Diplomatic Representation in Brussels (B)

Liechtenstein’s membership in the EEA

Through the EEA, the 28 Member States of the European Union and the three EEA EFTA States (Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway) are integrated in the Internal Market. Citizens of all 31 EEA Member States have the right to make use of the four freedoms, i.e. the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital. In addition, the EEA Agreement prohibits any discrimination based on nationality. Common rules on competition as well as harmonized provisions in the areas of social policy, consumer protection, environment, statistics and company law further support the functioning of the internal market.

Preserving the homogeneity of the internal market is a highly dynamic process. It relies on the continuing incorporation of EEA-relevant EU legal acts into the EEA Agreement, thereby making them applicable in the three EEA EFTA States. Several hundred EU legal acts are prepared every year by experts of EEA EFTA States for incorporation into the EEA. In Liechtenstein, this task is centrally coordinated by the EEA Coordination Unit. The Mission in Brussels supports these activities and represents Liechtenstein in the Joint Committee of the EU and the EEA EFTA States (the EEA Joint Committee), which takes the decisions on EEA incorporation of EU legal acts.  Prior to these meetings, the EEA EFTA States coordinate their positions internally in the so-called Standing Committee.

The highest political organ of the EEA, the EEA Council, meets twice per year to discuss the functioning of the EEA. On that occasion, the competent Ministers of the EEA EFTA States meet the rotating EU Presidency. The EEA Council usually adopts conclusions (most recently in May 2018), which reflect the status of EEA cooperation. Among the most important topics addressed in recent years were Brexit as well as the incorporation of EU legal acts in the area of financial services.

The two-pillar structure reflects an important principle of the EEA. While the EU’s own organs enforce the implementation of the EEA Agreement in the 28 EU Member States, the three EEA EFTA States rely on separate institutions: The EFTA Surveillance Authority as well as the EFTA Court.

 

Links:

EEA information material provided by the EEA Coordination Unit (mostly in German)

EEA Website of the EFTA Secretariat

EEA Website of the EU (European External Action Service)

 

Press releases:

EEA Council May 2018 (in German)

EEA Council November 2017 (in German)


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