The 56th Annual Report of the European Free Trade Association has been published. The report contains an overview of the functions and activities of EFTA throughout 2016 in the areas of managing the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA Agreement), EFTA’s worldwide network of free trade agreements (FTAs) and the EFTA Convention.
On 21 March, at the second EFTA Council meeting in 2017 under the chairmanship of Norway, the Council discussed preparations for the upcoming EFTA Ministerial meeting in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard on 26 June 2017.
Frank Bakke-Jensen became Norway's Minister of EEA and EU Affairs in December 2016. He was interviewed by the EFTA Newsletter.
Norway, holding the rotating EFTA Council Chair for the first six months of the year, presented its priorities at the Council’s first meeting of 2017 on 8 February.
On 13 December, during its final meeting of 2016, the EFTA Council approved the budget for 2017 and reviewed the recent winter Ministerial meeting, where the possible consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union were high on the agenda.
In its last meeting of 2016, on 2 December, the EEA Joint Committee adopted 39 decisions incorporating 58 EU legal acts into the EEA Agreement, bringing the total for 2016 to 250 decisions and 405 acts. The EFTA Standing Committee met the day before, on 1 December.
On 21 November 2016, EFTA held its biannual Ministerial Meeting in Geneva. The meeting was chaired by Ms Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland.
On 10 November, at the third EFTA Council meeting in 2016 under the chairmanship of Iceland, the Council discussed preparations for the upcoming EFTA Ministerial meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 21 November.
The EFTA economic and finance ministers and ECOFIN ministers met at their annual EFTA-ECOFIN meeting to discuss economic, financial and political items of common interest. In the context of the moderate economic recovery in Europe, ministers focused their discussion on the appropriate policy strategy to strengthen the economic growth and employment, with an emphasis on boosting the subdued investments across the continent.
Ambassador Luzius Wasescha who served as Permanent Representative of Switzerland to EFTA from 2007 to 2012 sadly passed away on 12 October.