For the first time, a Slovak president will make a state visit to Norway.Cooperation between the two countries is increasing, much thanks to a pot of 268 million euros in EEA funds from Norway.
When Slovakian President, Andrej Kiska visits the Norwegian royal couple this week, it is a reminder of the state visit from Norway to Slovakia in 2010.
The purpose was to strengthen relations between the countries, and the UD felt that the cooperation between the countries could advantageously be expanded in most fields. Eight years later, development is positive, but the potential for enhanced cooperation is still high,’’ said Norway’s ambassador to Slovakia, Inga Magistad, to NTB news.
“The most important point of contact between Norway and Slovakia is the EEA funding arrangement, where we first contributed approximately 70 million euros from 2004. The scheme was continued for the period 2009-2014, and Norway’s contribution increased to about 80 million euros. In the current period,our contribution is 113 million euros,” said the ambassador.
The funds provide for expanding cooperation in several new areas, while contributing to ongoing relationships.
In 2010, Norway had around 300 students in Slovakia, today there are twice as many, most of them studying medicine or becoming veterinarians. Representatives will attend the state visit during the week. Since 2010, Norway has launched a new series of cooperation programs.
“We have worked extensively on social issues, including building shelters for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. We have collaborated on the cultural heritage side, for example, the Norwegian ‘Riksdag’ has participated in the evaluation and restoration of cultural heritage here. We have also seen a gratifying strengthening of cooperation in innovation and business, especially in the green economy and climate sectors,” said Magistad.
At the same time, already established Norwegian companies, such as aluminum manufacturers,Slovalco and Timmi Timm, have expanded since 2010.
“We have also introduced a few new and exciting companies, such as Vissim, which operates in radar technology, and ‘Itera’ within IT services. The mortgaging group, Tomra is also here,’’ said Magistad.
Much of the thematic content revolves around nature, innovation, renewable energy, and the green shift. In parallel with the program for the president and the royal host, the NHO and the Slovak Embassy have organised the business seminar “Building smarter cities” on Monday.
“The Slovaks are interested in learning from us in several areas where we have come a long way in Norway. For example, electric car use and facilitation, waste sorting and recycling and renewable energy,’’ said Magistad.
King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will welcome the president on Monday, and during the visits on Tuesday, while Crown Prince Haakon will accompany President Kiska when the program eventually continues in Bergen on Wednesday.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today