About EFTA News
EFTA Council: Senior appointments for Brussels office
On 6 November 2012, the EFTA Council discussed preparations for the meeting of EFTA Ministers that will take place in Geneva on 12 November under the chairmanship of Iceland. The Council appointed Ambassador Helge Skaara of Norway as Deputy Secretary-General for the Association’s Brussels office.
The EFTA Council discusses the upcoming EFTA Ministerial meeting and current free trade negotiations
The EFTA Council met for the seventh time in 2012 in Geneva on 4 October 2012 under the chairmanship of Iceland, which holds the rotating EFTA chair during the second half of this year. The Council discussed the Ministerial meeting in November and ongoing free trade processes.
New Swiss and Icelandic ambassadors present credentials to the Secretary-General
Ambassador Remigi Winzap of Switzerland and Ambassador Martin Eyjólfsson of Iceland each met with Secretary-General Kristinn F. Árnason in Geneva on 18 September 2012 to present their credentials as their countries’ representatives to EFTA.
Secretary-General Kristinn F. Árnason takes up his duties
On 1 September 2012, Kristinn F. Árnason of Iceland will take up his duties as Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association. Mr Árnason has a long experience in EFTA affairs, having been Iceland’s Permanent Representative to EFTA, the WTO and other international organisations in Geneva since 2005 as well as serving earlier as Deputy Permanent Representative to the Geneva organisations from 1987 to 1992. He was Ambassador to Norway from 1999 to 2003 and has held several other posts in the Icelandic Foreign Service, including that of Director of External Trade (1994-1998) and Chief negotiator on fisheries issues (1992-1994).
Iceland takes over chair of the EFTA Council
The EFTA Council met on 11 July 2012 in Geneva. Iceland, holding the rotating Council chair for the second half of the year, presented its priorities. The Council also reviewed the Ministerial meeting in Gstaad, Switzerland and the recent negotiating round with Indonesia.
EFTA is an important platform for the future
After six years at the helm of the Association, EFTA’s Secretary-General, Kåre Bryn, will step down on 31 August. Having been Norway’s Ambassador in Geneva and a Member of the EFTA Council from 1999 to 2003, Mr Bryn has a long experience in EFTA affairs. At their meeting in Gstaad on 28 June, the EFTA Ministers thanked him for his excellent service to the organisation and its members. In the following statement, the Secretary-General looked at EFTA’s recent past, the present and the future.
EFTA Ministerial meeting, Gstaad, Switzerland, 28 June 2012
On 28 June 2012, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) held its summer Ministerial meeting in Gstaad, Switzerland under the Chairmanship of Mr Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs of Switzerland. Ministers of the four EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) signed a joint declaration on cooperation with Georgia, represented by Ms Vera Kobalia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development.
EFTA and Georgia plan to sign a joint declaration on cooperation in Gstaad on 28 June
On 21 June, the EFTA Council in Geneva prepared for the summer EFTA Ministerial meeting that will take place in Gstaad on 28 June. The Ministers plan to sign a joint declaration on cooperation with Georgia. The Council decided to liberalise intra-EFTA trade in agricultural products and reviewed ongoing free trade negotiations, including a recent round with Central American countries.
EFTA Council discusses expanding free trade network
The EFTA Council met on 16 May for their third meeting in 2012 under the chairmanship of Switzerland. The Council discussed free trade relations with several countries outside the European Union including the ongoing negotiations with the Custom Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and recent meetings under EFTA’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with Canada and Egypt. The Council also prepared the EFTA Summer Ministerial meeting in Switzerland.
EFTA's Annual Report for 2011 available
In 2011, a total of 373 new legal acts were incorporated into the EEA Agreement. Important additions include the Renewable Energy Directive, the new Social Security Regulation and the inclusion of aviation activities in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Also in 2011, Hong Kong China and Montenegro joined EFTA's expanding network of free trade partners. The EFTA States now have preferential free trade relations with 60 countries in Europe and the rest of the world, as well as with each other, meaning that 80% of EFTA’s merchandise trade is covered by preferential trading arrangements.