EFTA Council meets for first time in 2024 and fourth time with Switzerland as Chair

Published 31-01-2024

The EFTA Council met in Geneva on Tuesday 30 January for its first meeting in 2024 and its fourth with Switzerland as Chair.  

The Council approved the appointments of Mr Thordur Jonsson from Iceland and Mr Knut Hermansen from Norway as Deputy Secretary-Generals of EFTA in Brussels, starting on 1 September 2024.  

On EFTA–EU relations, the Council was briefed on the recent activities of Subcommittees I-IV, the EFTA Standing Committee and the EU Joint Committee. The Secretariat provided a briefing on upcoming events to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the EEA, and the Council heard updates on recent EU policy developments relevant to EFTA.  

On relations with third countries, Member States discussed progress on the processes with Chile, India and Thailand. Notably, a revised agreement had just been concluded with Chile in January 2024. The India process was moving forward, and the Parties were aiming to conclude negotiations as soon as possible. And at the time of the Council meeting, EFTA experts were in Bangkok for the eighth round of negotiations with Thailand.  

The Secretariat provided a status overview of horizontal issues, where EFTA’s work on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), trade and sustainable development, and preference utilisation were discussed. The Council welcomed in particular that the updated EFTA–Chile Free Trade Agreement would provide a baseline chapter on SMEs for EFTA to use in future negotiations.  

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Monday 18 March 2024.

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