Green transition and reducing strategic dependencies among topics of EEA Council meeting

Published 23-05-2022
From left: Maroš Šefčovič, Anniken Huitfeldt, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Dominique Hasler, Mikuláš Bek.

On May 23, the 54th meeting of the EEA Council took place in Brussels.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Mikuláš Bek, Minister for European Affairs of the Czech Republic, and co-chaired by Ms Dominique Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, representing the Chairmanship of the Standing Committee of the EFTA States.

On the EEA EFTA side, the meeting was also attended by Ms Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and Ms Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway. On the EU side, the meeting was also attended by Mr Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, and representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

Among the items discussed were the overall functioning of the EEA Agreement and the reduction of strategic dependencies in the fields of raw materials and energy.

On behalf of the EEA EFTA States, Ms Hasler gave a statement where she expressed shock at the fact that war has returned to Europe. Ms Hasler reiterated the close partnership with the European Union and solidarity with Ukraine.

“This solidarity is based on our shared values and commitment to a Europe built on peace, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. This is also the essence of the EEA Agreement, which has served as a solid basis for our cooperation for more than a quarter of a century”, the minister said.

She noted the impact of the war on the Internal market, following two difficult COVID years. The EEA EFTA States were ready to act quickly and respond decisively to all challenges.

Looking ahead, Ms Hasler stressed the importance of accelerating the green transition and reducing strategic dependencies on raw materials and energy.

The number of legal acts awaiting incorporation remains substantial. Nevertheless, Ms Hasler was pleased to note positive developments since the last EEA Council meeting. She commended both sides on their hard work. She also gave thanks to the outgoing French Presidency of the EU Council and said she was looking forward to working with the incoming Czech Presidency.

Furthermore, she thanked the External Action Service for the outstanding cooperation in the last decade and noted that the cooperation with the European Commission, which took the responsibility of EEA Affairs on the EU side on 1 January, was off to an excellent start.

Minister Hasler gave concluding remarks.

“Thank you, Chair. We would like to express our appreciation for the good dialogue we have had in this meeting, as on previous occasions.

Our thanks go in particular to the French Presidency, the Council Secretariat, the Commission and the European External Action Service for their positive and constructive cooperation over the last months. Thank you also to you, Minister Bek, for representing the Council of the EU in this meeting. We look forward to working with the Czech Presidency in the second half of this year – and to welcome you to the next EEA Council in EFTA House on 23 November.”

The next EEA Council meeting will be at EFTA House on 23 November.

EEA EFTA Statement on the occasion of the EEA Council on 23 May 2022.

High resolution photos from the meeting.

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