EFTA Parliamentarians on working visit in Brussels

Published 09-10-2019
Mr Smári McCarthy, Chair of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee (third from left) speaking during a meeting with Mr David McAllister, Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs
On 9 October, Smári McCarthy (Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament), Chair of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee (EFTA PC), along with the heads of national parliamentary delegations from Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, attended several meetings with prominent Members of the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels. They used this opportunity to introduce themselves to Mr Andreas Schwab, the new Chair of the EP Delegation responsible for relations with EFTA countries and the EEA Agreement (D-EEA Delegation).

Mr McCarthy congratulated Mr Schwab on his election as the new D-EEA Chair. He welcomed the fact that in his position as a long-standing member of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), he would help to strengthen the cooperation between EFTA and this important committee. The IMCO Committee deals with Internal Market legislation, which has an impact on the EEA Agreement. Mr McCarthy took the opportunity to formally invite Mr Schwab to the next EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee that would take place on 30 October 2019 in Vaduz.

In addition, the aim of the visit was to strengthen the cooperation between the EFTA Parliamentary Committee and the European Parliament’s legislative committees dealing with Internal Market legislation. With this in mind, the EFTA delegation also met with Ms Petra de Sutter, Chair of the IMCO Committee; with Ms Karima Delli, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN); as well as with Mr Johan Danielsson, Vice-Chair of the TRAN Committee and D-EEA member.

The visit to the EP also gave the EFTA Parliamentarians an opportunity to hold talks with Mr David McAllister, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) and with Mr Bernd Lange, Chair of the International Trade Committee (INTA). As very close and like-minded partners, the need to ensure regular and strong cooperation on both foreign affairs issues as well as on EU and EFTA trade policies was emphasised. For this reason, the idea of holding joint sessions between the EFTA PC and these committees was explored.

The EFTA Parliamentary Committee is a forum of parliamentarians from the four EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland). It meets twice a year with Members of the European Parliament who are part of the D-EEA Delegation in the format of the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee. Its mission is to provide a better understanding between the EU and EFTA States in the fields covered by the EEA Agreement as well as with regard to relations with Switzerland.

 

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Seminar on the European Economic Area - Brussels 13 February 2020