Norway added close to NOK 1 billion to strengthen cooperation with Latvia.
The central issues are climate and innovation.
On Thursday, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jens Frølich Holte, of Høyre (H), signed a number of cooperation agreements with Latvia, worth just over 102 million euros. The grant is part of the so-called EEA fund.
‘Europe is still facing major social challenges. Jobs must be created, social equality must be ensured, democracy, and its institutions, must be strengthened,’said European Minister, Marit Berger Røsland (H) in a press release.
The small country of Latvia, with its 1.9 million inhabitants, has an unemployment rate of 8.2%, twice as high as Norway.
A fourth of the fund, 28 million euros, will be spent on pursuing cooperation in the field of justice, with emphasis on correctional care, and combating economic crime.
Almost as much will be devoted to business development, innovation and research,where cross-Baltic research collaboration is at the centre. Climate and environmental measures are also key focus areas.
Additionally, 10 million euros will be used for local development, and cultural initiatives.
Negotiations with Latvia on the use of funds have been ongoing since June last year. A number of Norwegian academic subject areas and institutions are involved as partners in the development, and implementation, of the programs.
NTB Scanpix / Norway Today