On 15 and 16 November the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee (EEA JPC) convened in Strasbourg to discuss several current topics high on the agenda in Europe today. These included Brexit, the Clean Energy package and challenges in the EEA with regard to EU agencies.
The meeting was chaired by Mr Svein Roald Hansen, Chair of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee, and Mr Jørn Dohrmann, Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
The EEA JPC met with representatives of the EEA Joint Committee and the EEA Council to receive an update on recent developments in the EEA, and the EEA and Norway Grants. As the EEA JPC’s primary objective is to follow developments in the EEA and to give its views on topics for discussion at the earliest stage possible, this biannual meeting is of great importance.
An important topic on the EEA JPC’s agenda was the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the role of the European Parliament (EP) in this process. In a statement, Mr Elfried Hasler, Vice Chair of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee said:
“The EEA Agreement establishes rights and obligations of the 31 participating states and their citizens and economic operators. Important elements of these rights and obligations, such as citizens’ rights, are being addressed in the first stage of the Brexit negotiations. For the EEA EFTA States, it is crucial that the EEA dimension is taken into account in these negotiations, as we apply the same rights in the EEA EFTA States as those that are applied in the EU.”
The briefing on Brexit was given by MEPs in the Brexit Steering Group: Mr Philippe Lamberts (Greens-EFA), Ms Danuta Hübner (EPP), and Mr Elmar Brok (EPP). The Steering Group coordinates and prepares the EP’s deliberations, considerations and resolutions on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Also discussed was the Energy Union and recent developments in the Clean Energy Package. A briefing was given on the progress on the redesign of the electricity market and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), and on the Governance of the Energy Union. The EP’s shadow rapporteurs Ms Kaja Kallas (ALDE) and Mr Hans-Olaf Henkel (ECR) reported to the parliamentarians. Also the EP shadow-rapporteur, Mr Gunnar Hökmark (EPP), briefed the group on the Governance proposal.
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