The meeting was chaired by Elfried Hasler, Chair of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee, and Jørn Dohrmann, Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
MEP Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) and member of the Brexit Steering Group, and Andri Lúthersson, Deputy Secretary-General at EFTA, briefed the Committee on the current state of play in Brexit, with regards to the European Parliament and the EFTA States respectively.
The Committee met with representatives responsible for the management of the EEA Agreement, and statements on the latest developments in the EEA were provided by Andri Lúthersson, Philip Bittner, Chair of the EFTA Working Party, representing the EU Chair of the EEA Council, and Claude Maerten, EU Chair of the EEA Joint Committee.
In the meeting, Hasler took note of the stable and predictable framework the EEA Agreement has provided over the last 25 years, and the freedom it has given citizens to work and study across Europe. He also mentioned some of the challenges, such as finding solutions that respect the principles of the EEA Agreement, while at the same time ensuring a harmonised Internal Market.
“Looking at the future, I believe that it would be beneficial to initiate a discussion on how we can better engage at an early stage in the legislative process in the European Parliament with the positions of the EEA EFTA States in order to solve potential problems as early as possible and to avoid a big backlog,” Mr Hasler said.
The EEA JPC discussed the ‘New Deal for Consumers’, after being briefed by Daniel Dalton, rapporteur for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and shadow rapporteur Jasenko Selimovic.
Members of the EEA JPC discussed a recent communication by the European Commission on artificial intelligence (AI), which deals with technological, ethical, legal and socio-economic aspects to boost EU's research and industrial capacity and to put AI at the service of European citizens and economy. A briefing was also given by MEP Catherine Stihler.
The European Pillar of Social Rights, and the European Labour Authority were also discussed, with interventions by shadow rapporteur Georgi Pirinsky from the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and MEP Jasenko Selimovic.
#MPs @andresingi & @SveinRHansen & #MEPs Georgi Pirinski & @jasenkos discuss #European #Social pillar during the #EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee @Europarl_EN in #Strasbourg. pic.twitter.com/XdL7OXWULb— EFTA Secretariat (@EFTAsecretariat) December 13, 2018
In addition, Heidi Hautala, Vice-President responsible for the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), and Siegfried Breier, Head of the EMAS Unit, briefed the Committee on the topic of good practices in environmental performance set out in the Scheme.
The EEA JPC meets biannually and is composed of Members of Parliament of the EEA EFTA States and Members of the European Parliament. The Committee’s primary objective is to follow developments in the EEA and to give its views on developments in the EU and how they affect the EEA at the earliest stage possible.
Find high-resolution photos from the meeting here.
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