On 24 September 2021, the EEA Joint Committee met to adopt 48 Joint Committee Decisions (JCDs) incorporating 108 legal acts into the EEA Agreement. The substantial list contains several acts of importance to the EEA EFTA States. Among them are nine COVID-19-related acts, both the 3rd and 4th Railway packages, BEREC, and 10 programme regulations.
“I would like to highlight the 10 programme regulations ensuring EEA EFTA participation in a wide range of EU programmes in the new period 2021–2027. This enables our stakeholders to work together in areas of common interest and to find innovative solutions to environmental, digital and social challenges”, President of the EEA Joint Committee and Ambassador of Norway, Rolf Einar Fife said during the meeting.
The Joint Committee adopted decisions on participation in a wide array of programmes. These include Horizon Europe – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, the Digital Europe Programme, the Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE), and Erasmus – the Union Programme for education and training, youth and sport, among others.
With the adoption of BEREC, the EEA Joint Committee incorporated the regulation establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Agency for Support for BEREC (BEREC Office). Adopting this important act into the EEA Agreement means the EEA EFTA States will be closely involved in the implementation of common telecoms rules in the entire EEA.
The Joint Committee also adopted 49 legal acts in the area of transport by rail, including the recast of the 1st Railway Package and the 4th Railway Package, which completes the single market for Rail transport services in the EEA. This concludes the process of gradual market opening started with the 1st railway package. The overarching goal is to ensure a high level of safety, interoperability and reliability in the European railway network, encouraging increased use of rail passenger and freight transport. This is in order to meet the set targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from the transport sector.
“The 3rd and 4th Railway packages, BEREC files have been with us for years, and today’s incorporation is a milestone”, Ambassador Fife said.
In addition, the Joint Committee incorporated a host of significant JCDs, such as the one on the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). The aim of the modernised framework for electronic communications is to improve consumer rights, and increase competition and investments in broadband networks, including 5G networks.
Chair Fife also reiterated the commitment of the EEA EFTA States to reduce the number of legal acts awaiting incorporation. “We need to continue working hard to contain and reduce the number of acts outstanding. I can only assure you once more of the EEA EFTA States continued commitment to this goal. We stand ready to do our part", he said.
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