A 2016 "UK referendum voted to "withdraw from the European Union. Staying in the EEA, possibly eventually as an EFTA member, is one of the suggested options. A 2013 research paper presented to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom proposed a number of alternatives to EU membership which would continue to allow it access to the EU's "internal market, including continuing EEA membership as an EFTA member state, or the "Swiss model of a number of bilateral treaties covering the provisions of the single market. The United Kingdom was a co-founder of EFTA in 1960, but ceased to be a member upon joining the "European Union. In the first meeting since the Brexit vote, EFTA reacted by saying both that they were open to a UK return and that Britain has many issues to work through although the Norwegian Government later expressed reservations. In January 2017, "Theresa May, the "British Prime Minister, announced a 12-point plan of negotiating objectives and confirmed that the UK government would not seek continued permanent membership in the "single market. The Scottish Government has looked membership of EFTA to retain access to the EEA. However, other EFTA states have stated that only sovereign states are eligible for membership, so it could only join if it became independent from the UK.
Rights and obligations
The EEA is based on the same ""four freedoms" as the "European Community: the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital among the EEA countries. Thus, the EEA countries that are not part of the EU enjoy free trade with the European Union. Also, '[t]he free movement of persons is one of the core rights guaranteed in the European Economic Area (EEA) ... [i]t is perhaps the most important right for individuals, as it gives citizens of the 31 EEA countries the opportunity to live, work, establish business and study in any of these countries'.
As a counterpart, these countries have to adopt part of the "Law of the European Union. However they also contribute to and influence the formation of new EEA relevant policies and legislation at an early stage as part of a formal decision-shaping process.
Agriculture and fisheries are not covered by the EEA. Not being bound by the "Common Fisheries Policy is perceived as very important by Norway and Iceland, and a major reason not to join the EU. The Common Fisheries Policy would mean giving away fishing quotas in their waters.
The EEA countries that are not part of the EU do not bear the financial burdens associated with EU membership, although they contribute to the "EEA Grants scheme to “reduce social and economic disparities in the EEA”, and some choose to take part in EU programmes such as "Trans-European Networks and the "European Regional Development Fund. Norway also has its own Norway Grants scheme. After the EU/EEA enlargement of 2004, there was a tenfold increase in the financial contribution of the EEA States, in particular "Norway, to social and economic cohesion in the Internal Market (€1167 million over five years).["citation needed]
The non EU members of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) have agreed to enact legislation similar to that passed in the EU in the areas of "social policy, "consumer protection, "environment, "company law and statistics. These are some of the areas covered by the former "European Community (the "first pillar" of the "European Union).
The non-EU members of the EEA are not represented in "Institutions of the European Union such as the "European Parliament or "European Commission. This situation has been described as “fax democracy”, with Norway waiting for their latest legislation to be "faxed from the Commission. However, EEA countries are consulted about new EU legislative proposals and participate in shaping legislation at an early stage. The EEA Agreement contains provisions for input from the EEA/EFTA countries at various stages before legislation is adopted, including consent at the "EEA Joint Committee. Once approved at the EEA Joint Committee, it is part of the EEA Agreement and the EEA EFTA States must implement it in their national law.
The "EEA Joint Committee consists of the EEA-EFTA States plus the "European Commission (representing the EU) and has the function of amending the EEA Agreement to include relevant EU legislation. An EEA Council meets twice yearly to govern the overall relationship between the EEA members.
Rather than setting up pan-EEA institutions, the activities of the EEA are regulated by the European Union institutions, as well as the "EFTA Surveillance Authority and the "EFTA Court. The "EFTA Surveillance Authority and the "EFTA Court regulate the activities of the EFTA members in respect of their obligations in the European Economic Area (EEA). The EFTA Surveillance Authority performs the "European Commission's role as "guardian of the treaties" for the EFTA countries to ensure the EEA Agreement is being followed. The EFTA Court performs a similar role to the "European Court of Justice's in that it resolves disputes under the EEA Agreement.
The original plan for the EEA lacked the EFTA Court or the EFTA Surveillance Authority, as the "EEA court" (which would be composed of five European Court of Justice members and three members from EFTA countries and which would be functionally integrated with the ECJ) and the European Commission were to exercise those roles. However, during the negotiations for the EEA agreement, the European Court of Justice informed the "Council of the European Union (Opinion 1/91) that they considered that giving the EEA court jurisdiction with respect to EU law that would be part of the EEA law, would be a violation of the treaties, and therefore the current arrangement was developed instead. After having negotiated the Surveillance Authority, the ECJ confirmed its legality in Opinion 1/92.
The EFTA Secretariat is headquartered in "Geneva, "Switzerland. The EFTA Surveillance Authority has its headquarters in "Brussels, "Belgium (the same location as the headquarters of the European Commission), while the EFTA Court has its headquarters in Luxembourg (the same location as the headquarters of the European Court of Justice).
EEA and Norway Grants
The EEA and Norway Grants are the financial contributions of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe. In the period from 2004 to 2009, €1.3 billion of project funding is made available for project funding in the 15 beneficiary states in Central and Southern Europe.
Established in conjunction with the 2004 enlargement of the European Economic Area (EEA), which brings together the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the Internal Market, the EEA and Norway Grants were administered by the Financial Mechanism Office, which is affiliated to the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels.
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- "Trade bloc
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