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High level seminar on European Labour Authority and Work-Life Balance

On 13 March, the EFTA Consultative Committee (EFTA CC) and the EFTA Working Groups on Gender Equality, Anti-Discrimination and Family Policy, on Health and Safety at Work and Labour Law, and on Free Movement of Persons, Employment and Social Policy met in Brussels for a joint seminar on recent EU social policy initiatives.

EFTA ambassadors and social partners discuss data protection and Brexit

On 12 March 2018, the Standing Committee of the EFTA States and the EFTA Consultative Committee (EFTA CC) met in Norway House, Brussels. This annual meeting is an opportunity for a briefing on developments over the last year, and for the forum to discuss current EEA issues, Swiss-EU relations and future perspectives with the EFTA ambassadors.

Iceland's Foreign Minister: EFTA countries are champions of free trade

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson has been Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs since January 2017; first in the government of Bjarni Benediktsson and since 30 November in the government of Katrín Jakobsdóttir, formed by the Independence Party, the Left Green Movement and the Progressive Party. Previous to that he was Minister of Health and Social Security 2007 to 2009. He has been a member of Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, since 2003, and is a former chair of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee. Gudlaugur Thór will chair EFTA’s next Ministerial meeting, in Sauðárkrókur, Iceland, on 25 June. He spoke to the EFTA Newsletter.

EFTA-UK Trade in 2017

Last year the EFTA Secretariat published a note on trade between EFTA and the United Kingdom, highlighting the importance of the trade relationship for all EFTA States and for the UK.

EEA Joint Committee incorporates directive on bank recovery

The Standing Committee and the Joint Committee held their first meetings of 2018 in Brussels on 8 and 9 February respectively. At the Joint Committee meeting, 34 joint committee decisions (JCDs) were adopted, incorporating 51 EU legal acts into the EEA Agreement, including a directive on bank recovery.

First EFTA Council meeting of 2018

The EFTA Council met for its first meeting in 2018 on 6 February under the Icelandic Chairmanship. The Council approved a number of technical statistical cooperation activities which are coordinated by the EFTA Statistical Office in Luxembourg in close collaboration with Eurostat. Delegates took stock of ongoing free trade negotiations and developments in relations to Brexit.