EFTA through the years

Main events in the history of EFTA from 1960 until today.

1960 / 1961 / 1966 / 1970 / 1972 / 1977 / 1979 / 1984 / 1985 / 1986 / 1989 / 1991 / 1992 / 1994 / 1995 / 2000 / 2001 / 2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2007 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2013 / 2014

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is founded by Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, to promote closer economic cooperation and free trade in Europe.

Finland becomes an associate member of EFTA. The EFTA Consultative Committee is established (representatives of trade unions and employers' organisations).

Full free trade in industrial products is achieved between the EFTA States.

Iceland becomes a member of EFTA.

Denmark and the United Kingdom leave EFTA to join the European Economic Community (EEC). The remaining EFTA States sign bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with the EEC during the 1970s.

The EFTA Parliamentary Committee is established. Tariffs on industrial goods in trade are eliminated between the EEC and the EFTA States.

EFTA's first FTA is signed with Spain.

The Luxembourg Declaration on broader cooperation between the EEC and EFTA is signed.

Portugal leaves EFTA to become a member of the EEC.

Finland becomes a full member of EFTA.

Negotiations start on a European Economic Space, later to become the European Economic Area (EEA). An agreement on free trade in fish between the EFTA States is signed.

Liechtenstein becomes a member of EFTA. An FTA is signed with Turkey, EFTA's oldest agreement still in force. A further 12 FTAs are signed in the 1990s, of which three are still in force (Israel, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority). The others, all of which are with Central and Eastern European countries, lapse when those countries join the European Union (EU).

The Agreement on the European Economic Area is signed in Oporto, Portugal. Switzerland rejects participation in the EEA by referendum.

The EEA Agreement enters into force between the EU and five EFTA States. An EEA Financial Mechanism for the reduction of economic and social disparities in the EEA is established for the period 1994 to 1998.

Austria, Finland and Sweden leave EFTA to join the EU. Liechtenstein becomes a full participant in the EEA Agreement together with Iceland and Norway.

A new EEA Financial Instrument is established for the period 1999 to 2003. Eight FTAs are signed between 2000 and 2004 (in chronological order: Macedonia, Mexico, Croatia, Jordan, Singapore, Chile, Lebanon and Tunisia).

The updated EFTA Convention is signed in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, entering into force a year later.

An agreement on EEA enlargement is signed as ten Central and Southern European countries join the EU. New EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms are established for the period 2004 to 2009.

EU and EEA enlargement enter into effect simultaneously.

Five FTAs are signed between 2005 and 2008 (in chronological order: Republic of Korea, Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Egypt, Canada and Colombia). 

An agreement on EEA enlargement is signed as Bulgaria and Romania join the EU.

Iceland applies for EU membership. New Financial Mechanisms are agreed for the period 2009 to 2014. FTAs are signed with Albania, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Serbia. 

Iceland begins accessions negotiations with the EU. The EEA EFTA Forum of Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities is established. FTAs are signed with Peru and Ukraine.

FTAs are signed with Hong Kong China and Montenegro.

FTAs are signed with Bosnia and Herzegovina and with Central-America States (Costa-Rica and Panama).

An agreement on EEA enlargement is signed following the accession of Croatia to the EU.


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