Ambitious and stimulating review of EEA Agreement

Last updated: 02/02/2010 // On 7 January, the Norwegian Government established a broad-based independent committee to undertake a thorough, research-based review of the EEA Agreement. The establishment of an independent review committee was first announced in the Government’s new policy platform in October.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre commented: “The EEA Agreement is the most comprehensive international agreement Norway has concluded. We cannot expect to reach consensus on Norway’s EU policy by means of a review, but the work that has now been launched will provide a very solid foundation for a knowledge-based discussion about Norway’s cooperation with the EU. The committee’s members have thorough and broad expertise and knowledge of developments in the EU and the scope and functioning of the EEA Agreement during the 16 years it has been in force.”

The committee’s 12 members include researchers and other resource persons who possess personal experience and practical knowledge of work related to the EEA Agreement. Professor Fredrik Sejersted of the Centre for European Law will chair the committee, and former State Secretary Liv Monica Stubholt, Director of Aker ASA, has been appointed as deputy chair. In addition to the committee, a reference group will be established, in which the business sector, organisations, political parties and other stakeholders will be represented. 

“The EEA Agreement affects all aspects of Norwegian society. It is therefore important that the committee helps to create an open and inclusive process, and that it involves a full range of stakeholders in the EEA Agreement by means of seminars, consultations and discussions,” said the Foreign Minister. 

The review is to be as thorough and exhaustive as possible. The committee has been mandated to assess the political, legal, administrative, economic and social consequences of the EEA Agreement and of other agreements and cooperation arrangements between Norway and the EU. Its work will thus also include a review of Norway’s experience of the Schengen Agreement. The committee will also review the work of the bodies that were set up to monitor the functioning of the EEA Agreement. The committee is to submit its report by the end of 2011. 

“The committee has been given an ambitious and stimulating mandate. It will be performing an important task, and I look forward to following its work,” said the Foreign Minister.

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