EFTA holds policy seminar on the importance of the Internal Market

Published 16-06-2015
From left: Vidar Helgesen, Minister of EEA and EU Affairs at the Office of the Prime Minister of Norway, Andreas Schwab, Member of the European Parliament and Jacques Pelkmans, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).
On 15 June 2015, the EFTA Secretariat organised a policy seminar focusing on the importance of the Internal Market for growth in Europe, with keynote speeches by Vidar Helgesen, Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs, and Andreas Schwab MEP.

The keynote speeches were followed by comments from Jacques Pelkmans, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and a panel debate with the three speakers.

The seminar focused on the potential of the Internal Market to drive growth in Europe as a whole, a subject of key importance to the three EEA EFTA States – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. As emphasised by EFTA’s Secretary-General, Kristinn F. Árnason, in his opening remarks, “it is difficult to underestimate the importance of the Agreement on the European Economic Area”.

Vidar Helgesen began by discussing the importance of access to the Internal Market for Norwegian companies. He said that despite efforts made in recent years, there was still work to be done to complete the Internal Market, which holds vast potential for growth in Europe.

The second speaker, Andreas Schwab, stated that a well-functioning and integrated Internal Market was not only vital for the EU Member States, but also for the EFTA countries. “The Internal Market is the cornerstone and key driver for growth and jobs in Europe”, he said.

Finally, Jacques Pelkmans discussed some of the main challenges remaining for the Member States to complete the Internal Market.

The presentations were followed by a panel debate, moderated by EFTA Deputy Secretary-General, Dag W. Holter.

The seminar was attended by around 75 participants from both the EFTA and EU Member States, as well as from the EU institutions.