EFTA and EU Finance Ministers underline vital cooperation on economic and geopolitical challenges

Published 09-11-2023

Close cooperation and strong solidarity among the EFTA States and the EU Member States are indispensable for tackling the current challenges they face and their multinational consequences, stressed Switzerland‘s State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Ms Helene Budliger Artieda, at this year’s EFTA ECOFIN meeting on 9 November. The meeting is an annual forum for EFTA and EU Ministers of Finance and Economy to discuss mutual economic issues and is held on the margins of the EU Council of Finance and Economic Affairs (ECOFIN).

This year’s EFTA ECOFIN was chaired by Ms Nadia María Calviño Santamaría, First Deputy Prime Minister of Spain, representing the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council. In her address, she emphasised the importance of the EU Member States’ close cooperation with the EFTA States, especially in light of the current economic and geopolitical challenges.

The other EFTA States were represented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs for Iceland, Ms Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir; Secretary General of the Liechtenstein Ministry of General Government Affairs and Finance, Mr Simon Biedermann; and Norway’s Minister of Finance, Mr Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.

As Switzerland is chairing the EFTA Economic Committee in 2023, Ms Budliger delivered a statement on behalf of the EFTA States. She first thanked the delegates for the opportunity to discuss the economic and financial situation in the EU and EFTA States.

With regard to the topic of this year’s meeting, “Reflections on the New Industrial Policy Approaches”, Ms Budliger noted the strong increase in industrial policy interventions around the world in recent years. “In one way or another, foreign industrial policy programmes such as the US Inflation Reduction Act or the EU Green Deal Industrial Plan affect business and policy decisions in our countries”, she said.

Ms Budliger highlighted that we all have a strong interest in ensuring that green initiatives across the globe contribute to speeding up technological development, lowering decarbonisation costs and reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases.

European Commissioner for Economy, Mr Paolo Gentiloni, summarised the status of the EU’s economy, emphasising the common interests of the EU and EFTA States. He noted the need to strike a balance between decarbonising and accelerating the green transition of economies and preserving the advantages of open economies and the global rules-based trading system.


Read the Common Paper of the EFTA States.

Find pictures from the meeting here.

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