EEA seminar attracts professionals from EFTA and EU Member States

Published 19-09-2019
Thorfinnur Omarsson, Head of the Communications Department, Henri Gétaz, Secretary-General, Hege Marie Hoff, Deputy Secretary-General, and Brit Helle, Director of Internal Market Division during an interactive Questions & Answers session with the participants.
On 17 September, around 150 participants from both the public and private sector gathered at EFTA in Brussels to join the biannual seminar on the European Economic Area (EEA).

The seminar provided professionals with a thorough understanding of the EEA Agreement, and how it integrates Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway into the EU’s Internal Market.

Secretary-General Henri Gétaz gave the opening speech and a warm welcome to all participants. He highlighted how the EEA agreement has contributed to building a more prosperous Europe.

"By looking back the 25 years of the EEA, we can be proud of the achievements that the EEA Agreement has brought to our citizens, and looking into the near future, we are committed to building a safer and more prosperous Europe for future generations," Henri Gétaz expressed in his opening remarks.

Deputy Secretary-General Hege Marie Hoff gave an introduction to EFTA and the EEA Agreement, followed by a presentation on the functioning of the EEA Agreement and the role of the Secretariat. Representatives from the EFTA Secretariat, EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court gave presentations on how EU law becomes EEA law, how EEA law is enforced and how it is interpreted.



The afternoon session included a presentation on how the EEA and Norway Grants reduce economic and social disparities in the EEA, the legal aspects of the two-pillar solution and the institutional structure of the EEA.

The seminar was concluded with a speech from Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson, Head of the Mission of Iceland to the EU and the Chairman of the Standing Committee. His concluding remarks were that “the EEA Agreement has served us well, so let us continue working on it and not take it for granted”.



Overall, it was a very successful seminar that provided participants with a thorough understanding of the day-to-day operation and management of the EEA Agreement.

EFTA would like to thank all the speakers and participants for making the seminar a success.




Links to the presentations can be found below:

EFTA and the EEA Agreement – Hege Marie Hoff

Functioning of the EEA and Role of the EFTA Secretariat – Brit Helle

Incorporation: How EU law becomes EEA law – Audur Steinarsdóttir

Surveillance: How EEA law is enforced – Catherine Howdle

Judicial control: How EEA law is interpreted – Birgir Hrafn Búason

How EEA and Norway Grants reduce disparities and strengthen cooperation - Katrine Steinfeld

The Two-Pillar solution: The backbone of the EEA - Finnur Birgisson and Karoline Lumholdt Mathisen

Photos from the seminar can be found here


Head of Information and Communication
Secretary-General's Office

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