The Standing Committee of the EFTA States and the EEA Joint Committee met in Brussels on 14 and 15 December 2017 respectively. At its 219th meeting – the last one of the year – the EEA Joint Committee adopted 40 decisions incorporating 100 legal acts into the EEA Agreement.
In the Standing Committee, the incoming Icelandic Chair presented its work programme for the first half of 2018, highlighting the main horizontal and thematic priorities under the Standing Committee structure. Among these are commitments to reduce the number of acts awaiting incorporation, to preserve the integrity of the Internal Market during any transition phase regarding Brexit, and to influence EEA-relevant legislation and strengthen knowledge of the EEA Agreement and the EEA Financial Mechanism.
The key objective of the work programme is to ensure a well-functioning Internal Market across all policy areas covered by the EEA Agreement, including climate change, energy and environment. The programme further aims to fully extend the Digital Single Market to the EEA EFTA States through the timely incorporation of related legal acts. Early preparation is also crucial to ensure the timely participation of the EEA EFTA States in the follow-up programmes to Horizon 2020, Erasmus+ and Creative Europe within the fields of research and innovation, education and culture. Finally, the programme highlights the importance of monitoring developments under the Pillar of Social Rights.
In total, the EEA Joint Committee met eight times in 2017 and adopted 247 decisions incorporating 514 legal acts. Discussions in the EEA Joint Committee focused on how to further improve the processing of acquis and to reduce the number of legal acts awaiting incorporation, in particular with regard to the backlog of acts in the field of financial services. Among the more significant decisions adopted by the EEA Joint Committee were those concerning organic production and labelling of organic products, medicinal products for paediatric use, the Third Package for the Internal Energy Market and rules for wholesale roaming markets.
The European Commission provided the EFTA States with a briefing on its work programme for 2018, including measures to put in place the Digital Single Market and Energy Union, ensure fair taxation of companies and social fairness, complete the Capital Markets Union, strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union and Banking Union, further combat terrorism and establish the blueprint for the EU’s next multiannual financial framework.
The Head of the Mission of Liechtenstein to the European Union, Ambassador Sabine Monauni, chaired the EEA Joint Committee meeting. The EU Chair was represented by Mr Claude Maerten from European External Action Service.
The EEA Joint Committee is responsible for the management of the EEA Agreement and typically meets six to eight times a year. It is a forum in which views are exchanged and decisions are taken by consensus to incorporate EU legislation into the EEA Agreement.
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