On 1 May 1995, Liechtenstein became a member of the European Economic Area, the EEA. In the past 25 years, EEA membership has proven to be a success story for this Alpine EFTA Member State and the model of choice of the country’s European integration.
The EEA entered into force on 1 January 1994. Throughout 2019, EFTA celebrated the 25th anniversary of this milestone agreement between the EU and three of the EFTA States: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, with a series of high-level events and promotional activities. The most important event took place on 22 March, when the EEA EFTA Prime Ministers were invited to take part in a summit of the European Council, reaffirming their commitment to participate jointly in the Internal Market.
However, Liechtenstein’s participation in the EEA started more than a year after it went into force, on 1 May 1995. This participation has proven to be highly beneficial for Liechtenstein’s citizens and companies. A 2020 survey shows that 76% of the country’s citizens think positively of the EEA. They also highlight freedom of goods and services as important factors for Liechtenstein being one of the highest industrialised countries in the world today. Find more information in the executive summary of a new Government report on the 25 years of EEA membership.
At the 25th anniversary celebrations at the European Council last year, Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Adrian Hasler referred to the EEA Agreement as a true milestone of European integration.
“EEA membership has played a crucial role in this regard – to the benefit of all sides. Almost half of our jobs in Liechtenstein are held by EU citizens. And our companies employ thousands more of workers throughout the EU. Liechtenstein has proven to be a reliable and constructive partner. And we remain committed to our common goal – a prosperous and peaceful Europe,” he said in his speech.
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