EEA Joint Committee adopts Decisions related to COVID-19

Published 03-04-2020
© EPA-EFE/FUSCO
On 3 April, the EEA Joint Committee adopted by written procedure* two Decisions related to COVID-19. The two Decisions concern official controls on the agri-food chain and suspension of the airline slot requirements. The adopted Decisions entered into force immediately as there were no constitutional requirements to be fulfilled.

The first Decision adopted today was JCD 47/2020 which implements EU Regulation 2020/466. The Regulation allows the EEA EFTA States to carry out official controls on the agri-food chain on a more flexible basis, should they need to do so in order to tackle the specific challenges of the situation due to COVID-19.

The aim is to help prevent the spread of the disease through movements of control staff and to facilitate the movement of animals, plants, food and feed into and within the EEA. The measure does not modify any substantial rules regulating public and animal health, food and feed safety and animal welfare. The measure will be in force until 1 June 2020. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all levels of society and is also having a major impact on the European aviation industry. In order to help reduce some of the impact of the outbreak, the EU has adopted Regulation 2020/459, which is now implemented into the EEA Agreement by JCD 48/2020. The Regulation suspends the airline slot requirements which obliges airlines to use at least 80% of their allocated take-off and landing slots in order to keep them the following year.

The aim is to help air carriers cope with the drastic drop in air traffic caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, and the measures will prevent airlines from operating ‘ghost flights’ in order to comply with the rules. The waiver applies to the period 1 March to 24 October 2020, and retroactively from 23 January to 29 February for flights between the EEA and China or Hong Kong. If the current exceptional situation related to the Covid-19 outbreak persists, the measures can be extended. 

The European Commission is currently coordinating a common European Union (EU) response to the COVID-19 crisis in order to support its Member States. To ensure that the relevant measures also apply to the EEA EFTA States, the EFTA Secretariat is continuously monitoring all decisions taken by the EU. The EFTA Secretariat also assists the EEA EFTA States in making the necessary arrangements to certify that relevant measures are implemented. 

*Written procedure is used in exceptional circumstances that require swift incorporation of acts into the EEA Agreement. 

Head of EEA Legal Coordination
EEA Coordination Division

+32 2 28 61 712

Head of Information and Communication
Secretary-General's Office

+32 22861 719 (office)
+32 473 334 920 (mobile)

Seminar on the European Economic Area - EEA - Brussels 15 September 2020