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The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the ''Agreement on the European Economic Area'', an international agreement which enables the extension of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
's
single market A single market is a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade (tariffs and Non-tariff barriers to trade, others) are red ...

single market
to member states of the
European Free Trade Association The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by bus ...
. The EEA links the EU member states and three EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) into an internal market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to enable
free movement of persons Freedom of movement, mobility rights, or the right to travel is a human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European ...
, goods, services, and capital within the
European Single Market The European Single Market, Internal Market or Common Market is a single market A single market is a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organiza ...

European Single Market
, including the freedom to choose residence in any country within this area. The EEA was established on 1 January 1994 upon entry into force of the EEA Agreement. The contracting parties are the EU, its member states, and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The EEA Treaty is a commercial treaty and differs from the EU Treaties in certain key respects. According to Article 1 its purpose is to "promote a continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relation". The EFTA members do not participate in the
Common Agricultural Policy The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the agricultural policy of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of that are located primarily in . The union has a total area of and an estimated total ...
or the
Common Fisheries Policy The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all ...
. The right to free movement of persons between EEA member states and the relevant provisions on safeguard measures are identical to those applying between members of the EU. The right and rules applicable in all EEA member states, including those which are not members of the EU, are specified in Directive 2004/38/EC and in the EEA Agreement. The EEA Agreement specifies that membership is open to member states either of the EU or of the EFTA. EFTA states that are party to the EEA Agreement participate in the EU's internal market without being members of the EU or the
European Union Customs Union The European Union Customs Union (EUCU) is a customs union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organizatio ...
. They adopt most EU legislation concerning the single market, with notable exclusions including laws regarding the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy. The EEA's "decision-shaping" processes enable EEA EFTA member states to influence and contribute to new EEA policy and legislation from an early stage. Third country goods are excluded for these states on rules of origin. When entering into force in 1994, the EEA parties were 17 states and two
European Communities The European Communities (EC), sometimes referred to as the European Community, were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, ...
: the
European Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Community
, which was later absorbed into the EU's wider framework, and the now defunct
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
. Membership has grown to 30 states as of 2020: 27 EU member states, as well as three of the four member states of the EFTA (Iceland,
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein ( ; ), officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (german: link=no, Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a German-speaking The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europ ...

Liechtenstein
and Norway). The Agreement is applied provisionally with respect to
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
—the remaining and most recent EU member state—pending
ratification Ratification is a principal Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia) The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational insti ...

ratification
of its accession by all EEA parties. One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA, but has a set of bilateral sectoral agreements with the EU which allow it to participate in the internal market.


Origins

In the late 1980s, the EFTA member states, led by Sweden, began looking at options to join the then-existing
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Economic Community
(EEC), the precursor of the European Union (EU). The reasons identified for this are manifold. Many authors cite the economic downturn at the beginning of the 1980s, and the subsequent adoption by the EEC of the "Europe 1992 agenda", as a primary reason. Arguing from a liberal intergovernmentalist perspective, these authors argue that large multinational corporations in EFTA countries, especially Sweden, pressed for EEC membership under threat of relocating their production abroad. Other authors point to the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
, which made joining the EEC less politically controversial for neutral countries.Bache, Ian and Stephen George (2006) ''Politics in the European Union.'' Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 543–548. Meanwhile,
Jacques Delors Jacques Lucien Jean Delors (born 20 July 1925) is a French politician who served as the 8th President of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995. He served as Minister of the Economy, Finances and Industry (France), Minister of Finance of Franc ...
, who was
President of the European Commission The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decision ...
at the time, did not like the idea of the EEC enlarging with more member states, as he feared that it would impede the ability of the Community to complete internal market reform and establish monetary union. He proposed a European Economic Space (EES) in January 1989, which was later renamed the European Economic Area, as it is known today. By the time the EEA was established in 1994, however, several developments hampered its credibility. First of all, Switzerland rejected the EEA agreement in a national referendum on 6 December 1992, obstructing full EU-EFTA integration within the EEA. Furthermore, Austria had applied for full EEC membership in 1989, and was followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland between 1991 and 1992 (Norway's EU accession was rejected in a referendum, Switzerland froze its EU application after the EEA agreement was rejected in a referendum). The fall of the Iron Curtain had made the EU less hesitant to accept these highly developed countries as member states, since that would relieve the pressure on the EU's budget when the former socialist countries of Central Europe were to join.


Membership

The EEA Agreement was signed in
Porto Porto or Oporto () is the List of cities in Portugal, second-largest city in Portugal, the capital of the Porto District, and one of the Iberian Peninsula's major urban areas. Porto city proper, which is the entire concelho, municipality of Porto ...

Porto
on 2 May 1992 by the then seven states of the
European Free Trade Association The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by bus ...
(EFTA), the
European Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...
(EC) and its then 12
member states A member state is a state that is a member of an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the be ...
. On 6 December 1992, Switzerland's voters rejected the
ratification Ratification is a principal Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia) The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational insti ...

ratification
of the agreement in a constitutionally mandated
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
, effectively freezing the application for EC membership submitted earlier in the year. Switzerland is instead linked to the EU by a series of bilateral agreements. On 1 January 1995, three erstwhile members of the EFTA—Austria, Finland and Sweden—acceded to the European Union, which had superseded the European Community upon the entry into force of the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
on 1 November 1993. Liechtenstein's participation in the EEA was delayed until 1 May 1995. Any European State becoming a member of the EU shall, or becoming a member of EFTA may, apply to become a Party to the EEA agreement according to article 128 of the agreement. , the contracting parties to the EEA are three of the four EFTA member states and the 27
EU member states The European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total populat ...
. The newest EU member,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
, finished negotiating their accession to the EEA in November 2013, and since 12 April 2014 has provisionally applied the agreement pending its ratification by all EEA member states.


Treaties

Besides the 1992 Treaty, 1 amending treaty was signed, as well as 3 treaties to allow for accession of new members of the European Union.


Ratification of the EEA Agreement

Notes


Future enlargement


Recent EU member states

When a state joins the EU, they do not necessarily immediately become part of the EEA but are obliged to apply. Following the 2004 enlargement of the EU, which saw Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia acceding to the EU on 1 May 2004, the EEA Enlargement Agreement was applied on a provisional basis to the 10 acceding countries as from the date of their accession in May 2004 to the EU. On the other hand, following the 2007 enlargement of the EU, which saw Bulgaria and Romania acceding to the EU on 1 January 2007, an EEA Enlargement Agreement was not signed until 25 July 2007 and only provisionally entered into force on 1 August 2007. The agreement did not fully enter into force until 9 November 2011. ;Croatia Prior to the 2013 enlargement of the EU, which saw Croatia acceding to the EU on 1 July 2013, an EEA Enlargement Agreement was not signed. Croatia signed its Treaty of Accession to the EU on 9 December 2011 and subsequently lodged their application to the EEA on 13 September 2012. Negotiations started on 15 March 2013 in Brussels, with the aim of achieving simultaneous accession to both the EU and the EEA on 1 July 2013. However, this was not achieved. On 20 November 2013, it was announced that an enlargement agreement was reached. The text was initialled on 20 December 2013, and following its signature in April 2014 the agreement is being provisionally applied pending
ratification Ratification is a principal Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia) The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational insti ...

ratification
by Croatia, all EEA states, and the European Union. As of July 2021, the agreement has been ratified by 21 out of 31 parties.


Future EU member states

There are five recognised candidates for EU membership that are not already EEA members:
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...
(applied 2009, negotiating since March 2020),
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
(applied 2004, negotiating since March 2020),
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...
(applied 2008, negotiating since June 2012),
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...
(applied 2009, negotiating since January 2014) and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...
(applied 1987, negotiating since October 2005).
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...
and
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...
are considered potential candidates for membership. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed a
Stabilisation and Association Agreement In talks with countries that have expressed a wish to join the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members ...
(SAA) with the EU and its member states, that went into effect in June 2015, which allowed the lodging of a membership application in February 2016, while
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
, whose independence is unrecognised by five EU member states, finalised negotiations on a SAA that went into effect in April 2016. In mid-2005, representatives of the
Faroe Islands The Faroe Islands ( ), or simply the Faroes or Faeroes ( fo, Føroyar ; da, Færøerne ), are a North Atlantic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of is ...

Faroe Islands
hinted at the possibility of their territory joining the EFTA. However, the ability of the Faroes to join is uncertain because, according to Article 56 of the EFTA Convention, only states may become members of the Association. The Faroes, which form part of the
Danish Realm The Danish Realm ( da, Danmarks Rige; fo, Danmarkar Ríki; kl, Danmarkip Naalagaaffik), officially the Kingdom of Denmark (; ; ), is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity ...
, is not a
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
, and according to a report prepared for the Faroes Ministry of Foreign Affairs "under its constitutional status the Faroes cannot become an independent Contracting Party to the EEA Agreement due to the fact that the Faroes are not a state". However, the report went on to suggest that it is possible that the "Kingdom of Denmark in respect of the Faroes" could join the EFTA. The Danish Government has stated that the Faroes cannot become an independent member of the EEA as Denmark is already a party to the EEA Agreement. The Faroes already have an extensive bilateral free trade agreement with Iceland, known as the Hoyvík Agreement.


European microstates

In November 2012, after the
Council of the European Union A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A ...

Council of the European Union
had called for an evaluation of the EU's relations with the sovereign European microstates of Andorra, Monaco and San Marino, which they described as "fragmented", the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
published a report outlining options for their further integration into the EU. Unlike Liechtenstein, which is a member of the EEA via the EFTA and the Schengen Agreement, relations with these three states are based on a collection of agreements covering specific issues. The report examined four alternatives to the current situation: 1) a Sectoral Approach with separate agreements with each state covering an entire policy area, 2) a comprehensive, multilateral Framework Association Agreement (FAA) with the three states, 3) EEA membership, and 4) EU membership. The Commission argued that the sectoral approach did not address the major issues and was still needlessly complicated, while EU membership was dismissed in the near future because "the EU institutions are currently not adapted to the accession of such small-sized countries". The remaining options, EEA membership and a FAA with the states, were found to be viable and were recommended by the commission. As EEA membership is currently only open to EFTA or EU members, the consent of existing EFTA member states is required for the microstates to join the EEA without becoming members of the EU. In 2011, , the then Foreign Minister of Norway which is an EFTA member state, said that EFTA/EEA membership for the microstates was not the appropriate mechanism for their integration into the
internal market The European Single Market, Internal Market or Common Market is a comprising the 27 of the (EU) as well as – with certain exceptions – , , and through the Agreement on the , and through . The single market seeks to guarantee the fre ...
because their requirements differed from those of larger countries such as Norway, and suggested that a simplified association would be better suited for them.
Espen Barth Eide Espen Barth Eide (born 1 May 1964 in Oslo) is a Norwegian politician and political scientist. He is Member of the Storting, Norwegian Parliament for 2017–2021, representing the Labour Party (Norway), Norwegian Labour Party. He was elected to this ...
, Støre's successor, responded to the commission's report in late 2012 by questioning whether the microstates have sufficient administrative capabilities to meet the obligations of EEA membership. However, he stated that Norway was open to the possibility of EFTA membership for the microstates if they decide to submit an application, and that the country had not made a final decision on the matter. Pascal Schafhauser, the Counsellor of the Liechtenstein Mission to the EU, said that Liechtenstein, another EFTA member state, was willing to discuss EEA membership for the microstates provided their joining did not impede the functioning of the organisation. However, he suggested that the option of direct membership in the EEA for the microstates, outside both the EFTA and the EU, should be given consideration. On 18 November 2013, the EU Commission concluded that "the participation of the small-sized countries in the EEA is not judged to be a viable option at present due to the political and institutional reasons", and that Association Agreements were a more feasible mechanism to integrate the microstates into the internal market.


Withdrawal of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, in a 2016 referendum, voted to . Staying in the EEA, possibly eventually as an EFTA member, was one of the suggested options. A 2013 research paper presented to the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
proposed a number of alternatives to EU membership which would continue to allow it access to the EU's
internal market The European Single Market, Internal Market or Common Market is a comprising the 27 of the (EU) as well as – with certain exceptions – , , and through the Agreement on the , and through . The single market seeks to guarantee the fre ...
, including continued EEA membership as an EFTA member state, or the Swiss model of a number of bilateral treaties covering the provisions of the single market. The United Kingdom was a co-founder of EFTA in 1960, but ceased to be a member upon joining the European Community. In the first meeting since the Brexit vote, EFTA reacted by saying both that it was open to a United Kingdom return and that it had many issues to work through although the Norwegian Government later expressed reservations. In January 2017,
Theresa May Theresa Mary, Lady May (; ' Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as and from 2016 to 2019. May served as from 2010 to 2016 in the and has been the (MP) for in since . Ideologically, she identifies herself as ...

Theresa May
, then the
British Prime Minister The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), b ...
, announced a 12-point plan of negotiating objectives and confirmed that the government of the United Kingdom would not seek continued permanent membership in the
single market A single market is a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade (tariffs and Non-tariff barriers to trade, others) are red ...

single market
. The United Kingdom could be allowed by other member states to join the EEA and EFTA but existing EEA members such as Norway would have concerns about taking the risk of opening a difficult negotiation with the EU that could lead them to lose their current advantages. The
Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Scotland. It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 1997 referendum on S ...
has looked into membership of the EFTA to retain access to the EEA. However, other EFTA states have stated that only sovereign states are eligible for membership, so it could only join if it became independent from the United Kingdom. The EEA EFTA States (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) signed a ''Separation Agreement'' with the UK on 28 January 2020, which is understood to mirror the EEA-relevant parts of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. The withdrawal agreement stipulated a
transition period The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled "Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community", is a treaty between the European Un ...
, following the UKs formal withdrawal on 31 January 2020 and ending 31 December 2020, during which both the United Kingdom and the other EEA members remained bound by the existing obligations stemming from international agreements concluded by the EU, including the EEA Agreement. In January and February 2020, the government of the United Kingdom ruled out a future alignment to the rules of the internal market, effectively ruling out EEA membership after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.


Rights and obligations

The EEA relies on the same "four freedoms" underpinning the
European Single Market The European Single Market, Internal Market or Common Market is a single market A single market is a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organiza ...

European Single Market
as does the European Union: the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital among the EEA countries. Thus, the EEA countries that are not part of the EU enjoy free trade with the European Union. Also, the 'free movement of persons is one of the core rights guaranteed in the European Economic Area (EEA) ..is perhaps the most important right for individuals, as it gives citizens of the 31 EEA countries the opportunity to live, work, establish business and study in any of these countries'. As a counterpart, these countries have to adopt part of the
Law of the European Union European Union law is a system of rules operating within the member states of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily ...
. However they also contribute to and influence the formation of new EEA relevant policies and legislation at an early stage as part of a formal decision-shaping process. Agriculture and fisheries are not covered by the EEA. Not being bound by the
Common Fisheries Policy The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all ...
is perceived as very important by Norway and Iceland, and a major reason not to join the EU. The Common Fisheries Policy would mean giving away fishing quotas in their waters. The EEA countries that are not part of the EU do not contribute financially to Union objectives to the same extent as do its members, although they contribute to the EEA Grants scheme to "reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA". Additionally, some choose to take part in EU programmes such as
Trans-European Networks The Trans-European Networks (TEN) were created by the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a co ...
and the
European Regional Development Fund 400px, The European Regional Development Fund, 2007–2013. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is a Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds, fund allocated by the European Union. Its purpose is to transfer money from richer regions (not coun ...
. Norway also has its own Norway Grants scheme. After the EU/EEA enlargement of 2004, there was a tenfold increase in the financial contribution of the EEA States, in particular
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
, to social and economic cohesion in the Internal Market (€1167 million over five years).


Legislation

The non-EU members of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) have agreed to enact legislation similar to that passed in the EU in the areas of
social policy Social policy is policy A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by a gov ...
,
consumer protection Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the marketplace fa:بازار A market, or marketplace, is a location where people regularly gather for the pu ...
,
environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological factors along with their chemical interactions that affect an organism or ...

environment
,
company law Corporate law (also known as business law or enterprise law or sometimes company law) is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules ...
and statistics. These are some of the areas covered by the former
European Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Community
(the "first pillar" of the European Union). The non-EU members of the EEA are not represented in
Institutions of the European Union The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision-making bodies of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europ ...
such as the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
or European Commission. This situation has been described as "fax democracy", with Norway waiting for their latest legislation to be
fax Fax (short for facsimile), sometimes called telecopying or telefax (the latter short for telefacsimile), is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material (both text and images), normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or ...

fax
ed from the commission. However, EEA countries are consulted about new EU legislative proposals and participate in shaping legislation at an early stage. The EEA Agreement contains provisions for input from the EEA/EFTA countries at various stages before legislation is adopted, including consent at the
EEA Joint Committee The EEA Joint Committee is an institution of the European Economic Area The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the ''Agreement on the European Economic Area'', an international agreement which enables the extension of the Euro ...
. Once approved at the EEA Joint Committee, it is part of the EEA Agreement, and the EFTA states within the EEA must implement it in their national law.


Institutions

The
EEA Joint Committee The EEA Joint Committee is an institution of the European Economic Area The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the ''Agreement on the European Economic Area'', an international agreement which enables the extension of the Euro ...
consists of the EEA-EFTA States plus the European Commission (representing the EU) and has the function of amending the EEA Agreement to include relevant EU legislation. An EEA Council meets twice yearly to govern the overall relationship between the EEA members. Rather than setting up pan-EEA institutions, the activities of the EEA are regulated by the European Union institutions, as well as the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the
EFTA Court The Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association States (more commonly known as the EFTA Court) is a supranational judicial body responsible for the three EFTA The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organiz ...
. The EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court regulate the activities of the EFTA members in respect of their obligations in the European Economic Area (EEA). The EFTA Surveillance Authority performs the European Commission's role as "guardian of the treaties" for the EFTA countries to ensure the EEA Agreement is being followed. The EFTA Court performs a similar role to the
European Court of Justice European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe ** Ethnic groups in Europe ** Demographics of Europe ** European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western ...

European Court of Justice
's in that it resolves disputes under the EEA Agreement. While the ECJ and European Commission are respectively responsible for the interpretation and application of the EEA Agreement in the EU (between EU member states and within EU member states), and the EFTA Court and EFTA Surveillance Authority are likewise respectively responsible for interpreting and monitoring the application of the EEA Agreement among the EEA-EFTA states (between the EEA-EFTA states and within the EEA-EFTA states), disputes ''between'' an EU state and an EEA-EFTA state are referred to the EEA Joint Committee rather to either court. Only if the Joint Committee cannot provide a resolution within three months, would the disputing parties jointly submit to the ECJ for a ruling (if the dispute concerns provisions identical to EU law) or to arbitration (in all other cases).Internal preparatory discussions on framework for future relationship – Governance of an International Agreement p. 14
/ref> The original plan for the EEA lacked the EFTA Court or the EFTA Surveillance Authority, as the "EEA court" (which would be composed of five European Court of Justice members and three members from EFTA countries and which would be functionally integrated with the ECJ) and the European Commission were to exercise those roles. However, during the negotiations for the EEA agreement, the European Court of Justice informed the
Council of the European Union A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A ...

Council of the European Union
(Opinion 1/91) that they considered that giving the EEA court jurisdiction with respect to EU law that would be part of the EEA law, would be a violation of the treaties, and therefore the current arrangement was developed instead. After having negotiated the Surveillance Authority, the ECJ confirmed its legality in Opinion 1/92. The EFTA Secretariat is headquartered in
Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge Carouge () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History Carouge is first mentioned in the Early Middle Ages as ''Quadruvium'' and ''Quatruvio''. In 124 ...

Geneva
, Switzerland. The EFTA Surveillance Authority has its headquarters in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
, Belgium (the same location as the headquarters of the European Commission), while the EFTA Court has its headquarters in Luxembourg (the same location as the headquarters of the European Court of Justice).


EEA and Norway Grants

The EEA and Norway Grants are the financial contributions of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe. In the period from 2004 to 2009, €1.3 billion of project funding is made available for project funding in the 15 beneficiary states in Central and Southern Europe. Established in conjunction with the 2004 enlargement of the European Economic Area (EEA), which brings together the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the Internal Market, the EEA and Norway Grants were administered by the Financial Mechanism Office, which is affiliated to the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels.


See also

*
Rules of Origin Rules of origin are the rules to attribute a country of origin to a product in order to determine its "economic nationality". The need to establish rules of origin stems from the fact that the implementation of trade policy measures, such as tari ...
*
Market access In international trade International trade is the exchange of capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or ...
*
Free-trade area A free-trade area is the region encompassing a trade bloc whose member countries have signed a free trade agreementA free trade agreement (FTA) or treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international ...
*
Tariffs A tariff is a tax imposed by a government of a country or of a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of International trade, forei ...
*
EudraVigilance EudraVigilance (European Union Drug Regulating Authorities Pharmacovigilance) is the European data processing network and management system for reporting and evaluation of suspected adverse reactions to medicines which have been authorised or being ...
*
European integration European integration is the process of industrial, economic integration, economic, political, legal, social and cultural Regional integration, integration of states wholly or partially in Europe or nearby. European integration has primarily ...
* **
European Union free trade agreements The European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total populatio ...
**
Central European Free Trade Agreement The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is an international trade agreement A trade agreement (also known as trade pact) is a wide-ranging taxes, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. It exists when two ...
**
European Free Trade Association The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by bus ...
*Future enlargement of the European Union#EFTA states, EU enlargement to EFTA states *Iceland–European Union relations *Liechtenstein–European Union relations *Norway–European Union relations *Switzerland–European Union relations *Parallel importation *Schengen Agreement *''Societas cooperativa Europaea'' *
European Union Customs Union The European Union Customs Union (EUCU) is a customs union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organizatio ...
*Trade bloc *Eurasian Economic Union


References


External links


Text of the EEA Agreement
*[http://www.eeagrants.org/ EEA Grants and Norway Grants]
The EU and the European Economic Area
Europa (web portal): External Relations {{Authority control European Economic Area, 1993 in Belgium 1993 in the European Union 1994 establishments in Europe Foreign relations of Croatia Foreign relations of the European Union Foreign relations of Iceland Foreign relations of Liechtenstein Foreign relations of Norway Foreign relations of Switzerland Iceland–European Union relations Intergovernmental organizations established by treaty International relations Multi-speed Europe Organizations established in 1994 Norway–European Union relations Switzerland–European Union relations Treaties concluded in 1993 Treaties entered into force in 1994 United Kingdom and the European Union March 1993 events la:Consociatio Europaea liberi commercii#Spatium oeconomicum Europaeum