EFTA Council meets for second time in 2024 and for fifth time under Swiss Chair

Published 18-03-2024

The EFTA Council met in Geneva on Monday 18 March for its second meeting of 2024 and the fifth one with Switzerland as Chair. 

The Council re-appointed Ms Carole Balli as the Swiss member of the EFTA Board of Auditors for the period 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2028.  

On relations with third countries, the Secretariat reported on the successful conclusion and signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) with India. Since the last Council meeting, the eighth round of negotiations with Thailand had taken place in Bangkok in the week of 29 January. Intersessional meetings had been held with Singapore on 29 February and Vietnam on 7 March, and a heads meeting had been held with Mercosur on 6 March. Moreover, the first round of negotiations to modernise the EFTA–Ukraine FTA was set to take place on 3 and 4 April. 

On EFTA–EU relations, the Secretariat reported that on 22 March the three EEA EFTA Prime Ministers would have a special gathering with their EU counterparts to celebrate 30 years of EEA cooperation. In addition, preparations for the EEA Council on 28 May were ongoing. The Council was also briefed on recent policy developments within the EU. 

Finally, the Secretariat provided a status overview of horizontal issues, namely the activities of the Working Groups on Small and Medium Enterprises, Trade and Sustainable Development, and Preference Utilisation.  

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 7 May 2024. 

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