European Economic Area (EEA) / Relations with the EU

The European Economic Area (EEA) unites the EU Member States and the three EEA EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) into an Internal Market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to enable goods, services, capital, and persons to move freely about the EEA in an open and competitive environment, a concept referred to as the four freedoms. Read more...

 

What is the European Economic Area (EEA)?

EEA Agreement

The Agreement on the European Economic Area, which entered into force on 1 January 1994, brings together the EU Member States and the three EEA EFTA States — Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — in a single market, referred to as the "Internal Market".

EEA Institutions

The decision-making process in the EEA Agreement is characterised by its two-pillar structure. Common bodies such as the EEA Council and the EEA Joint Committee administer the EEA Agreement. There are also two common advisory bodies: the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee and the EEA Consultative Committee.

Legal texts

Here you can find the main text of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), as well as updated versions of all Annexes and Protocols. You will also find other legal documents, such as all adopted Joint Committee Decisions and the EEA status of EU legal acts.

How the EEA works

Policy Areas

This section contains an overview of EFTA' s policy areas, sorted by the four freedoms, with links to more detailed explanations. The policy areas covered by the EEA Agreement are free movement of Goods, Services, Capital and Persons. Also covered by the Agreement are the so called Flanking and Horizontal Policies.

EEA Decision shaping

Decision shaping is the phase of preparatory work undertaken by the European Commission to draw up new legislative proposals. The EEA Agreement contains provisions for input from the EEA EFTA side at various stages before new legislation is adopted.

EU Programmes with EEA EFTA Participation

The EEA Agreement ensures participation by the three EEA EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) in a number of EU programmes. The participation of the EEA EFTA States in EU programmes is a vital part of their integration in the Internal Market and a key instrument for cooperation between the Members States in a wide range of areas.

EFTA National Experts

There are approximately 1 000 national experts seconded to the European Commission from the 28 EU Member States, the EFTA States and other countries. See the full list and contact details of the EEA EFTA national experts in this section.

EEA EFTA State's Participation in EU Agencies

A number of specialised EU agencies have been established to support the EU Member States and their citizens. The EEA EFTA States participate in the agencies below through decisions of the EEA Joint Committee. In addition, bilateral agreements with the EU ensure the participation of individual EFTA States in several other EU agencies.

EEA Supplement

A weekly legal gazette containing EEA related texts from EFTA and EU bodies, published in Icelandic and Norwegian (pdf format) on this website. Issues containing Joint Committee Decisions and EU acts incorporated into the EEA Agreement may also be ordered in printed form.

Activity

EEA EFTA Comments

One of the ways in which the EEA EFTA States participate in shaping the EC legislation, i.e. when the Commission is drawing up legislative proposals, is by submitting comments on important policy issues.

EEA Introductory Seminars

EFTA organises two types of seminars on the EEA: Introductory Seminars in September and February each year, and Policy Seminars on an ad hoc basis.