EFTA and the EESC mark the 25 years of the EEA Agreement

Published 24-05-2019
EFTA Secretary-General, Henri Gétaz (centre) spoke about the state of play and future challenges of the EEA
On 24 May, the EEA Consultative Committee (EEA CC) met for a joint session with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Section for External Relations in Brussels, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA).

More than 100 participants from EU and EFTA Member States participated in the meeting, which was opened by Dilvana Slavova, Section President of the EESC Section for External Relations, and Henri Gétaz, EFTA Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General highlighted the remarkable resilience of the EEA Agreement, and how it provides a platform for cooperation on the issues that are facing the European countries. The Secretary-General also emphasized the crucial role that social partners and civil society play in the European Economic Area.

“They help develop our common future and keep politicians and decision-makers to account. That is why it is so important that we invest in the EEA Consultative Committee as an advisory body within the EEA Agreement and our European partnership,” said Mr Gétaz.

The co-chairs of the EEA CC, Kinga Joó and Halldór Grönvold, spoke about the 25 years of the EEA Consultative Committee, and emphasized the role of the social partners for the functioning of the EEA Agreement.

“The social partners play an important role for the good implementation of the EEA Agreement, and our cooperation contributes to an enhanced mutual understanding,” said Ms Joó.

Árni Páll Árnason, Deputy Director and Head of Country and Bilateral Cooperation Department of the Financial Mechanism Office, illustrated through examples how the EEA Agreement, through the EEA and Norway Grants, is contributing to reducing social and economic disparities in the EU.

Furthermore, Violeta Jelic, President for the EESC Single Market Observatory, emphasised the value of expanding the internal market to include the EEA EFTA States.

Ulf Sverdrup, Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), held a keynote speech looking towards the future and the next 25 years of the EEA Agreement. The speech was followed by a debate and closing remarks by Ms Slavova.

The EEA Consultative Committee consists of representatives of labour unions and employers’ associations in the EEA EFTA States plus members of the three various groupings of the European Economic and Social Committee. The Committee meets once per year.

The EEA CC also convened on 23 May to adopt two reports and resolutions on the European Labour Authority and the Benefits of the 25 years of the EEA. Read more.

Find pictures from the meetings here.

Officer
EEA Coordination Division

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Seminar on the European Economic Area - Brussels 17 September 2019