EFTA Consultative Committee discusses EEA affairs and trade relations with Ministers

Published 23-11-2018
The meeting with Ministers in Geneva was chaired by Halldór Árnason from the Confederation of Icelandic Employers.
On 20 and to 23 November 2018, the EFTA Consultative Committee (EFTA CC), which brings together representatives of employers’ associations and trade unions in the four EFTA countries, met in Brussels and Geneva.

The EFTA CC met jointly with the EFTA Parliamentary Committee and the Ministers from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in Brussels to discuss issues linked to the EEA Agreement with the EU. The impact of Brexit on the EEA Agreement was among the issues discussed.

In Geneva, the Committee discussed EFTA’s trade relations with third countries with all four EFTA Ministers from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The EFTA CC meeting, chaired by Mr Halldór Árnason from the Confederation of Icelandic Employers, also included a number of presentations to brief the committee on ongoing processes and relations with the European Union.  There were updates on the European Pillar of Social Rights, including the European Labour Authority; and on the European Commission’s proposal for EU legislation on whistleblower protection from April this year. EEA participation in EU programmes for the period 2021-2027, trends that are shaping innovation and thus also labour markets in the digital age, were also on the agenda.

The EFTA CC elected a new leadership and adopted its work programme for 2019, with priorities and activities for the coming year. Regarding EFTA’s third-country relations, the EFTA CC will follow developments in the EU that have an impact on the EFTA labour market, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights and Brexit negotiations. It will also continue to focus on the inclusion of model provisions on labour and environmental standards in free trade agreements (FTAs).

On Tuesday, the EFTA CC also met with EFTA Deputy Secretary General, Mr Andri Lúthersson, for a joint reflection on the future work of the Consultative Committee.

The EFTA CC is a vital platform for dialogue and consultation between the EFTA social partners and the EFTA authorities. By providing input to the work of both the Standing Committee of the EFTA States and the EFTA Ministerial Council, the Committee aims to raise awareness of the social and economic aspects of the FTAs and the EEA, and of the role of the social partners in taking part in the shaping of EFTA and the EEA agenda to influence policies that affect them.

Find high-resolution pictures from the meetings here


The presentations:

EEA participation in EU programmes 2021-2027Egill Eyjólfsson, Budget Officer in the Internal Market Division,
EFTA Secretariat
Trends shaping innovation in the digital age – consequences for businesses and labour markets - Natacha Faullimmel, European Political Strategy Centre
EU on the agenda at local and regional level - Marthe Indset, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR), Oslo Met University
A Sustainable Europe in 2030Saïd El Khadraoui, European Political Strategy Centre
The European Pillar of Social Rights, including the European Labour AuthorityMona Næss, Counsellor for Labour and Social Affairs at the Mission of Norway to the EU
Whistle-Blower ProtectionEwa Biernat, DG JUST
Labour provisions in trade agreementsDamian Raess, World Trade Institute (WTI), University of Bern and School of Politics, Economics and International Relations, University of Reading
Developments in global digital trade - Dr Mira Burri, Senior Lecturer and Managing Director of Internationalization in the Faculty of Law, University of Lucerne
Growth with Equity - assessment of labour provisions in trade and investment arrangementsMs Marva Corley, Chief of the Globalization, Competitiveness and Labour Standards unit, and Ms Elizabeth Manrique Echeverria, Research Officer on Labour Law, International Labour Organization


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