EFTA Standing and EEA Joint Committees meet on 29 and 30 September 2011
The EFTA Standing Committee and EEA Joint Committee met in Brussels on 29 and 30 September respectively. Liechtenstein was Chair both of the Standing Committee and, on behalf of the EEA EFTA States, of the Joint Committee. The Standing Committee welcomed Mr Atle Leikvoll as the new Norwegian Ambassador to the EU and Ms Oda Helen Sletnes as the new President of the EFTA Surveillance Authority.
Highlights from the Subcommittee I-IV meeting in Iceland
The Subcommittees noted that the Regional Convention on Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Preferential Rules of Origin has been opened for signature, and that national ratification by the EFTA Member States is expected to be completed by early 2012.
EEA EFTA States welcome the modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway today welcomed the efforts of the European Union to modernise and simplify the Directive on Professional Qualifications, adopted in 2005. In the EEA EFTA comment to the recent European Commission’s Green Paper, they recognise the importance of this process in encouraging the mobility of professionals in the European Union and throughout the entire European Economic Area (EEA).
EEA EFTA States support a single European transport market
The EEA EFTA States welcome the overall goal and strategy set out in the European Commission‘s White Paper on a Single European Transport Area. In their comment to the March 2011 paper, they fully support the EU‘s efforts to achieve a single European transport market by removing barriers, taking a multimodal approach and emphasising safety and security in the transport sector.
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway join the MEDIA Mundus programme
A decision by the EEA Joint Committee on 19 July 2011, taken by written procedure, ensures participation of the EEA EFTA countries in the MEDIA Mundus Programme of the European Union, allowing interested partners in the Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to take part in the first calls of the programme, for which the next deadline is on 23 September 2011.
Joint decision on EEA-wide emission trading allowances for aviation
In a record time, the EEA Joint Committee decided on 20 July 2011 by written procedure on overall figures for the 30 EEA countries concerning the total number of allowances for aviation that from 2012 will be part of the trading scheme for greenhouse gas emissions (ETS).
EEA EFTA States submit Comment on European Contract Law
In April 2010 the Commission set up an expert group on a Common Frame of Reference (CFR) to assist the Commission in making further progress on the development of a possible future European contract law instrument. In July that year the Commission also published a Green Paper on policy options for progress towards a European Contract Law for consumers and businesses, together with a consultation.
Better coordination of social security systems
A new regulation on the coordination of social security systems was incorporated into the EEA Agreement on 1 July 2011. Social security coordination rules have been a part of the EEA Agreement from the beginning. The new regulation aims at modernising and improving the coordination of national social security systems which is crucial in order to facilitate the free movement of persons in the EU and thus also in the EEA.
EEA wide historical aviation emissions
On 1 July 2011, the EEA Joint Committee decided on the EEA-wide historical aviation emissions which will be used to calculate the number of aviation allowances to be available from 2012. The EEA-wide historical aviation emissions are set at 221 420 279 tonnes of CO2.
New rules to strengthen the social protection of self-employed workers
A directive on strengthening the social protection of self-employed workers and of "assisting spouses" was incorporated into the EEA Agreement on 1 July 2011.