The Agreement on the European Economic Area, or EEA, is an international agreement between the European Union and three of its member states (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) that make up the European Free Trade Association. Signed on May 2, 1992, it entered into force on January 1, 1994, and has since been amended several times.
The EEA agreement aims to create an internal market for goods, services, capital, and people between the EU and EFTA countries, without the need for customs duties or other barriers to trade. It also includes cooperation in other areas such as research and development, education, social policy, and the environment.
One of the key benefits of the EEA agreement is that it allows the EFTA countries to participate in the EU’s single market, while retaining their sovereignty in certain areas. For example, they are not required to adopt EU policies in areas such as agriculture and fisheries, but they must abide by EU rules in areas such as competition, state aid, and consumer protection.
In terms of governance, the EEA is overseen by a Joint Committee, which is composed of representatives from the EU and EFTA countries. The Committee is responsible for ensuring that the EEA agreement is correctly implemented and for resolving disputes between the parties.
The EEA agreement has had a significant impact on the economies of the EFTA countries, particularly Norway. According to the European Commission, Norway’s GDP per capita is 34% higher than it would have been without the EEA agreement. The agreement has also facilitated trade between the EU and EFTA countries, with the EU being the EFTA countries’ largest trading partner.
In conclusion, the Agreement on the European Economic Area is a key international agreement that has facilitated trade and cooperation between the EU and three of its member states. Its provisions have had a significant impact on the economies of the EFTA countries, and it continues to be an important area of cooperation between the EU and its neighbors. As such, it will likely remain an important part of Europe’s economic landscape for years to come.