Enlargement of the EEA

Background

The EEA Agreement explicitly states that a country that becomes a member of the European Union shall also apply to become party to the EEA Agreement (Article 128). The terms and conditions for such a country to participate in the EEA Agreement shall be subject to an agreement. The latest enlargement of the EU took place on 1 January 2007 when Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU, subsequently bringing the number of countries in the EEA to 30 with almost 500 million citizens.

The negotiations

The negotiations to enlarge the EEA were launched in July 2006 in Brussels. They took place between the European Commission (also negotiating on behalf of the EU Member States), the EEA EFTA States, Bulgaria and Romania. The negotiations were conducted in a plenary setting and assisted by technical working groups in the areas of fish and marine products and of financial contributions. The EEA Enlargement Agreement was signed on 25 July 2007 in Brussels.

The main results

The negotiations focused on the financial contributions by the EEA EFTA States towards the reduction of social and economic disparities within the EEA and on questions of market access for fish exports from the EEA EFTA States to the enlarged EU.