Promoting sustainable development. EEA Grants in Spain”, organized by the Spanish National Focal Point on 3 June.
More than 150 people gathered last 3 June in the Spanish Ministry of Finance to follow the results of the 45 million euros invested in Spain by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) 2009-2014. Figures say that more than 400 projects are being financed within areas such as R&D, energy, scholarships, NGOs, gender equality and culture, but behind these figures there are thousands of beneficiaries with amazing stories. Some of them were presented during the event “Small grants for big ideas. Promoting sustainable development. EEA Grants in Spain”, organized in Madrid by the Spanish National Focal Point.
These Grants have contributed to “promote sustainable development in Spain fostering bilateral cooperation and contributing to reduce disparities within the European Union”, according to the event organizers.
Stine Andresen, FMO director, highlighted that “375 million euros have been invested in Spain during the last 20 years fulfilling the objectives: reducing disparities and strengthening cooperation, giving the first push to projects that we hope will continue”.
José María Piñero, Spanish General Director of Community Funds, pointed out that the EEA Grants “have succeeded in boosting sustainable development from good ideas and talent and in improving the relationship between Spain and Norway”. “The challenge is all that will continue without the EEA Grants since Spain is not going to be recipient any more”, added Pilar Soler, National Focal Point Executive Director.
Norwegian Ambassador in Spain, Johan Christopher Vibe, reiterated Norwegian’s intention “to continuing close cooperation with Spain through other programmes”. In his assessment, he stressed that the Grants have contributed to move ahead on gender equality and sustainable development. “The good results of the cooperation programme showcases that we are different but we can learn from each other".
During the seminar, the results of the programmes were presented, as well as some of the financed projects, the real key players of the EEA Grants. For example, a small Spanish company, Adra, which is developing new textile products free of a component that has been used but is harmful to human beings. Or a research project developed by a team in the Complutense University of Madrid and the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology in order to discover new materials for renewable.
Or Actívate project, from the NGO Nova Centre, whose objective is to empower people through an innovative process. The director of the Promociona project –the aim is to encourage a higher number of women executives on Boards of Directors- highlighted the excellent results obtained on the verge of its third edition, with 190 participants.
Culture was also present in the seminar with Centre Federico García Lorca presentation and the encounter through music between Spanish flamenco and Norwegian jazz.