On 11 June 2021, the EEA Joint Committee convened through videoconference to adopt 24 Joint Committee Decisions (JCDs) incorporating 34 legal acts into the EEA Agreement. The meeting was chaired by Clara Ganslandt, from the European External Action Service (EEAS), and the EFTA side was chaired by Kristján Andri Stefánsson, Ambassador of Iceland to the EU.
On the Long list, three COVID-19 JCDs were adopted on organic products, machinery, and health and safety at work. In addition, the Joint Committee adopted several decisions in the field of financial services and in the field of environment, including six on motor vehicles and a Directive from 2015. Ambassador Stefánsson informed the participants that Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway had constitutional requirements for JCD No 171/2021 (Directive 2014/92/EU), one of the financial services decisions. This concerns the comparability of fees related to payment accounts, payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features.
The EEA Joint Committee also discussed the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which is intended to facilitate safe travels as of 1 July 2021 and be in place for 12 months.
“The certificate has a significant importance for the EEA EFTA States and as we have indicated, we aim for a simultaneous entry into force across the EEA on 1 July. In light of this, and since our next meeting is taking place only on 9 July, the EEA EFTA States have recently submitted to you a request for a written procedure to incorporate the regulation into the EEA Agreement. We note and welcome that the EEAS has accepted this request and that a written procedure is scheduled to take place on 30 June. We look forward to cooperating with you in this regard,” assured Ambassador Stefánsson.
“Indeed, we are very pleased to confirm that we have an agreement to adopt this decision with written procedure on the 30th of June, so it can enter into force simultaneously in the entire EEA on the 1st of July,” said Clara Ganslandt.
The EEA EFTA States then presented their Comment on a revised Eurovignette Directive submitted on 3 May 2021. “In the Comment, the EEA EFTA States welcome the proposal on the revision of the directive and support the application of a “user-pays” principle to road charging schemes, for a more sustainable and competitive transport system in the EEA. The EEA EFTA States support the increased focus on climate friendly transport solutions at the same time as they firmly believe that common environmental goals will be best achieved if the revised directive allows for flexibility rather than mandatory measures,” Kristján Andri Stefánsson said.
The EU side recalled the agreement made last February with the EEA EFTA States to conduct the review of the EEA Financial Mechanism under Article 11 of Protocol 38C to the EEA Agreement. Participants agreed that there is still a need to address social and economic disparities in the EEA.
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