Highlights from the meeting of Subcommittees I-IV

Published 21-01-2010
Subcommittee I and Subcommittees II, III and IV met jointly for the second time on 21 January, 2010.

The fruitful discussions on various horizontal issues, such as the Lisbon Treaty, the new EU 2020 Strategy and EEA EFTA participation in EU Agencies, illustrated the benefits of the new joint meeting format.

One of the most important developments that have taken place within the EU since the last Subcommittee meeting in November 2009 is the coming into effect of the Lisbon Treaty. The Secretariat presented some of the key prospective implications of the Lisbon Treaty for the EEA. The Secretariat also noted some of the implications of the Treaty in the areas of Research and Culture and on the comitology procedure.

Another development at the European level which is likely to have an effect throughout the EEA is the new EU 2020 Strategy which is expected to be endorsed at the spring European Council. A representative of the Secretariat-General Office of the Commission gave an overview of the strategy at the Subcommittee meeting. He particularly welcomed the active participation of the EEA EFTA States in the ongoing public consultation process, with three EFTA Working Groups/Committees having submitted comments on different aspects of the strategy.

At the previous Subcommittee meeting the delegations agreed that it was necessary to adopt a unified strategy towards EEA EFTA participation in EU Agencies. At this meeting the Secretariat gave an overview of the current situation. The EEA EFTA States noted that it would be useful to take these findings into account when considering participation in new agencies.

In addition to horizontal and institutional matters, the status of various EU acts being dealt with by the EEA EFTA States at different stages of the EEA decision-making process was also discussed at the meeting. The delegations were pleased to note that much of the backlog of acts with EFTA would be reduced with the foreseen coming into effect of the Food Law Package in the spring of 2010. Other important issues discussed at the meeting included the Renewable Energy Directive and the Emissions Trading Scheme, the Telecoms Package, the finalisation of the EEA EFTA Budget for 2010 and preparations for the 2011 Budget.

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