Monday 20 November marked the 57th meeting of the EEA Council, the highest cooperation body between the EU and the EEA EFTA States. For the second time in its nearly 30-year history, the meeting was held at EFTA House in Brussels. The discourse centred on the functioning of the EEA Agreement and economic security.
During the meeting, the EEA EFTA States emphasised the importance of the EEA Agreement in enabling cooperation on the integral economic and geopolitical challenges currently facing Europe.
“The topic of economic security – and how to best achieve it – is high on our agendas. At this critical point in time, it is key that we continue working together to ensure a resilient and competitive Internal Market. Our partnership is our strength”, stated Minister and Chair Dominique Hasler in her introduction to the debate on economic security.
The EEA EFTA States also highlighted that in these challenging times, where economic security and sustainable competitiveness remain central priorities, the EEA Agreement is an essential cornerstone for building a more resilient and dynamic Internal Market and reinforcing European value chains.
“Our EEA Agreement is a living and evolving framework that adapts to the changing realities and needs of Europe. To enable this, the swift incorporation of legal acts remains a top priority. Since the last EEA Council in May, we have incorporated 269 legal acts, thanks to our excellent cooperation”, said Minister Hasler during the assessment of the overall functioning of the EEA Agreement.
The EEA Council meeting was preceded by an informal political dialogue, during which the situation in the Middle East and the war in Ukraine were discussed.
The EEA Council was chaired by Ms Dominique Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport of Liechtenstein, and co-chaired by Mr Pascual Ignacio Navarro Ríos, Secretary of State for European Affairs of Spain, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The ministers attending on the EEA EFTA side were Mr Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and Mr Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway. The EU side was represented by Mr Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, and Mr Marko Makovec, Deputy Managing Director for Europe at the European External Action Service (EEAS).
The EEA Council meets twice a year at ministerial level and provides the political direction for developing the EEA Agreement. The EEA EFTA States are represented by their respective ministers of foreign or European affairs, while the EU is represented by the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, as well as representatives of the EEAS and the Commission.
The next EEA Council meeting will take place in spring 2024.
Read the EEA EFTA Statement from the EEA Council meeting of 20 November.
See the photo gallery from the meeting here.
See high-level interviews from the day on the EFTA YouTube channel.
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