The meeting was chaired by Smári McCarthy, Chair of the EFTA delegation and President of the EEA JPC. The EP delegation was led by Jørn Dohrmann (ECR, DK), Member of the European Parliament.
Ambassador Sabine Monauni, EFTA Chair of the EEA Joint Committee, briefed the Committee on the current situation with regard to Brexit.
The Committee met with representatives from both EFTA and the EU responsible for the management of the EEA Agreement. Ambassador Monauni, Augustin Varnav, Chair of the EFTA Working Party of the Council of the EU, and Claude Maerten (EEAS), EU Chair of the EEA Joint Committee, provided statements on the developments in the EEA.
The EEA JPC considered the Joint Committee Annual Report on the functioning of the EEA Agreement in 2018 and adopted a resolution prepared by co-rapporteurs Mr McCarthy and Mr Dohrmann. Presenting the resolution, Mr McCarthy highlighted how important it was for EEA EFTA States to play an active role in the various EU decision-making processes in order to shape policy outcomes having a direct impact on the EEA Agreement.
"For a quarter of a century the EEA Agreement has provided a predictable legal framework and a level playing field for our citizens and enterprises. This has been an important driver for economic growth and for the wellbeing of our citizens," said Mr McCarthy.
“In times of profound changes on the international stage with increasing tensions and protectionist tendencies, I believe that it is vital to preserve and manage our agreement which has ensured stability and predictability during recent decades."
The Committee discussed the coordination of social security systems which is currently negotiated between the EU Institutions and which is of highest relevance to the EEA EFTA States and their citizens living and working throughout the EEA. MEP Helga Stevens, shadow rapporteur for ECR, and MEP Sven Schulze, shadow rapporteur for EPP, both from the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, briefed the Committee on the current state of play of negotiations and the issues at stake.
In the context of the #MeToo movement, the EEA JPC discussed ways of preventing workplace harassment and in particular the initiatives taken by both the European Parliament and the EEA EFTA Parliaments in such matters. Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Quaestor and Chair of the Advisory Committee dealing with harassment complaints concerning Members of the European Parliament, and Hanna Katrín Friðriksson, Member of the Icelandic Parliament introduced the topic.
In the context of #MeToo MEP @emorinchartier and Hanna Katrín Friðriksson Member of @Althingi share views on preventing workplace harassment at the #EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee pic.twitter.com/PqZXjXI4tV— EFTA Secretariat (@EFTAsecretariat) March 13, 2019
Finally, the EEA JPC was briefed by Director-General Jaume Duch Guillot from the Directorate-General for Communication at the European Parliament on the European elections in May 2019.
As this was the last meeting of Mr Dohrmann, Mr McCarthy also took the opportunity to thank him on behalf of the EFTA delegations for contributing to strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the EEA cooperation for the past five years.
EFTA Chair, Smári McCarthy on the EEA JPC meeting
MEP Jørn Dohrmann on his last EEA JPC and the importance of this type of political exchange
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