25 years
of EEA cooperation

On 2 May 1992, the Agreement on the European Economic Area was signed in the Portuguese city of Porto. Ministers sat down at 5 PM to sign the deal that created the European Economic Area (EEA), giving the three EFTA States Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway full access to the European Internal Market.

25 years later, the EEA Agreement covers 31 countries and 500 million people and guarantees the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital – “the four freedoms” – in all EEA States.

The Agreement ensures equal rights to participate in the Internal Market and equal conditions of competition for citizens and economic operators in the EEA. By removing barriers to trade and by opening new opportunities, the Internal Market of the EEA creates jobs and growth and adds to the international competitiveness of the EEA States. The Agreement also covers areas such as health and safety at work, labour law, equal treatment and non-discrimination, protection of consumer rights and the environment. Moreover, it provides for European cooperation in research and development, education, tourism and culture.


“The EEA Agreement has contributed greatly to the constant improvement of the living and working conditions of those living within the EEA,” says President Sven Erik Svedman of the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).

Continued success for the EEA Agreement depends upon uniform implementation and application of the common rules in each of the 31 EEA States. The Agreement provides for an oversight system where ESA supervises the participating EFTA States. ESA ensures that Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway respect their obligations under the EEA Agreement and protects the rights of individuals and market participants – as well as the Agreement itself.

Since the signing in 1992, the EEA Agreement has continued to develop and grow. What has not changed is the fundamental benefits for the participating countries. At ESA we will continue to do our part through safeguarding, monitoring and enforcing the EEA Agreement.

Other EEA Institutions

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