On 25 January, the EFTA Consultative Committee met with EFTA Ambassadors to the European Union to discuss major developments with regard to the EEA Agreement, the status of Swiss-EU bilateral agreements and the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.
The meeting was chaired by the Ambassador of Liechtenstein, Sabine Monauni, Vice Chair of the EFTA Standing Committee. In her opening remarks, she highlighted the EEA Joint Committee's adoption of the first package of decisions related to the European Financial Supervisory Authorities in September 2016 as an important achievement.
“Financial services are essential for a well-functioning Single Market, and we have now agreed on a solution that ensures regulatory homogeneity throughout the EEA and continued access for EEA EFTA operators to the market,” Ambassador Monauni said.
When referring to Brexit, Ms Monauni noted that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would have consequences for the EEA Agreement, as the UK would leave the EEA cooperation when leaving the EU.
“It is crucial to have a continuous exchange of information between the EU and the EEA EFTA States on the future relations between the EU and the UK as soon as Article 50 is triggered,” she said.
“Because the EEA EFTA States are so closely integrated in the Internal Market through the EEA Agreement, we are not an ordinary third party, and we have a legitimate expectation to be consulted in any discussions that affect the EEA Agreement. The EEA EFTA States have already raised the need for close consultation on this issue with our EU partners, both in the EEA Council and in the EEA Joint Committee.”
The future of work and labour law in a digital age
Earlier in the day, the Consultative Committee held a joint meeting with two EFTA working groups; the Working Group on Health and Safety at Work and Labour Law, and the Working Group on Free Movement of Persons, Employment and Social Policy. The extensive half-day agenda covered a range of topics.
Several speakers from the European Commission were also invited to brief the working groups on the European Pillar of Social Rights and the New Skills Agenda for Europe.
The agenda also included a panel debate on the future of work and labour law in a digital age, in which representatives of BusinessEurope, The Conference Board, The European Trade Union Confederation and a Professor in Law at Oxford University were among the speakers. The debate highlighted the challenges and possibilities of work and labour law in an ever-expanding digital age where demand and supply for workers, jobs and services are in flux.
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