Liechtenstein has taken over the chairmanship of the EFTA Standing Committee and EEA Joint Committee for the second half of 2020. In the first meeting as Chair of the Standing Committee, Ambassador Sabine Monauni presented the Liechtenstein priorities for the next six months. The top priority is to continue close consultation and cooperation with the EU on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One recent example of our good cooperation in this respect, dates from 18 June when six urgent measures including on transport and medical devices, were incorporated by Written Procedure. And as already mentioned, two acts identified as urgent were on today’s adopted long list,” said Ambassador Monauni during the Joint Committee meeting with the EEAS.
A second commitment of the Liechtenstein chairmanship is to continue the preparations for EEA EFTA participation in relevant EU programmes under the new Multiannual Financial Framework. Third, the Liechtenstein chairmanship will focus on timely incorporation of EEA-relevant legal acts. In order to do this, they identify the need to assess challenges related to major pieces of new EU legislation at an early stage, especially regarding possible two-pillar issues, as well as the desire to further improve vertical cooperation among Working Groups, Subcommittees and Standing Committee, in particular in respect of horizontal challenges. Furthermore, Liechtenstein will prioritise the continued efforts on decision-shaping, and in particular through EEA EFTA Comments. Lastly, Liechtenstein will focus on the ongoing close dialogue in the context of the future relationship with the UK.
Both Committee meetings were held via videoconference due to the COVID-19 situation. This is the fifth time the EEA Joint Committee has convened virtually since the outbreak of the pandemic. The EEA EFTA States and the EU have been able to ensure the smooth functioning of the EEA Agreement throughout the challenging situation by finding viable solutions and utilising the technological tools available.
During the meeting, the Joint Committee adopted two decisions, JCD 108/2020 and JCD 113/2020, which incorporate urgent COVID-19 measures in the fields of transport and company law. “Both measures were identified as urgent, and we are pleased that they are among today’s decisions,” said Ambassador Monauni.
Among the decisions adopted by the Joint Committee, were JCD 106/2020 incorporation Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/855 of 7 May 2020 on money-laundering. The swift incorporation of this decision reflects the determination of the EEA EFTA States to stop money-laundering and financing of terrorism.
The EEA EFTA States are also dedicated to combat climate change, and through JCD 112/2020 the revised Emissions Trade System (ETS) Directive has been adopted. ETS is an important tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. The implementation of the revised ETS Directive secures the participation the EEA EFTA States in ETS Phase IV from 2021-2030.
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.
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