EFTA Council prepares for the Ministerial meeting

Published 11-05-2021
Top row, from left: Pascal Schafhauser, EFTA Deputy Secretary-General, Patrick Ritter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein, Didier Chambovey, Ambassador of Switzerland. Mid row: Harald Aspelund, Ambassador of Iceland, Dagfinn Sørli, Ambassador of Norway and Council Chair, Krisztina Bende, Director Trade Relations Division. Low row: Helga Helland, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway, Henri Gétaz, EFTA Secretary-General, Andri Lúthersson, EFTA Deputy Secretary-General.

On 11 May, the third EFTA Council meeting of 2021 was held through videoconference, chaired by Norway.

Having an extensive agenda in advance of the Ministerial meeting scheduled 31 May, delegates took time to go through the preparations for the event. They opted for a fully virtual Ministerial, making it the second in a row to be held this way.

On EFTA–EU cooperation, the Council was informed about the latest developments in Brussels, where COVID-19-related matters continue to hold centre stage. The Council took note of the rectification for the EEA EFTA States to be included in the list of exempted countries of the EU vaccine export authorisation scheme. Furthermore, they also took note of the agreement reached on the modalities for the EEA EFTA States participation in the new generation of EU Programmes (2021-2027). Concerning the development of the EEA Agreement, the Joint Committee had on 23 April adopted 30 JCDs, incorporating 35 legal acts into the EEA Agreement. The Council also took note that the preparations for the EEA Council meeting on 28 May were well underway.

The Council discussed recent developments in trade relations with ASEAN, Chile and Moldova. The Secretary-General reported from his meeting with H.E Dr Jerry Sambuaga, Vice Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, that took place on 30 April.

The delegates took note of the various ongoing horizontal policy developments at EFTA related to trade agreements: focus on trade and sustainable development, the utilisation rates project, technical cooperation, and transparency.

The next Council meeting is scheduled to take place on 15 June 2021.

Further information on the Council Chairmanship can be found on the EFTA website.

The Council Conclusions are available after the Council meetings on the EFTA public journal.


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