Under the Romanian Presidency, the Council of the EU adopted on March 4 three proposals regarding the position to be taken by the EU in the EEA Joint Committee concerning several amendments to the EEA Agreement. The Proposals had been previously discussed and endorsed in the Working Party on European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
These proposals aim to amend the following annexes of the EEA Agreement: Annex IX (Financial services), Annex XIX (Consumer protection), Annex II (Technical regulations, standards, testing and certification) and Annex XI (Electronic communication, audio-visual services and information society). One of the proposals amending Annex IX (Financial services) amounts for about 10% of the backlog and concerns the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) and Directive (MiFID).
The Council of the EU also adopted, on 21 January, the position to be taken by the EU in the EEA Joint Committee concerning an amendment to Annex IX (Financial services) to the EEA Agreement, in view of including the Regulation on settlement and central securities depositories.
On 19 February, the Council adopted, following strong debates, the Council conclusions on EU relations with the Swiss Confederation. The text of the conclusions can be found at the following address: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/02/19/council-conclusions-on-eu-relations-with-the-swiss-confederation/.
Throughout March, the Working Party on EFTA will review a set of decisions in order to allow a swift amendment of the annexes to the EEA Agreement in view of the uniform application, throughout EEA, of safeguard measures adopted by the Union for the case of a no-deal Brexit.
In its role as chair of the EEA Council, the Romanian Presidency will take part to the 52nd meeting of the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee, that will take place in Strasbourg, on 13 March. The agenda of this biannual meeting of the Committee will include discussions on the evolution of the EEA Agreement and, in general, its functioning.
The EEA Agreement concluded between the EU and three EFTA states (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) has a particular importance, because it ensures the participation framework of the three states at the internal market and it confers equal rights and obligations for the citizens and economic operators from the 31 states. The agreement contains provisions related to the four liberties and it includes also the following domanis: research and development, education, social policies, environment, consumer protection, tourism and culture.