They both agreed that the future Cohesion Policy for the period 2014 – 2020 is among the most important investment policies in Europe to recover from the economic and financial crisis in Europe. This policy is needed to get Europe back on a sustainable growth path.
In this connection also the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (Interreg) are of importance to create growth and jobs throughout the whole of Europe (including Norway).
Norwegian participation in the European Territorial Cooperation programmes also promotes Norwegian local, regional and national partners to cooperate with partners throughout Europe, says the Norwegian minister.
As partners in many territorial co-operation programmes Norway has been able to participate in projects and address issues of importance for regional development in the whole country. An important experience has been that the most successful projects also were given high priority in regional development plans in the participating counties.
The EU has for a long time discussed and negotiated the Financial Framework for 2014-2020, including European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg). In the draft regulation for European Territorial Cooperation, The European Commission proposed that non-member countries like Norway, could not any longer participate in projects as Lead Partners. I appreciate very much that the European Parliament has proposed amendments in the regulations and allows also in the future Norwegian Lead Partners in projects, says minister Navarsete.
Even if Norway is not a member of the EU, Norwegian partners on both national, regional and local level have been committed partners delivering added value to the implementation and the overall objectives of the Baltic Sea Programme and to the Baltic Sea Strategy says Ms. Hübner. Currently we are having 53 partners from Norway on board – both as lead partners and partners, says Ms. Hübner.
Ms. Hübner also welcomes that Norwegian partners will continue their commitment and contribution in the same way for the next programming period.
Norway is one of the most sparsely populated and peripheral countries in Europe. The long distances and poor accessibility is a challenge for people, services and well-functioning labour-markets and local economy. In my meeting with Ms. Hübner I have underlined that these challenges demands flexibility regarding different regional policy tools, including regional state aid, says the minister.
Liv Signe Navarsete and Danuta Hübner (Photo: Axel Rød/Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development)