The EEA Agreement

The Agreement on the European Economic Area extends the principles of the European Union internal market to three out of the four EFTA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. As a result, the four fundamental freedoms of the internal market - free movement of goods, services, capital and persons -apply in the EEA in the same way as they do in the European Union.

The purpose of the EEA Agreement is to guarantee, in all 30 EEA States, the free movement of goods, people, services and capital – “the four freedoms”. As a result of the agreement, EC law on the four freedoms is incorporated into the domestic law of the participating EFTA States. The Agreement seeks to guarantee equal conditions of competition, and equal rights to participate in the internal market for citizens and economic operators in the EEA. It also provides for co-operation across the EEA in other important areas such as research and development, education, social policy, the environment, consumer protection, tourism and culture.

The EEA Agreement creates a two-pillar system in which the Authority and the EFTA Court monitor the application of the Agreement by the EFTA States, while the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Communities do so in respect of the EU Member States.

All new relevant Community legislation is also introduced through the EEA Agreement so that it applies throughout the EEA, ensuring a uniform application of laws relating to the internal market.One of the central features of the EEA Agreement, and one which distinguishes it from most other international agreements, is that its common rules are continuously updated by adding new EU legislation. Each month, a number of new EEA-relevant measures are incorporated into the annexes to the EEA Agreement by decision of the EEA Joint Committee.

The full text of the EEA Agreement can be found on the website of the EFTA Secretariat .

Other EEA Institutions

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