EEA Council concluded on a well functioning EEA Agreement

The 24th meeting of the EEA Council took place in Brussels on 21 November 2005. In addition to the actual meeting, a political dialogue and an orientation debate on the status of the WTO negotiations took place.

15/02/2006 :: The Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and State Secretary Liv Monica Bargem Stubholt participated in the biannual meeting between the EEA EFTA-states and the EU, represented by the current and forthcoming EU presidencies, as well as representatives from the EU Commission.

Within the framework of the Political Dialogue, the Ministers discussed the fight against terrorism, the OSCE Reform Process and the preparations for the Ministerial Meeting which will take place in Ljubljana on 4 – 5 December 2005, as well as the capacity building in Africa and the responsibility for peace building and conflict resolution.

The Ministers carried out an assessment of the overall functioning of the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA) within the format of the official Council meeting. They found the enlargement of the EEA to have functioned well and welcomed that all the Contracting States now have ratified the EEA Enlargement Agreement.

In addition, the progress made in implementation of the new EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Mechanism gained acknowledgement in the Council. The Council furthermore underlined the common objective of the simultaneous accession of new members to the European Union and to the EEA, in order to secure the homogeneity and the good functioning of the EEA.

The Ministers also welcomed the continuation of well-functioning cooperation and the speedy incorporation of new legislation for the Internal Market into the EEA Agreement.

The importance of the EEA-EFTA participation in the EEA relevant Agencies and Programmes of the EU was emphasized. The participation in European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is anticipated. This has been delayed on the EFTA-side due to approval in the Icelandic Government.

The field of civil aviation was highlighted as an important area of cooperation in the future. This includes incorporation of common rules and principles governing the organisation of the European airspace (Single European Sky) and informal contacts with respect to the Open Skies Policy of the European Union.

Both parties agreed on the shared aim of creating stable, peaceful and prosperous relations with the neighbouring countries and a continued exchange of information on further developments of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Other issues, including better regulation and EEA-EFTA contributions in the decision-shaping process of EEA-relevant legislation, were also on the agenda.

An orientation debate on the status of the negotiations leading up to the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December also took place during the Council meeting.

Mr Gahr Støre confirmed to the press after the EEA Council meeting that the Norwegian government supports an ambitious result in the negotiations and underlined the importance of Norway and the other countries in the G 10 group to have a close relationship with the EU in this matter.

The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs also stated the previous and present government view on the EU anti-dumping measures on salmon, which may after discussion become permanent.

“We find the these measures to be unfounded and contrary to WTO rules”, Mr Gahr Støre said.


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State Secretary Liv Monica Bargem Stubholdt and Foreign Affairs Minister Jonas Gahr Støre attended EEA Council on 21 November.Photo: Ann Mari Bjørlo/Mission of Norway.