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Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (EFTA) are members of the Internal Market through the EEA (European Economic Area). Their participation in the internal market ultimately requires payment. The overall aim of the EEA Grants (an EEA Financial Mechanism), a scheme that has been in operation for the past two and a half years, is to utilise additional money coming from EFTA for participation in the EEA to reduce economic and social disparities across EEA countries, particularly new member states. All in all, the EEA Grants are making available €1.3 billion – of which Norway contributes around 95 percent - in support to 15 beneficiary states in Central and Southern Europe over a five-year period. The EEA has already made available close to €750 million in grant support through funds and open calls for proposals, and approved more than 200 applications.
The most recent example of this money in practice is the NIL-Slovakia Fund for Internationalisation of Education, which has recently been established with the aim to contribute to the strengthening of bi- and multilateral cooperation between Slovakia and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the field of education. A possibility to submit projects and ask for grants is open to all types of Slovak secondary schools and higher education institutions in co-operation with partners in target countries. The maximum grants are EUR 50,000 for secondary schools and EUR 150,000 for higher education institutions.