Joint Committee incorporates record number of Decisions into the EEA Agreement in 2019

Published 06-12-2019
From left: Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson, Chair, Henri Gétaz, EFTA Secretary-General, Hege Marie Hoff, Deputy Secretary-General, Andri Lúthersson, Deputy Secretary-Genral, Marius Vahl, Head of EEA Policy Coordination, Brit Helle, Director of Internal Market Division.
The EFTA Standing Committee and the EEA Joint Committee met in Brussels on 5 and 6 December respectively. The EEA Joint Committee adopted 56 decisions (JCDs), bringing the total number of JCDs to a record number in a single calendar year. The decisions, which were adopted ad referendum with the date of Friday 13 December, incorporate 109 legal acts into the EEA Agreement.

This last Joint Committee meeting of the year is a celebratory one as the Committee can look back positively at incorporating a record number of 319 JCDs containing 708 legal acts into the EEA agreement in 2019. Thanks to the large number of acts incorporated, the legal acts outstanding have been reduced to around 350. This is by far the lowest number since 2013 when these figures were first produced.

“2019 has been the most productive year in the history of the EEA. We have adopted more decisions this year than in any other calendar year since the EEA Agreement entered into force. We incorporated 708 acts in the course of 2019, which almost equals the number of acts incorporated in 1998, when we had three more,” emphasised the EEA EFTA Chair, Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson.

33 acts in financial services

During the meeting, the Joint Committee adopted two decisions on medical devices and in vitro medical devices. Medical devices play an essential role in healthcare throughout the EEA. With the incorporation of Regulations (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices and (EU) 2017/746 on in vitro diagnostic medical devices, a modernised and robust legislative framework will ensure better protection of public health and patient safety. More information about the EU regulations can be found here.

Among the other decisions was JCD 302/2019 which grants the EEA EFTA States access to the European network of employment services (EURES), reinforcing the free movement of workers in the EEA. The decision will further integrate labour markets by improving workers’ access to mobility services by using digital resources to make available vacancies across the EEA more accessible.

Furthermore, the Joint Committee adopted seven decisions incorporating 33 acts in financial services. The acts cover a range of financial services concerning insurance-based investment products, the safe-keeping duties of depositaries and the ranking of unsecured debt instruments in insolvency hierarchy. To enhance the homogeneity of the Single Market, the decisions also include several technical standards for financial services. Among them are technical standards to be used for preventing, detecting and reporting abusive practices or suspicious orders and transactions. The Joint Committee also adopted two decisions on company law endorsing specific international accounting standards.

“The adoption of seven decisions incorporating 33 acts in financial services, as well as the two decisions on company law, marks another positive step in our efforts to reduce the backlog in the field of financial services and ensures the smooth functioning of the Internal Market also in this area,“ said the EEA EFTA Chair, Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson, in his remarks on the adoption of the substantial number of acts in financial services.

Ending 2019 with these positive developments, the EEA EFTA States look forward to continuing the collective efforts with the EU side to make further progress in reducing the number of legal acts awaiting incorporation into the EEA Agreement in 2020.

The EFTA Standing Committee serves as a forum in which the EEA EFTA States consult one another, and they arrive at a common position before meeting with the EU in the EEA Joint Committee. The EEA Joint Committee is responsible for the management of the EEA Agreement.

Provisional texts of EEA Joint Committee Decisions in 2019

List of adopted Joint Committee Decisions (JCDs)

Photos from the EFTA Standing Committee and EEA Joint Committee meetings can be found here




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