On 15 June 2015, the EFTA Secretariat organised a policy seminar focusing on the importance of the Internal Market for growth in Europe, with keynote speeches by Vidar Helgesen, Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs, and Andreas Schwab MEP.
A regulation concerning novel foods and novel food ingredients was among the 57 legal acts incorporated into the EEA Agreement by the EEA Joint Committee on 11 June 2015.
On 10 June, EFTA unveiled a major upgrade of its EEA-Lex service, offering improved search functionalities and individual web pages for each legal act. EEA-Lex is an interactive tool offering information on EU law that has been extended to the European Economic Area (EEA) or is under consideration for extension.
On 1 June 2015, an EEA Joint Committee Decision from 2014 to extend EU rules on plant protection products (PPPs) to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway entered into force, with the aim of strengthening the enforcement of human health and environmental legislation.
At the 43rd meeting of the EEA Council, held in Brussels on 18 May 2015, Ministers discussed the current situation of the cooperation within the EEA, focussing on the importance of maintaining and further developing a homogenous internal market as an engine for growth throughout the EEA. An orientation debate was held on the new “Digital Agenda”. The ongoing negotiations for a continuation of the EEA Financial Mechanisms for another term were also discussed.
“Over the past 20 years, Liechtenstein has been able to prove that it is a reliable partner for the EU as well as Norway and Iceland,” stated Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick before a crowded audience in the Town Hall of Liechtenstein’s capital, Vaduz, as the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of its EEA membership on 11 May 2015.
On 30 April 2015, the EEA Joint Committee adopted 56 decisions incorporating 154 legal acts into the EEA Agreement. Among them were regulations on the Internal Market Information System (IMI), the rights of bus and coach passengers and the rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterways.
It is important to increase the dialogue between the EU and the EEA EFTA States on developments in the TTIP negotiations in order to ensure homogeneity of the EEA, state Members of the European Parliament and parliamentarians from the EEA EFTA States in a resolution adopted by the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee (EEA JPC) in March 2015.
The EEA-Lex look-up tool on EFTA's website has been expanded to include links to Icelandic and Norwegian translations of EU legal acts published in the EEA Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union. EEA-Lex offers information about the status of EU acts that have been incorporated into the EEA Agreement or are under consideration for future incorporation.
On 26 March 2015, a meeting on the independent review of the European Standardisation System arranged by the European Commission, was hosted by the EFTA Secretariat. 112 participants had registered for the meeting and represented EU and EFTA States, industry, European and national standards organisations, Annex III organisations and other stakeholders.