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The proposal for providing Kiev, as well as Georgia and Moldova, with economic aid has been discussed by the European Committee of Norway’s parliament, the report by the Norwegian newspaper says.
The Norwegian government is ready to approve the move despite the fact that these financial tools have been earlier used mainly to support the poorest countries of the European Union, according to the report.
The discussion, which was held behind closed doors, has raised doubts among the representatives of the political and expert community, with a Norwegian politician for the Center Party, Marit Arnstad, urging for a broader dialogue. “The issue concerns the Norwegian politics in the sphere of security as the decision on providing Kiev with economic support may be interpreted as meddling in the Ukrainian conflict,” Arnstad stressed.
Asle Toje, a political scientist and scholar at Norway's Nobel Institute, said providing aid to countries that are not the members of the European Union, will differ from the current grant allocation process. “We cannot pretend that Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia will soon join the European Union, and Norway has just decided to earmark these funds to them in advance,” Toje said.
Norway contributes around 97% of the total funding of the grant programs, being fulfilled since 2004 to reduce inequality among EU member states. Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it has a broad range of responsibilities, as it is part of the European Economic Area (EEA).
The funding of grant programs has been a stumbling block in the relations between the EU and Norway this year. The sides have not yet agreed on the amount of funding, which Norway has to allocate for the next five-year period.
The EU has already asked for "considerable funds" from Norway. Over the past five years, Norway has paid over $1.8 billion to 16 countries, including Poland, Romania and Hungary, which have received a significant amount of funding.