Norway funding Poland's growth?

While taking a trip to visit my parents-in-law in their village about 1 hour from Kraków, we passed through many little towns and villages on the way. As we travelled, I noticed signs advertising a ‘Norway Grant’ and it seemed familiar to me. Finally, I remembered that it was also advertised on the makeover of the Sukiennice in the Kraków Rynek. My interest was raised, as it is one thing to see it on one of the main attractions in Kraków city centre, but another to see it in small towns on the borders of the Śląsk/Małopolska (Silesia/Lesser Poland) voivodship border. I decided to do some research.

The EEA & Norway Grants have been in place since 2004, as a mechanism through which Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland (as members of the European Economic Area) agreed to pool funds in order to minimise social and economic disparity in Europe. The fund is aimed at 15 countries in Central and Southern Europe (including Poland) where the economic levels and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are much lower than other parts of Europe.

The grants have been assigned in the form of individual projects, larger programmes or in block grants. However, the main criteria used for determining which countries get funding are population and GDP per capita. This means that Poland is actually the biggest beneficiary in this programme, receiving 43% of funds allocated so far. And interestingly, on the opposite side, Norway is the biggest contributor by far. It supplies 97% of the funding for both the EEA and Norway Grant programmes. This means that Norway and Poland have a strong working relationship due to this interaction.

As a result of the above effect of Norway being key contributor and Poland being the biggest receiver, it means that Poland has received over €550 million since the grant programme began. This would be almost 2.25 billion PLN using today’s conversion rates. Some of the key areas in which funding have been focused include:

–          Environmental improvements, by improving energy efficiency in over 300 public buildings.

–          Conservation of Poland’s cultural heritage

–          Improvement of border controls in line with the Schengen agreement

–          Strengthening police cooperation against organised and cross-border crime

Some of the more interesting projects that caught my eye include:

–          Krakow Sukiennice improvements

–          The Carpathian Troy Open-Air Museum, Trzcinica

–          Protection of lynx, wolf and bear species in Poland

–          Psychological Causes and Consequences of Traffic Accidents

The grant programme originally ran from 2004 to 2009 but a new programme has been agreed for the years of 2009 to 2014, so this should see continued interaction between Norway and Poland.

Thus, it shows that the improvement of Poland continues with thanks to Norway and others using projects and grants such as these. So, it’s worth saying “Takk/Dzięki” to the Norwegians here!

More information on the grant programmes can be found below:

Overview of Poland’s involvement (in English):

News on Polish projects (in English):

Information from the Norwegian embassy in Warsaw on the grant programme (in Polish):

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16 thoughts on “Norway funding Poland's growth?

  1. zarazek says:

    Oh, isn’t it nice of them?

  2. Bartek says:

    As I infer from the first sentence I am the only chap behind Polandian who doesn’t have a Polish wife. Do I need to pop the question as soon as possible to become a card-carrying Polandian?

    PS. Please don’t translate names of Polish provinces. They sound more than silly in English.

  3. Wiktor says:

    About the names of Polish provinces – for the most part, I agree. They shouldn’t be translated, unless there is a historically established rendition of the name in a language other than Polish. Silesia being a case in point – and the only to help foreigners see its location with their mind’s eye (as the historically established name may be familiar to them, thus making it easier to imagine the place’s location). Yes.

  4. Decoy says:

    Point taken regarding the province names!

    Regarding the wife – you should probably ‘reverse’ the trend, as you already have Polish blood in the family – and getting back on topic – you should probably find yourself a nice Norwegian girl!

  5. […] comments on how Norway supports various socio-economic projects in Poland and other Eastern and Central […]

  6. Grze$ko says:

    Great info. Just proves the point that truly socialist countries care about themselves and have enough to share around.
    PS. Please do not confuse socialism with Socialism (a kidnapped word used to describe some totalitarian regimes).

  7. Ian says:

    They have funded – “Psychological Causes and Consequences of Traffic Accidents” ?

    As someone who does not live in Poland but is in the country fairly frequently I could have answered this question quite easily!

    Would have saved them some money as well!

    I’ll wait for the howls of abuse from Polish people now saying what good drivers they are or that there are bad drivers in the UK…….

  8. Radek says:

    Well, this is really the only (rather insufficient) way that Norway contributes to the EU, in return for access to markets. I would say that Norway is the clear winner here.

  9. Kuba says:


    You are not the only one without a Polish wife. I don’t have one either. Must be me. ; )

  10. Grze$ko says:

    How many of your mates are still to marry?

  11. scatts says:

    Probably hoping Poland will send them vast quantities of cheap liquor in return.

  12. scatts says:

    Central Warsaw, early morning, yesterday. Tight streets, maximum of 50 speed limit, probably less (żelazna). Mercedes hits family car on way to family holiday. Mother and child killed instantly. Both drivers survived. Mercedes was “in the right” but to kill instantly I suspect you’d need to doing a fair bit more than 50?

    Żelazna has been a nightmare maze of stupidly erected diversions for roadworks for the last few weeks. Probably accounted for the family driver doing something silly and getting in the way of billy-big-balls’ speeding Merc who, being in the right, wouldn’t give a flying shit about anyone who got in his way.

    Now a mother and young child are dead.

    Sad. All too common.

  13. Ian says:


    Last time I was over in Warsaw I was walking from Arkadia to get a tram back into the Centre. On the roundabout there I could see a HGV coming around the roundabout to turn left, the HGV had it’s indicators on. Another car came around the HGV on the outside of the roundabout and was going past the turning on the roundabout (easier if I drew it on a napkin!), but for the HGV driver slamming his brakes on the occupants of the car would have been dead.

    There were some traffic lights that the car had to stop at right in front of me, the HGV driver came running from his cab and was screaming at the car driver, the car driver basically looked at him with a look of “Where did you come from?”

    This is my thing against Polish drivers, they have no concept or consideration of anything else being on the road. Hate to think what I will have to be like when I come over there on my motorbike! Fortunately that will be about 4 years away….

    I am aware of some of the ex-pats getting out of their cars and kicking other people’s before now!

  14. Cosi says:

    I remember seeing medical equipment signed with the stickers saying “Dar rządu Norwegii” (or something similar) in a hospital ward in Katowice back in the mid 90’s. Polish health service was in a horrible condition then. Everything lacked, even syringes and latex gloves.

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