EFTA Council welcomes the new Norwegian Chair and prepares for the first half of 2021

Published 02-02-2021
Clockwise from left: Dagfinn Sørli, Ambassador of Norway and Council Chair, Didier Chambovey, Ambassador of Switzerland, Hege Marie Hoff, EFTA Deputy Secretary-General, Henri Gétaz, EFTA Secretary-General, Krisztina Bende, EFTA Trade Relations Division Director, Harald Aspelund, Ambassador of Iceland, and Peter Matt, Ambassador of Liechtenstein.

The EFTA Council met for the first time under the Norwegian chairmanship on 2 February 2021, via videoconference. As Chair, Norway set the priorities for the next six months. Besides the management and development of existing FTAs and further extending the worldwide network, focus will be on the implementation of transparency measures with respect to trade negotiations. The Council will foster close dialogue and consultation with the EFTA advisory bodies. Furthermore, it will enhance the reporting on trade and sustainable development and will conclude the discussion on sustainability impact assessments within the EFTA framework. The full list of priorities can be found here.

During the meeting, the Council approved a number of technical and statistical cooperation projects. In addition, delegates discussed the upcoming trade negotiation rounds with Chile and Moldova. For the EFTA spokesperson role, they approved the appointment of Iceland for the negotiations with Moldova, and of Switzerland for negotiations with Thailand and Kosovo. The Council also discussed relevant policy developments and high-level meetings that had taken place since the last meeting, including developments regarding the UK.

The Norwegian Chair informed the Council that the date for the upcoming formal Ministerial meeting was now 31 May 2021.

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 upon policy issues regarding EFTA. Each Member State is represented and decisions are reached through consensus.

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 Register.


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