The meeting took place in Stavanger and is one of the biannual meetings of the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee’s (EEA JPC) which is composed of Members of Parliament of the EEA EFTA States and Members of the European Parliaments. The Committee’s primary objective is to follow developments in the EEA and to give its views on developments in the EU and how they affect the EEA at the earliest stage possible.
As usual, the Committee met with representatives responsible for the management of the EEA Agreement. Statements on the latest developments in the EEA were provided by Mr Boyan Natan from the Bulgarian Presidency, Mr Martin Skylv from the European External Action Service and Ambassador Bergdís Ellertsdóttir from Iceland.
The Committee adopted a written resolution expressing its opinion on the EEA Joint Committee’s work in 2017.
The EEA JPC also discussed Brexit and how it might affect the EEA. Briefings on this matter were provided by Mr Niels Engelschiøn, Director General, Department for European Affairs at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ulf Sverdrup, Director, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and Mr Jan Erik Grindheim, Civita and Associate Professor UC South East Norway.
EU wants to strengthen cyber-resilience
In September 2017, the European Commission presented a proposal on and review of cybersecurity. One important topic for the EEA is the revision of the European Agency for Network Information Security (ENISA) in which the EEA EFTA States have also participated since 2005.
ENISA has played a key role in enhancing the cybersecurity prevention work in the EEA, in particular when it comes to promoting cooperation among the member states and sharing its expertise on network information security challenges. The main goal of the future Regulation of ENISA is to step up the cooperation in the field of cybersecurity and this was one of the issues that was discussed at the EEA JPC.
Ms Julia Pitera, Member of the European Parliament from Poland, provided a briefing during the meeting. Through her language interpreter, she emphasised the nature of cyberthreats and how responsibility must be taken:
The Icelandic MP, Mr Smári McCarthy, also summarised the importance of cybersecurity to maintain privacy in the digital age:
Modernising mobility and transport in Europe
The EU Mobility Package was also discussed amongst the parliamentarians in Stavanger. Most of the legislative proposals in this package are of relevance to the EEA Agreement and are therefore of interest to the EEA JPC.
The first set of legislative proposals in this package introduces reforms on internal market and social standards, road pricing and connected mobility, while the second package foresees new emission standards and revisions on rules for clean vehicles, combined transport and passenger coach service. The third and last part of the Mobility Package, to be presented in May 2018, is expected to include new proposals on CO2 emissions for heavy-duty vehicles, e-documentation and road safety.
The Mobility Package aims at modernising and introducing innovation to the transport sector in Europe. Moreover, it represents an important step towards a low-carbon economy and to reaching EU commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
The EU #mobilitypackage is a key item on the agenda at #EEA Joint Parlimentary Committee meeting and visit in #Stavanger, a smart city. @DanielaAiuto, member of @Europarl, speaks about clean mobility. @SveinRHansen, member of @Stortinget, briefs on the social aspects of mobility. pic.twitter.com/8SJ6WP7QxT— EFTA Secretariat (@EFTAsecretariat) May 8, 2018
Ms Daniela Aiuto, Member of the European Parliament and shadow rapporteur on one of the legislative proposals, emphasized the social aspects:
“The European Parliament is working to guarantee more humane conditions for European vehicle drivers, including returning home to family and staying in hotels during rest periods.”
Mr Svein Roald Hansen, Member of the Norwegian Parliament, provided a briefing that underlined the importance of improving mobility throughout the EEA and of making the transportation section greener. “It is fitting that the EEA JPC held its meeting in Stavanger since with the support of EU funding, [it] has done a lot of work in greening its transport sector.”
Following the conclusion of its 50th meeting, members of the EEA JPC heard presentations on Smart City initiatives in Stavanger, which has the highest concentration of electric vehicles in Europe. Through the EU-funded project Triangulum, Stavanger is deploying smart city solutions which integrate energy, mobility and information & communication technologies in city districts. The goal is to reduce energy use and carbon emissions, enhance quality of life and stimulate economic development. The Triangulum further aims to replicate these smart solutions in other cities.
Find high-resolution photos from the meeting here.
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