The EFTA Council has approved an arrangement with Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, regarding technical cooperation in the field of statistics. It will cover a three-year period, from 2017 to 2019, and involves a financial commitment amounting to EUR 2.1 million over the three years, which is the same amount as in the previous period.
The general objective of the new arrangement is to ensure further close cooperation between the EFTA States and Eurostat in a number of programmes for technical cooperation within the field of statistics. Through this cooperation, EFTA seeks active and visible participation in the planning, execution and revision of joint EFTA-EU projects.
EFTA’s involvement in technical cooperation programmes under the scope of the arrangement will give priority to countries having concluded declarations on cooperation or free trade agreements with EFTA. Support will mainly be granted to developing countries and economies in transition covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), from the Western Balkans plus Turkey and Central Asia plus Mongolia. The scope of the cooperation can also include EFTA free trade and prospective partners in other regions of the world.
Two EFTA national experts will be seconded to Eurostat as part of the contribution to ensure continuity of support and EFTA visibility in the overall programming and management of EFTA-EU actions.
The EFTA Statistical Office (ESO) in Luxembourg will act as the contact point between Eurostat and the EFTA States for cooperation programmes. In this respect, ESO will participate as an observer in the various policy and management groups on statistical cooperation organised by the European Commission.
The EFTA Council also discussed the state of play in various trade-related issues, and went through the final planning for the upcoming Ministerial meeting on 21 November.
This was the second Council meeting under the Icelandic Presidency for the second half of 2016, but the first chaired by Ambassador Högni S. Kristjánsson, who presented his credentials to EFTA’s Secretary-General on 22 August.
The EFTA Council is the highest governing body of EFTA. The Council usually meets eight times a year at ambassadorial level (heads of permanent delegations to EFTA) and twice a year at Ministerial level. In the Council meetings, the delegations consult with one another, negotiate and decide on policy issues regarding EFTA. Each Member State is represented and has one vote, though decisions are usually reached through consensus.
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