Members of the Committee received a briefing on the TTIP by Ms Renita Bhaskar, Trade Affairs Manager and Co-ordinator for bilateral trade relations with the United States in DG Trade at the European Commission. During the briefing, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway were updated on the status of the TTIP negotiations between the EU and the United States. On behalf of the three EEA EFTA States, Ambassador Kurt Jäger, Liechtenstein, thanked the Commission for this update, given the importance that the TTIP may have for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and said that they looked forward to continuing the dialogue with the EU on this issue.
During the Joint Committee meeting, 67 legals acts were incorporated into the EEA Agreement, which gives a total number of 627 legal acts incorporated during 2014. This is the largest number of EU legal acts incorporated into the EEA Agreement since 1999. As for the number of Joint Committee Decisions that have been adopted this year, the number is 291, which is an all time record.
Among the legal acts incorporated at the meeting was the Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which aims at improving the welfare of animals used for scientific research. The directive is based on the principle of the three Rs; to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals used for scientific purposes. The directive is also intended to improve the quality of research performed within the EU and ensure high standards for animal health.
Another important act incorporated into the EEA Agreement was the Regulation on the marketing and use of explosives, which addresses the problem of the misuse of certain chemicals that are explosives precursors for the illicit manufacture of explosives which can be used to carry out terrorist attacks. Most terrorist attacks in recent years have used explosive devices, many of which were homemade from chemicals such as fertilisers. The main objectives underpinning the regulation are to prevent terrorists using explosives precursors in attacks, to provide a mechanism to alert authorities to terrorist activity and to minimise the burdens on industry and legitimate users.
The Committee also adopted a decision concerning the Regulation on noise-related operating restrictions at airports. This regulation harmonises and strengthens the rules on how authorities take decisions to set operating restrictions at European airports to limit nuisance from aircraft noise. It aims to strike a balance between citizens’ quality of life in terms of protection from aircraft noise, and the needs of air transport.
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