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Oprea: Romania is interested in attracting Norwegian funds as soon as possible

radu stefan oprea

The meeting of the European Economic Area Council (EEA Council) on Monday will focus on assessing the agreement among states in this area and discussing climate change, with Romania being interested first of all in attracting Norwegian funds as soon as possible, Minister for Business Milieu, Trade and Entrepreneurship Stefan Oprea stated on Monday.

"We are presiding the 51st meeting of the European Economic Area Council. This is that precise area in which Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway benefit from the internal market, from all the advantages offered by the internal market. It's a mechanism that has been in place for 25 years now, which is why we will also have a ceremony, besides the meeting itself, a seminar where we'll celebrate the 25th anniversary since the coming into force of this agreement, which functions very well, through flexibility, and it's appreciated," showed the Minister.

Moreover, another important topic is climate change and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

"We are having an informal working breakfast, where we will approach other issues too, with the ministers of foreign affairs from these countries, and I believe that we will have very good and fruitful discussions, as we are already used to have. We will discuss about the relations between the European Union and China and the European Union and the United States of America and of course that we should mention here that: as a result of our efforts, as ministers of trade, we already see that president Trump postponed his decision by 180 days, and I would say that this is a fair stage and our assessment was the best, in the sense that, while maintaining the dialogue, we can find the solution together to avoid a commercial war," continued Oprea.

In this context, the minister underscored that Romania is very interested in attracting Norwegian funds as soon as possible.

"What interests us are the Norwegian funds, the financial mechanism beyond this Council of the European Economic Area and we expect these funds to be as soon as possible available for us too. We are still discussing the matter, but Romania has already made the necessary steps and I believe that Norwegian funds can contribute to this cohesion. Let's not forget that our main priority, the motto of our presidency of the Council of European Union is cohesion, a common European value and including the Norwegian funds are those who bring cohesion inside the European Union," said Oprea.

Romania is the second beneficiary, in terms of value, and the first signatory of the memorandum of understanding for the 2014-2021 period, with a total of 500 million euros.

Oprea also added that, since there are three non-EU member states involved, the Council meeting will have a working format especially established with these states.

The Agreement regarding the European Economic Area (EEA) came into force on January 1, 1994 gathering EU member states and the three AELS states - Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway - in a small market called "the internal market." The EEA Agreement guarantees equal rights and obligations inside the Internal Market for individuals and economic operators in the EEA. It also stipulates that the EU laws on the four freedoms - free movement of merchandise, services, persons and capital - be incorporated in all the 31 states of the EEA.

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