The EEA Council meets twice a year and provides political impetus for the development of the EEA Agreement. The EEA EFTA States are represented in the EEA Council by their respective foreign ministers.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of entry into force of the EEA Agreement. Over these last 20 years, the Agreement has proven to be mutually beneficial to all contracting parties and has achieved its main objectives of promoting trade and economic relations, and providing a predictable and level playing field for economic operators and citizens across the European Economic Area.
The EEA Council discussed EEA EFTA participation in the European Supervisory Authorities for financial markets, the incorporation of the new generation of EU programmes into the Agreement, and the continuation of the EEA and Norway Financial Mechanisms for another term. It looked at the efforts made over the past years to reduce the number of outstanding EEA-relevant EU acts to be incorporated into the EEA Agreement, and the measures taken to accelerate the incorporation process.
Ministers held an orientation debate on International Maritime Transport.
Other matters considered were resolutions adopted by the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee and the EEA Consultative Committee since the EEA Council’s last meeting, and a progress report on the activities of the EEA Joint Committee, prepared for each meeting as part of an assessment of the overall functioning of the EEA Agreement.
The EEA EFTA side also made a statement related to the on-going negotiations between the EU and the United States on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, emphasising the need for consultations with the EEA EFTA States, as participants in the Single Market, in this process.
In the political dialogue following the EEA Council meeting, discussions focused on Ukraine/Russia and Syria/Southern Neighbourhood.
The EEA Council met under the Presidency of Mr Dimitris Kourkoulas, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meeting was attended by Mr Vidar Helgesen, Minister of EEA and EU Affairs at the Office of the Prime Minister of Norway; Mr Mauro Pedrazzini, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein; and Mr Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. Representatives of the European Commission and the European External Action Service also participated.
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