EFTA parliamentarians and social partners discuss EEA cooperation with the EEA EFTA Ministerial Chair

Published 24-11-2021
The EEA EFTA Ministerial Chair, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with the Advisory Bodies.

On 24 November, the EFTA Parliamentary Committee (EFTA PC) and the EFTA Consultative Committee (EFTA CC) met with the EEA EFTA Ministerial Chair on the margins of the EEA Council. The Ministerial Chair briefed the members of the EFTA PC and of the EFTA CC about the upcoming EEA Council meeting and the message they would convey to their EU interlocutors.

Günter Vogt (the Liechtenstein Parliament), Chair of the Committee of Members of Parliament of the EFTA States, and Ms Brigitte Haas (Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry), EFTA Chair of the EEA Consultative Committee were joint hosts and co-chaired the meeting.

At the ministerial level, the meeting was attended by Anniken Huitfeldt, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs as the Ministerial Chair of the Standing Committee of the EFTA States. She was accompanied by Mr Kristján Andri Stefánsson, Ambassador to the EU from Iceland and Mr Pascal Schafhauser, Ambassador to the EU from Liechtenstein

Referring to the EEA cooperation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Huitfeldt said “We stepped up our cooperation on research, procurement and the roll-out of vaccines. We aligned our economic responses and found a new level playing field on state aid. We resolved challenges to the trade in medical protective equipment. Challenges to vaccine exports were also resolved.”

Mr Vogt informed the Ministers about the outcome of the 2021 biannual meetings of the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee. He stated “It will be paramount that the EEA EFTA States fully harness the opportunities of the green and digital transitions and make the best use of the participation in EU framework programmes to build back better our economies”.

Ms Brigitte Haas underlined, when speaking about the EU’s green policy agenda, that “It is our common role to make sure that the interests of businesses and workers in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, are represented”.

Throughout the day, the EFTA PC and EFTA CC members discussed with high-level officials of the European Commission and think tank representatives: EU-UK relations and the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol; the Social Dimension of the Fit-For-55 package; the proposal for an Artificial Intelligence Regulation; the state of the EEA amid the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as the rule of law and the EEA and Norway Grants cooperation in Poland.

The EFTA PC and the EFTA CC are EFTA's advisory bodies. The EFTA PC is a forum of parliamentarians from the four EFTA countries, while the EFTA CC brings together representatives of the trade union confederations and employers’ associations in the four EFTA countries. The mission of both advisory bodies is to scrutinise and provide advice on the EFTA States’ trade relations with third countries as well as on the relations with the EU through the implementation of the EEA Agreement. Both advisory bodies are vital platforms for dialogue and consultation on social, economic, and political aspects of the EFTA free trade agreements and the functioning of the EEA.

See pictures from the event here.

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EEA Coordination Division

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EEA Coordination Division

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