General Data Protection Regulation incorporated into the EEA Agreement

Published 06-07-2018
From left: Oda Sletnes, Ambassador of Norway and Chair of the Joint Committee, Kristinn F. Árnason, EFTA Secretary-General, Dag Wernø Holter, EFTA Deputy Secretary-General.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was among 69 EU legal acts incorporated into the EEA Agreement by the EEA Joint Committee in Brussels on 6 July 2018. The regulation will enter into force in all three EEA EFTA States mid-July.

The GDPR (EU) 2016/679 entered into force in the EU on 25 May 2018. A lot of work has been undertaken in recent months to ensure its timely incorporation into the EEA Agreement within a framework that allows for a full participation without the right to vote for the EEA EFTA States within the institutional framework established by the regulation. 

In addition to the adoption of a Joint Committee Decision (JCD) incorporating the GDPR, national legislation in each EEA EFTA State must be amended in accordance with the GDPR before the act can take effect in the EEA Agreement. Once all three states notify the conclusion of the parliamentary processes (fulfilment of constitutional requirements), the GDPR becomes applicable throughout the EEA. This is expected to happen in mid-July.

Cross-border portability of online content services

Another significant adoption is the incorporation of the regulation on cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market ((EU) 2017/1128). The regulation became applicable in the EU on 1 April 2018 and enables consumers to fully use their portable online content services (films, sports events, music services, e-books, video games, etc.) travelling within the EU in the same way they access them at home.

The possibility to have access to online content services when travelling has become even more important since new roaming rules entered into force in 2017. Ever since, people who travel periodically pay domestic prices for mobile internet, subject to fair use, irrespective of where they are travelling in the EU.

As some constitutional requirements must be fulfilled in the EEA EFTA States, in accordance with Article 103 of the EEA Agreement, the entry into force of the Regulation in the EEA EFTA States is delayed until the implementation procedure has been completed.

Norway’s 6-months work programme

At the Standing Committee meeting on 5 July, Norway took over the rotating Chairmanship for the second half of 2018. Norway’s Head of Mission to the EU, Ambassador Oda Sletnes, noted, as incoming Chair, that more legal acts were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in the first half of the year that in recent years.

“So far in 2018, we have already incorporated 310 legal acts into the EEA Agreement. This is more than we have incorporated in the same period in recent years, which bodes well for our joint efforts to reduce the number of legal acts awaiting incorporation,” 

Ambassador Sletnes also presented Norway’s work programme for the coming six months, which includes three main priorities:

I. Decision Shaping:

By focusing on key issues in the pre-pipeline and pipeline stage and encouraging the preparation of EEA EFTA Comments, which serve as an important tool for influencing EEA-relevant legislation. This applies particularly to areas such as New EU programmes 2021-2027, Social Dimension and the European Pillar of Social Rights, Financial services and the revision of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), Climate Change, Environment & Energy, as well as major areas within the EU Internal Market, such as the Goods package and the proposed legislation on the Digital Single Market.

II. Decision Making:

Swiftly incorporating EU acquis to maintain homogeneity in the EEA and incorporating into the EEA Agreement legal acts that have passed the compliance date on the EU side. Ensure active and early engagement from both the EEA EFTA States and the EU side to enter into dialogue to obtain common solutions. Areas with particular attention include: Financial services, as this sector constitutes approximately half of the outstanding acts, Communication & Transport, including the incorporation and entry into force of the GDPR, Environment & Climate Change, including working on a solution for joint fulfilment of Norway and Iceland’s GHG emissions reduction target for 2030 with the EU, Energy, notably Regulation on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency (REMIT), Health & Food, including Animal Health, Official Controls along the Food Chain, Organic Production and regulations on Medical Devices, as well as incorporating the Tobacco Products Directive.

III. Other major activities include:

a) Brexit, with the aim of deepening the dialogue between the EEA EFTA States, the EU and the UK in order to preserve the integrity of the internal market, as well as to ensure that relevant parts of the Withdrawal Agreement are extended to the EEA EFTA State.

b) Cooperation; to ensure EEA EFTA participation in EEA relevant informal EU Councils and to continue and further develop political dialogues with the EU, as well as the close cooperation and dialogue with the EEA and EFTA Consultative and Parliamentary Committees.

c) Outreach; by strengthening the knowledge of the EEA Agreement and the Financial Mechanisms through the organisation of events and make full use of the available tools to disseminate EEA information. Prepare for an event on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the EEA Agreement.

Find the full Norway Chair Work Programme here.

The EEA Joint Committee also took note of two recent EEA EFTA Comments; on the Goods Package and on the EU Cybersecurity Agency (ENISA) and the Cybersecurity Act.

See all EEA EFTA Comments here

Provisional texts of Joint Committee Decisions

High resolution photos from the meetings

Head of EEA Policy Coordination
EEA Coordination Division

+32 22861 737