Social partners representing workers' and employers' organisations and other interest groups from both the EU and three EEA EFTA States met for the 31st time in Stockholm, Sweden on 14 and 15 March 2023 for the annual plenary session of the European Economic Area Consultative Committee (EEA CC) The social partners discussed two resolutions and reports on energy resilience in the EEA and the future cooperation of the European Political Community (EPC).
The social partners also adopted a joint statement where they emphasised the importance of the close cooperation of the EEA EFTA States and EU in times of geopolitical uncertainty. They underlined that the EEA States should do everything in their power to prevent ‘war fatigue’, and support Ukraine for as long as it takes.
The meeting brought together social partners from all EEA countries, both from the EFTA Consultative Committee (CC) and European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and it was co-chaired by Ellen Nygren from the EESC and Kristin Hansen from the EFTA CC.
Long-term energy resilience in the EEA and geopolitical shifts in Europe
The EEA CC, in a resolution and report on the energy resilience in the EEA in view of the geopolitical landscape, argued that the energy crisis is first and foremost a result of a sudden undersupply and endorsed the need for short-term measures. It supported the intention of ensuring that Europe’s electricity market design is well-adapted to an electricity system that moves towards climate neutrality, with the objective of delivering affordable electricity prices for consumers and businesses. The resolution and report were drafted by Nora Hansen from the EFTA side and Alena Mastantuono from the EESC side, with assistance from Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala.
At the meeting, Alena Mastantuono from the EU social partners stressed that the cooperation between the EEA EFTA States and the EU was more important than ever.
The Committee discussed the future cooperation of the European Political Community (EPC) and welcomed the first important steps of the EPC. In their discussions they emphasised that the EPC, if successful, should send a clear message to anti-democratic regimes that violations of human rights, freedom of speech, democracy, rule of law and legal certainty and aggression against neighbouring countries were unacceptable. Violators would face a common European response, possibly sanctions. The resolution and report were drafted by Dr István Komoroczki from the EESC and Jarle Hammerstad from the EFTA social partners.
In addition, the social partners discussed competitiveness and productivity with a representative from the Swedish Presidency of the European Council, Eva Sjögren, Director General for EU Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office. The Committee also discussed developments in the EEA Agreement with Jørn Gloslie, Director at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who represented the Norwegian Chairmanship of the Standing Committee of the EFTA States.
The EEA Consultative Committee is an advisory body made up of members of the EFTA Consultative Committee and the European Economic and Social Committee. The Committee works to strengthen contacts between the social partners on both sides and to cooperate in an organised and regular manner to enhance awareness of and provide input on the economic and social aspects of the EEA.
Read the article by the European Economic and Social Committee about this meeting here
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