51th Annual Report of The European Free Trade Association 2011

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51th Annual Report of The European Free Trade Association 2011

Source: EFTA

Date: 2011.

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51th Annual Report of The European Free Trade Association 2011

  1. 1. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page1 ST 51 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011
  2. 2. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page2 Annual Report of the European Free Trade Association 2011 • Editor: Tore Grønningsæter • Copy Editor: Juliet Reynolds • Layout by Orangemetalic • Published March 2012 Cover picture: The border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland (iStockphoto/Shiran De Silva) Editor’s note: For basic information on EFTA, please see the publication “This is EFTA”. Further information is also available on our website: www.efta.int/.
  3. 3. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page3 FOREWORD EFTA made good progress in 2011 in its two main areas of activity: The management of the European Economic Area Agreement and the further expansion of EFTA’s global network of free trade relations. The year marked the 20th anniversary of the EFTA Statistical Office in Luxembourg, which acts as a liaison between the statistical office of the European Union, Eurostat, and the EFTA national statistical institutes. The EEA Agreement, which entered into force in 1994, provides a solid framework for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway’s integration into the Single Market of the European Union. With a population of over 500 million, the EEA constitutes the world’s biggest common market. In 2011, 373 legal acts were incorporated into the EEA Agreement, thereby ensuring that the entire EEA is still governed by homogeneous rules, which is a prerequisite for the effective functioning of the EEA. Important additions include the Renewable Energy Directive, the new Social Security Regulation and the inclusion of aviation activities in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The EEA EFTA States are actively involved in a number of programmes and agencies which play an increasingly important role in the EU. In 2011, the Media Mundus Programme was included in the EEA Agreement, supporting international cooperation in the audiovisual industry. Through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway continue to contribute to reducing economic and social disparities in the EEA and strengthening bilateral relations between EFTA and the 15 beneficiary countries in Central and Southern Europe. Key areas of support include environment and climate change, civil society, human and social development, cultural heritage, research and scholarships, and justice and home affairs. In 2011, Hong Kong China and Montenegro joined the expanding network of EFTA’s free trade partners, which now comprises 24 agreements with 33 countries outside the EU. Thus, the EFTA States have preferential free trade relations with 60 countries in Europe and the rest of the world, as well as with each other. This means that 80% of EFTA’s merchandise trade is now covered by preferential trading arrangements. In addition, other important economic activities such as trade in services, cross-border investment and access to government procurement markets also benefit from favourable provisions in EFTA agreements. EFTA was also engaged in a number of important free trade negotiations in 2011, including with Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Indonesia and the members of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Preparations took place for negotiations with Central American countries and Vietnam, while exploratory processes were pursued with MERCOSUR and Malaysia. The EFTA bilateral agreements are fully compatible with the multilateral trading system. They are complementary and not an alternative to this system. The EFTA States, therefore, continue to demonstrate their full commitment to a robust multilateral framework and remain strong supporters of the World Trade Organization. For more than 50 years the EFTA Secretariat has constantly adapted its processes and working methods to serve the needs of its Member States in the best way possible. The two Deputy SecretariesGeneral and I have also endeavoured in the last year to improve our efficiency in delivering the range of services and expertise that our members expect, and that work will continue. Kåre Bryn Secretary-General
  4. 4. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page4 TABLE OF CONTENTS FOREWORD EFTA COUNCIL 5 6 6 EEA GRANTS AND NORWAY GRANTS 28 6 ADVISORY BODIES 30 FREE TRADE RELATIONS ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 5 EFTA Ministerial Meetings The EFTA Council The EFTA Convention Annual Meeting of EFTA and EU Finance Ministers 4 3 7 The Parliamentary Committees 30 The Consultative Committees 31 The EEA EFTA Forum 32 Main Developments 8 Management of EFTA’s Free Trade Agreements and Joint Declarations on Cooperation 10 Technical Cooperation 10 Relations with the WTO 10 EFTA/EU Cooperation in Statistics 25 Technical Cooperation in the Field of Statistics 26 33 ADMINISTRATION 35 APPENDICES THE EEA AGREEMENT INFORMATION ACTIVITIES 36 13 FIGURES The EEA Council The EEA Joint Committee The Standing Committee of the EFTA States Legal and Institutional Matters Free Movement of Goods Free Movement of Capital and Services Free Movement of Persons Flanking and Horizontal Policies 13 13 16 16 16 20 22 22 Fig. 1: Joint Declarations on Cooperation and Free Trade Agreements between EFTA and Non-EU Partners 7 Fig. 2: Joint Committee Meetings in 2011 10 Fig. 3: Meetings Held and EU Acts Incorporated in 2011 14 Fig. 4: Publication in the EEA Supplement 2011 34 Fig. 5: 2011 EFTA Budget 35 Fig. 6: Contributions from the EFTA States to the 2011 EFTA Budget 35
  5. 5. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page5 EFTA COUNCIL EFTA Ministerial Meetings Preferential Trade Relations The EFTA Council met twice at Ministerial level in 2011, on 21 June in Schaan, Liechtenstein and on 14 November in Geneva. The Council was chaired by Liechtenstein in the first half of 2011 and by Norway in the second. Ministers reviewed developments in EFTA’s preferential trade activities with partners worldwide, including relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay); Vietnam; and countries in Central America. They also signed free trade agreements with Hong Kong China and Montenegro, and decided to explore the possibility of developing closer trade relations with Sub-Saharan Africa. The International Economic Situation Ministers also endorsed the outcome of discussions at a technical level on the further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products between the EFTA Member States. Relations with the European Union At their June meeting in Schaan, the EEA EFTA Ministers discussed the general functioning of the EEA Agreement with a focus on the difficult economic 5 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 During their meetings, the EFTA Ministers discussed the international economic and trade environment. They underlined the importance of continuing to refrain from protectionist measures and of promoting policies that enhance growth and financial and economic stability at European and international level. They reiterated their strong commitment to the multilateral trading system but expressed their deep concern over the lack of progress in the World Trade Organization’s Doha negotiations. The EFTA Ministerial meeting in June 2011: Kåre Bryn, EFTA Secretary-General; Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Liechtenstein; Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Iceland; Rikke Lind, State Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Norway; and Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Switzerland.
  6. 6. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page6 situation. They underlined the need for coordinated and comprehensive action at European level. They also expressed their satisfaction that the EEA EFTA States would soon participate in the new system of EU financial supervisory architecture, which began operating on 1 January 2011. Ministers welcomed the conclusion of the majority of projects, programmes and funds under the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms 2004-2009, and the agreements on the two mechanisms for 2009-2014. “Ensuring Financial Sector Stability”, the meeting was chaired by Jan Vincent-Rostowski, Minister of Finance, representing the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. EFTA was represented by Eveline WidmerSchlumpf, Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Finance, Switzerland, as EFTA Chair; Klaus Tschütscher, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Liechtenstein; Steingrímur Sigfússon, Minister of Finance of Iceland; and Sigbjørn Johnsen, Minister of Finance of Norway. The communiqués from the 2011 Ministerial meetings can be found in the appendices to this report. The EFTA Council The Council met eight times in 2011 at the level of heads of permanent delegations to EFTA in Geneva. Delegates discussed EFTA’s relations with countries outside the European Union, including free trade negotiations and the management of existing free trade agreements. They also approved a number of technical cooperation projects and dealt with administrative and budgetary matters. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 6 The EFTA Convention The Council is responsible for the Vaduz Convention, which is updated regularly to reflect legislative developments in the EEA Agreement and the SwissEU Agreements. In 2011, the Council amended Annex A on Rules of Origin, Annex C on Agriculture, Appendix I to Annex P on Land Transport and the Appendix to Annex Q on Air Transport. The Committee on Mutual Recognition in relation to Conformity Assessment also adopted amendments to Annex I on Mutual Recognition. Throughout the year, negotiations were held between agricultural experts from the EFTA States regarding the further liberalisation of intra-EFTA trade in agricultural products. At the Ministerial meeting in Geneva on 14 November, EFTA Ministers endorsed the understanding reached by the experts, and the Council is expected to adopt amending measures in early 2012. Annual Meeting of EFTA and EU Finance Ministers The annual meeting of EFTA and EU Finance Ministers took place on 8 November. With the topic of EFTA Ministers of Finance in Brussels in November 2011: Klaus Tschütscher, Liechtenstein; Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, Switzerland; Steingrímur Sigfússon, Iceland; and Sigbjørn Johnsen, Norway. The Lugano Convention Iceland, Norway and Switzerland were parties to the 1988 Lugano Convention on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. Following the enlargement of the European Union, a revised Convention was adopted in 2007. The 2007 Lugano Convention entered into force in the EU, Denmark and Norway on 1 January 2010, in Switzerland on 1 January 2011 and in Iceland on 1 May 2011. EFTA participates as an observer in the work of the Convention’s Standing Committee.
  7. 7. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page7 FREE TRADE RELATIONS EFTA pursued an ambitious agenda in 2011, aimed at expanding and deepening its preferential trade relations worldwide. With the signing of two new free trade agreements (FTAs) with Hong Kong China and Montenegro, the number of EFTA’s FTAs rose to 24, covering 33 countries. By the end of the year, EFTA’s formal engagement with countries outside the European Union had extended to 51 partners at the following levels of cooperation: Free Trade Agreements EFTA had operational FTAs with 24 partner countries in 2011: Albania, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Peru, Serbia, Joint Declarations on Cooperation and Free Trade Agreements Fig. 1 between EFTA and Non-EU Partners Joint Declaration Free Trade Agreement Signature Albania Algeria Canada Chile Colombia Croatia Egypt Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)[1] Hong Kong China Israel Jordan Korea, Republic of Lebanon Macedonia Malaysia Mauritius MERCOSUR[2] Mexico Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Palestinian Authority Panama Peru Southern African Customs Union (SACU)[3] Serbia Singapore Tunisia Turkey Ukraine [1] [2] [3] Signature Entry into force 10 December 1992 12 December 2002 17 December 2009 1 November 2010 26 January 2008 26 June 2003 25 November 2008 21 June 2001 27 January 2007 22 June 2009 21 June 2011 17 September 1992 21 June 2001 15 December 2005 24 June 2004 19 June 2000 1 July 2009 1 December 2004 1 July 2011 1 April 2002 1 August 2007 27 November 2000 1 July 2001 14 November 2011 19 June 1997 30 November 1998 1 December 1999 1 July 1999 17 May 2006 19 June 2000 8 December 1995 23 May 2000 19 June 1997 19 June 1997 29 March 1996 20 July 2010 9 June 2009 12 December 2000 28 July 2007 12 December 2000 8 December 1995 16 December 1996 20 July 2010 24 April 2006 12 December 2000 8 December 1995 19 June 2000 Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. 24 June 2010 26 June 2006 17 December 2009 26 June 2002 17 December 2004 10 December 1991 24 June 2010 1 January 1993 1 September 2002 1 September 2006 1 January 2007 1 May 2002 1 July 2011 1 May 2008 1 October 2010 1 January 2003 1 June 2005 1 April 1992 7 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 Partner
  8. 8. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page8 Singapore, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU; comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland), Tunisia and Turkey. Signed Free Trade Agreements Free trade agreements with Hong Kong China and Montenegro were signed in June and November 2011 respectively. Together with the FTAs signed with the six Member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) in 2009, and with Ukraine in 2010, they are in the process of being ratified by the parties. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 8 Signing of EFTA’s free trade agreement with Montenegro in November 2011: Ljubiša Perović, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Montenegro, Geneva; and Vladimir Kavarić, Minister of Economy, Montenegro. Main Developments New Agreements with Hong Kong China and Montenegro Launched in January 2010, negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement with Hong Kong China were concluded in March 2011 after five rounds, and the FTA was signed in Schaan, Liechtenstein on 22 June. Merchandise trade between the two sides reached USD 8.3 billion in 2010, with exports from the EFTA States to Hong Kong China valued at USD 6.5 billion. Bilateral trade in services and investments were also significant. For the first time in an EFTA FTA, a chapter on trade and environment was incorporated and an agreement on labour was concluded in parallel. The FTA with Hong Kong China is EFTA’s third agreement with a partner in East Asia, following those already concluded with Singapore and Korea. From the launch of negotiations in March 2011 on a free trade agreement with Montenegro, progress was swift and an FTA was signed in Geneva on 14 November. The emphasis of the FTA is on trade in goods and the protection of intellectual property rights, and it also contains a chapter on trade and sustainable development. Trade between EFTA and Montenegro is still at a relatively low level but has increased strongly since the country’s independence in 2006. With this agreement, EFTA has further consolidated its preferential trading network in South East Europe, Free Trade Negotiations In 2011, EFTA was engaged in or about to commence negotiation processes with ten partners (Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Central American States of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama; India; Indonesia; and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan). Negotiations with Algeria and Thailand remained on hold. Joint Feasibility Studies Work on a joint feasibility study with Vietnam was concluded in February 2011. Joint Declarations on Cooperation Joint declarations on cooperation (JDCs) are operational with Malaysia, Mauritius, Mongolia and MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). Celebrations following the signing of EFTA’s free trade agreement with Hong Kong China in June 2011: Gregory So Kam-leung, Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong China; and Aurelia Frick, EFTA Chair and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Liechtenstein.
  9. 9. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page9 Representatives of EFTA and Central American States announcing the start of free trade negotiations in November 2011: Kåre Bryn, EFTA Secretary-General; Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Switzerland; Ronald Saborio Soto, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Costa Rica, Geneva; Trond Giske, Minister of Trade and Industry, Norway; Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Liechtenstein; Diana Salazar, Vice Minister, Chief Trade Negotiator, Panama; Dacio Castillo, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Honduras, Geneva; and Einar Gunnarsson, Permanent Secretary of State of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Iceland. Emerging Markets In 2011, EFTA reinforced its focus on closer trade relations with major emerging market partners. Negotiations on a broad-based agreement with India, commenced in 2008, gained new momentum with four rounds of talks and additional meetings conducted throughout the course of 2011. Significant progress was achieved and the likelihood increased that negotiations would be concluded in 2012. In January 2011, EFTA entered into formal negotiations with the Russian Federation, along with its customs union partners Belarus and Kazakhstan, followed by another two rounds of talks. Sound foundations were laid for this ongoing process, which will also benefit from Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, as adopted at the eighth WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2011. Negotiations towards a “Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” with Indonesia started in February and three full rounds were held during the course of the year. Particular attention was given to explaining each side’s approach to the various fields, including technical cooperation. A renewed dialogue with MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) was established in September in the framework of the joint declaration on cooperation between the two sides. EFTA and MERCOSUR agreed to pursue a joint assessment of the available options for increasing trade, investment and cooperation in 2012. Further Processes In Europe, negotiations on a free trade agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina commenced in March. After three rounds of talks, several parts of the FTA were completed. Negotiations on the remaining issues are expected to be finalised in the first half of 2012. In Asia, EFTA concluded a joint feasibility study at technical level with Vietnam in February, examining the prospects for a preferential trade agreement. Based on positive recommendations made by the joint study group, a dialogue continued towards 9 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 adding to its existing FTAs with Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia.
  10. 10. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page10 launching negotiations between the two sides in 2012. With Malaysia, a first joint committee meeting under the declaration on cooperation of 2010 was held in June 2011. Exploratory work is being pursued with the perspective of possible free trade negotiations with this partner in the near future. EFTA’s willingness to resume negotiations with Thailand when conditions permit was reiterated by Ministers at their 2011 meetings. In Latin America, FTAs with Colombia and Peru entered into force on 1 July (for Liechtenstein and Switzerland), bringing the number of operational EFTA agreements in the region to four (together with those already concluded with Chile and Mexico). Based on a JDC concluded with Panama in 2010, exploratory talks took place with five Central American countries. EFTA Ministers announced the start of negotiations at their meeting on 14 November, and in December modalities for the negotiating process were agreed with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. A first round of negotiations is anticipated for the first quarter of 2012. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 10 In Northern Africa, negotiations with Algeria remained suspended during the reporting year, but EFTA Ministers confirmed their readiness to resume this process. EFTA Ministers also agreed to further examine the possibility of developing closer trade relations with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (in addition to the existing FTA with the Southern African Customs Union). Management of EFTA’s Free Trade Agreements and Joint Declarations on Cooperation In 2011, the EFTA States held joint committee meetings with four free trade partners (Chile, Israel, Jordan and SACU). On these occasions, EFTA and its partner countries reviewed the functioning of their respective FTAs. They also assessed the need for adjustments and extensions of existing commitments in light of recent developments, notably new preferential arrangements with third countries. As a result, several decisions were made to update existing FTAs and work plans were agreed in view of making further revisions, such as with Israel on agriculture. Experts also worked on possible future amendments to existing FTAs with other partners, notably Canada, Korea and Turkey. Technical Cooperation Within the framework of EFTA’s technical cooperation policy (see box on page 12), activities in 2011 included the following: • Export promotion seminars in two locations in Albania; • An export promotion seminar in Jordan; • A workshop in Vietnam on possible preferential trade relations; and • Support to the Palestinian Authority for participation in two international trade fairs. Relations with the WTO Under the World Trade Organization’s transparency mechanism for bilateral and regional trade agreements, EFTA notified all new free trade negotiations in 2011, as well as signings, ratifications and the entry into force of FTAs. EFTA also submitted notifications to the WTO Secretariat regarding decisions adopted by joint committees under existing agreements. No EFTA FTAs were examined by the WTO’s Committee on Regional Trade Agreements during the reporting year. Joint Committee Meetings in 2011 Free Trade Partner Venue and Date of Meeting Joint EFTA-Jordan Committee (3rd) Joint EFTA-Chile Committee (3rd) Joint EFTA-SACU Committee (2nd) Joint EFTA-Israel Committee (8th) Amman, 23 February 2011 Geneva, 5 May 2011 Geneva, 1 July 2011 Jerusalem, 23 November 2011 Fig. 2
  11. 11. EFTA’S WORLDWIDE NETWORK Free trade relations with individual EFTA States China, Faroe Islands and Japan. Dialogue/study on closer trade and investment relations Central American States (El Salvador and Nicaragua) and Vietnam. Declarations on Cooperation Malaysia, Mauritius, MERCOSUR (comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and Mongolia. FTA negotiations Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central American States (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama), India, Indonesia, Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan and Thailand. EFTA Free Trade Agreements 24 Albania, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), Hong Kong China, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Peru, Serbia, Singapore, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU; comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland), Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. European Union 27 (Free trade partner) EFTA States 4 (Free trade area) 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page11
  12. 12. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page12 EFTA’s Technical Cooperation EFTA’s technical cooperation projects cover a range of trade-related areas and are primarily directed at developing countries and economies in transition. They are funded by the Association and organised by the EFTA Secretariat. EFTA’s projects may involve experts from Member States and partner countries, notwithstanding the EFTA States’ own technical cooperation programmes and initiatives. The main objectives of EFTA’s technical cooperation activities are to support prospective partner countries in preparing for free trade negotiations, and to assist existing partners in the implementation and promotion of FTAs. To this effect, EFTA arranges training, seminars, workshops and study visits adapted to the particular needs of the partner countries. Areas in which EFTA provides assistance include trade facilitation and promotion, customs and origin matters, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, intellectual property rights, government procurement, competition, services and statistics. EFTA also participates in technical cooperation programmes and projects of the European Union aimed at third countries, especially in relation to customs matters, standardisation and statistics. A New Convention on Rules of Origin for the Euro-Mediterranean Region A free trade agreement contains rules of origin which normally limit preferential treatment under that agreement to producers and exporters from the contracting states, according to certain criteria. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 12 The rules of origin concluded as part of the so-called “Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) Cumulation System”, however, go further than this: All participating countries recognise each other’s originating products if corresponding FTAs are in place. As a result, industries established in the PEM zone may source input material from any other country in that zone and still benefit from preferential treatment for the final product, which in most cases is duty-free access to markets. The system dates back to the 1970s when the EFTA States concluded free trade agreements with the EU that allowed for the “cumulation” of origin between the two blocs. It was later extended to Turkey and Central European States that have since joined the EU. In the late 1990s, the system was expanded further to countries in the Mediterranean region in the context of the EU’s “Barcelona Process”. Today, in addition to the EU and the EFTA States, 11 other partners participate in the PEM Cumulation System[1]. On 15 June 2011, a new legal instrument, the “Regional Convention on Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Preferential Rules of Origin”, was opened for signature by the above-mentioned members of the PEM Cumulation System, as well as by additional countries in the Western Balkans[2]. From 2012[3], the new Convention will replace the largely identical rules of origin contained in FTAs concluded between the PEM countries. It will simplify the management of the cumulation system and allow for a single regulatory reference for traders operating in the 49 participating countries and territories. Further partners may join the PEM Convention in the future. As most of the substantive rules included in the PEM Convention were initially conceived in the 1970s, they no longer fully reflect today’s trading patterns and production requirements. A revision of the Convention has therefore already begun. The EFTA States have a strong interest in simpler and more effective rules of origin and are therefore fully supportive of this revision process. [1] [2] [3] Algeria, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The PEM Convention entered into force in the first three states (Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) on 1 January 2012. At the end of 2011, it had been signed by nine further parties, including the European Union and Iceland, with ratification pending.
  13. 13. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page13 THE EEA AGREEMENT of public procurement, the Waste Framework Directive, the Media Mundus Programme and the Framework for the Deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems. Issues discussed by the Joint Committee included specific legal acts such as the Regulation establishing the European Supervisory Authorities for financial markets, the Third Postal Directive, the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive and, more generally, how to further improve the processing of acquis in the EEA Agreement. The EEA Council The EEA Council was chaired by the EU in the first half of 2011 and by EFTA in the second half of the year. The EEA Council met on 23 May and 15 November to review the ongoing work in EEA cooperation and to note the progress reports from the EEA Joint Committee. The Ministers confirmed the positive overall functioning and development of the EEA Agreement and appreciated the fact that new acts were being incorporated quickly into the Agreement. They also discussed the current financial crisis and its implications for the EEA, including regulation of the financial system; the EEA Financial Mechanisms; decision making and shaping; and energy and climate change. In addition, the EEA Council held orientation debates on raw materials and the measures taken to address the current economic crisis. The conclusions from these meetings can be found in the appendices to this report. The EEA Joint Committee The EEA Joint Committee met eight times in 2011 and adopted 164 decisions incorporating 373 legal acts. Among the more significant decisions adopted by the Joint Committee were those concerning the incorporation of the Renewables Directive, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Regulation, aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading, the Ecodesign Framework Directive, modernised social security coordination rules, Solvency II on insurance regulation, the revised Remedies Directive in the area Over the year, the European Commission provided the Joint Committee with briefings on the ResourceEfficient Europe flagship initiative, the Maritime Transport Strategy, the Energy Efficiency Plan and the Single Market Act. The EEA EFTA States also provided a briefing on the EFTA Ministerial meeting of 21 June 2011. 13 The Standing Committee of the EFTA States at Ministerial level on 15 November 2011: Ambassador Jacques de Watteville, Mission of Switzerland to the EU; Ambassador Atle Leikvoll, Mission of Norway to the EU; and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 The EEA Council, 15 November 2011.
  14. 14. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page14 Meetings Held and EU Acts Incorporated in 2011 Fig. 3 Numbers of meetings held in 2011 The Joint Committee Numbers of acts incorporated in 2011 8 343 The Standing Committee 8 - SUBCOMMITTEE I 7 221 Competition Policy - 2 Customs Matters 5 - Efficient Trade Procedures - - Energy Matters 7 14 Fisheries - - Food Chain 1 151 Intellectual Property Rights 3 1 Processed Agricultural Products 1 - Product Liability - - Public Procurement 1 3 State Aid - - Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) 4 - Working Groups [1] Agricultural and Forestry Tractors - 3 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 Expert Groups under TBT 14 Appliances Burning Liquid or Gaseous Fuels - 1 ATEX (equipment for use in explosive atmospheres) - - Cableway Installations - - Chemicals - 25 Construction - - Cosmetics - - Electrical Equipment - - Explosives - - Fertilisers - 1 Good Laboratory Practice - - Machinery - - Marine Equipment - - Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) - - Measuring Instruments - 4 Medical Devices - 1 Medicinal Products - 5 Motor Vehicles - 6 Organic Production - - Personal Protective Equipment - - Pressure Equipment - 3 Product Safety and Market Surveillance 1 - Recreational Crafts - -
  15. 15. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page15 Numbers of meetings held in 2011 Number of acts incorporated in 2011 Telecommunications Equipment - - Textiles - 1 Wine and Spirit Drinks - - SUBCOMMITTEE II 7 64 Company Law 1 6 Electronic Communication, Audiovisual Services and Information Society 3 5 Data Privacy Expert Group - 4 Financial Services 4 3 Postal Services - - Transport 5 46 SUBCOMMITTEE III 7 29 Recognition of Professional Qualifications 1 1 Social Security 3 28 SUBCOMMITTEES III AND IV - - Free Movement of Persons, Working Life and Social Inclusion[2] 1 - SUBCOMMITTEE IV 7 59 Budgetary Matters 3 - Civil Protection 2 - Consumer Affairs 3 - Cultural Affairs 1 - Education, Training and Youth 2 - Working Groups Working Groups Working Groups Enterprise Policy and Internal Market Affairs 2 2 Environment 4 23 Gender Equality, Anti-Discrimination and Family Policy 2 1 Heads of National Statistical Institutes 1 30 Health and Safety at Work and Labour Law[3] 1[4] 3[5] Public Health 2 - Research and Development 2 - Food Chain encompasses Feedingstuffs, Plant Health and Foodstuffs. Temporary merger of the Group on Free Movement of Persons, Employment and Social Policy and the Group on Health and Safety at Work and Labour Law in June 2011. Merged temporarily with the Group on Free Movement of Persons, Employment and Social Policy in June 2011. [4] Prior to the merger. [5] Two acts were incorporated in this field prior to the merger and one after. [1] [2] [3] 15 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 Working Group
  16. 16. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page16 The Standing Committee of the EFTA States The Standing Committee was chaired by Norway in the first half of 2011 and by Liechtenstein in the second half of the year. The agendas and conclusions of the Standing Committee meetings are available on the EFTA website. On 15 November, the EFTA Standing Committee held a joint meeting at Ministerial level in Brussels with the Committee of Members of Parliament of the EFTA States and the Consultative Committee, to discuss developments in the EEA. Legal and Institutional Matters ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 16 12 working groups and 26 expert groups. The EEA EFTA States and the Secretariat undertook a review process of these groups in 2010 and 2011, and the revised structure, designed to further improve the efficiency of the EEA integration process, was implemented in 2011. Two committees deal with issues related to goods under the EFTA Council: The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee and the Committee of Origin and Customs Experts (COCE) (see page 20). In 2011, the TBT Committee gave written input to the European Commission on the review of the standardisation system in Europe, and to the EU institutions on the Commission’s proposal for a new regulation on standardisation. Subcommittee V on Legal and Institutional Questions met six times in 2011. The Subcommittee devoted considerable efforts to the issue of comitology in the EFTA pillar and how to deal with criminal law sanctions in Internal Market legislation. The Subcommittee also discussed the status of the coal and steel sectors under the EEA Agreement, social security rules in the EEA and the territorial scope of the EEA Agreement. Finally, the Subcommittee continued to monitor two-pillar issues in the EEA Agreement, as well as case law developments in the EEA. The Committee also focused on keeping the Vaduz Convention updated, and on the entry into force of Protocol E (mutual recognition of conformity assessments) to the EFTA-Turkey Free Trade Agreement on 5 July 2011. A new EU quality infrastructure project, IPA 2011, cofinanced by EFTA, was approved by the EFTA Council in December 2010 and began in August 2011, following the termination of IPA 2008. This EUR 2.5 million regional project involves Turkey and the Western Balkans, and is expected to last just over two years. Free Movement of Goods Finally, the Committee continued its discussions on the issue of a possible fragmentation of the Single Market for Services arising from certification and standardisation at national level, and cooperated with Nordic Innovation in its third study on the certification of services. A substantial part of EU legislation concerns the free movement of goods, a principle that is applied throughout the Single Market. Today, about 75% of trade in the Single Market is in goods, but this does not imply that all products can circulate freely. They must conform to requirements set for the protection of legitimate interests such as health, safety and the environment. Additionally, in order to ensure a fair and efficient market, a wide range of legislative measures have been established in the fields of competition, state aid and public procurement. Subcommittee I prepares for the integration into the EEA Agreement of legislation relating to all aspects of the free movement of goods – competition, state aid, public procurement, intellectual property rights and energy matters. Subcommittee I is assisted by Veterinary, Food and Agricultural Issues The veterinary and food legislation in the EEA Agreement only applies to Iceland and Norway. Since 2007, Liechtenstein has been subject to the Swiss-EU Agricultural Agreement pertaining to legislation in these areas. Veterinary issues The Food Law Package, which includes key legislation on general food law, hygiene and control matters, and animal by-products, and the extension of certain
  17. 17. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page17 veterinary legislation to Iceland, entered into force in the EEA in May 2010. This means that general food legislation in Iceland and Norway is now in line with EU law. Iceland, however, had a transitional period of until 1 November 2011 to transpose legislation in areas that were not previously applicable to Iceland. The EEA Joint Committee incorporated 64 acts in the veterinary area into the EEA Agreement in 2011. Animal feed 34 legal acts regarding the authorisation of feed additives were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in 2011. Food The Food Law Package ensures full participation by the EEA EFTA States in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) including the possibility of employment for EEA EFTA nationals. Technical Barriers to Trade EFTA deals with the removal of technical barriers to trade in two forums: The TBT Committee, which reports to the EFTA Council (including Switzerland) (see previous page) and the Working Group on TBT, which coordinates the assessment of EEA relevance and acceptability of new EU legislation to the three EEA EFTA Member States. Switzerland is an observer in this Working Group. In addition to clearing acts, the Working Group discussed the following issues in 2011: The Goods Package, the Alignment Package and Mutual Recognition Agreements. Motor vehicles Six technical acts on motor vehicles were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in 2011. The Framework Directive regarding approvals of motor vehicles and trailers is still being discussed by the EFTA States and awaits incorporation into the EEA Agreement. Medicinal products Preparation continued for the incorporation into the EEA Agreement of the new legal framework on organic production. Approximately 40 legal acts were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in the foodstuffs area in 2011. Trade in and use of dangerous substances are strictly regulated in order to protect consumers, workers and the environment. The EEA Agreement contains both general chemicals legislation and product-specific legislation. In total, 23 acts concerning dangerous substances were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in 2011. Trade in agricultural products Mutual recognition agreements Following the conclusion of negotiations between Norway and the European Commission in 2010 on the liberalisation of trade in basic agricultural products under Article 19 of the EEA Agreement, the Agreement is expected to enter into force at the beginning of 2012. Mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) facilitate market access by reducing the costs and time associated with obtaining product certifications. Protocol 12 to the EEA Agreement ensures the smooth functioning and homogeneity of the EEA market with regard to MRAs. In that respect, discussions with Canada were reopened in late 2010 and continued in 2011 in order to finalise a long-pending revision of the EEA EFTA-Canada MRA. In November 2011, Iceland, Norway and the European Commission carried out their annual review of trade in processed agricultural products in accordance with Article 2(2) of Protocol 3 to the EEA Agreement. The parties exchanged information on developments in their respective agricultural policies, and on trade statistics. They also discussed the principles of Protocol 3 and concluded that the Protocol was functioning well. The EFTA States continued discussions with the EU on the incorporation of the Paediatric Regulation. Dangerous substances Market surveillance and consumer product safety The EFTA States are fully committed to the enhanced application of market surveillance under the terms of 17 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 The EEA EFTA States continued to discuss the Novel Foods Regulation and Regulations on genetically modified food and feed and the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These Regulations have not yet been incorporated into the EEA Agreement.
  18. 18. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page18 the new legislative framework for the marketing of products. EFTA was a member of the Commission’s project group on the development of guidelines for customs controls in the area of product safety and contributed directly to their preparation, including the presentation of the draft guidelines to the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. The EFTA States also participated in meetings conducted by the Senior Officials Group for Standardisation and Conformity Assessment Policy (SOGS) and the SOGS Market Surveillance Group. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 18 The EFTA States participate in the work of PROSAFE, Europe’s product safety enforcement forum, which is an informal network of market surveillance enforcement authorities. PROSAFE’s Secretariat is located in the EFTA Secretariat’s building in Brussels. EFTA participates as an advisory member of the PROSAFE Board. PROSAFE is engaged in a joint action on market surveillance and has contributed to the development of EU Commission guidelines on cooperation between market surveillance authorities and customs authorities. The PROSAFE Board monitors the financial management of the joint actions and develops the strategic direction of PROSAFE in the ongoing development of European market surveillance. European Standardisation The EFTA States and the European Commission give financial support to the European standardisation organisations (ESOs): CEN, the European Committee for Standardization; CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization; and ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. Like the Commission, EFTA has the formal status of counsellor to CEN and ETSI, and is entitled to participate in the administrative boards of these organisations, as well as in the general assemblies of the three ESOs. In 2011, EFTA dealt with over 19 mandates for new standardisation activities covering a wide range of sectors. In addition, EFTA signed 58 agreements in the standardisation area, including for the first time a Framework Partnership Agreement with ANEC, the European association for the coordination of consumer representation in standardisation. EFTA continued its financial support to ANEC; to the EAAB, the Association for European Cooperation for Accreditation; and to ECOS, the European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation, which represents consumer and environmental interests in standardisation. In December 2011, EFTA cofinanced a CEN workshop on standardisation in support of resource efficiency. EFTA continued to provide financial support to EOTA, the European Organisation for Technical Approvals, relating to the construction sector. The EEA EFTA States also provided financial support to the European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for Standardisation, which promotes the interests of SMEs in standardisation. Energy In the field of energy, 14 acts were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in 2011, 12 of which were related to ecodesign requirements for energy-using products. One act was related to the inter-TSO compensation mechanism for Transmission System Operators in the European Electricity Market, and another was the Renewables Directive, which had been of particular interest to the EEA EFTA States for a long time due to their high share of renewables. The EEA EFTA States monitored the follow-up to the Energy Strategy 2011 carefully, including a communication on smart grids and work on developing an energy infrastructure instrument. Significant focus was put on the Commission’s proposal for a new Energy Efficiency Directive, which was presented in June 2011 and will be among the most important energy-related initiatives to be discussed in the EU in 2012.
  19. 19. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page19 The Third Package for the Internal Energy Market entered into force in March 2011 and the EEA EFTA States aim to incorporate it into the EEA Agreement as soon as possible. Competition Policy Two block exemptions in the fields of specialisation agreements and research and development agreements were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in February 2011. The EEA EFTA States initiated a review of the acts related to the former European Coal and Steel Community that had been incorporated into the EEA Agreement. 20 December 2011. Two of the proposals will replace the existing procurement directives (the “Utilities” Procurement Directive 2004/17/EC and the “Classical” Procurement Directive 2004/18/EC), whereas the third proposal is for a new directive concerning service concession contracts. Intellectual Property In May, the Commission published a proposal for certain permitted uses of orphan works. Orphan works are works that are still in copyright but whose owners cannot be identified or located. On 13 December 2011, the EEA EFTA States provided the Commission with comments to its proposal for a directive. State Aid The EEA EFTA States followed the work on reforming the state aid rules applicable to Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) compensation closely. The Reform Package entered into force in the EU on 31 January 2012, and the EEA EFTA States foresee its quick incorporation into the EEA Agreement. Public Procurement Three acts in the field of public procurement were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in 2011: The Remedies Directive, which sets out review procedures related to the award of public contracts; and two regulations relating to threshold values and standard notification forms. The EEA EFTA States followed the Commission’s consultation on reforming EU public procurement legislation closely. The reform focuses on simplifying existing rules; facilitating SME access to public contracts; promoting green, social and innovation procurement; and increasing the use of electronic procurement. Norway provided feedback and the EEA EFTA States participated in the follow-up conference to the consultation. A reform package consisting of proposals for three directives was presented on The EU Council has agreed to a general approach to a unitary patent for Europe. In addition, discussions are currently taking place in the Council on the establishment of what is now known as the “Unified Patent Court”. The EEA EFTA States are following this issue closely. A European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy was launched by the Commission in April 2009 and, following a dialogue between the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights and the Commission, it was agreed that the EFTA Member States would participate as observers. In October, EFTA hosted a workshop organised by CEPI, EUROCINEMA, FERA, IMPALA and SAA, organisations from the world of film, cinema and audiovisual services, on the financing and taxation of the cultural industry. The workshop was organised ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 19 In addition, the EEA EFTA States participated in multilateral state aid meetings in 2011 concerning the amendment of regional aid guidelines, the amendment of reporting obligations, state aid to shipbuilding, state aid to broadband networks and state aid to audiovisual works (film).
  20. 20. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page20 within the framework of the European Platform on the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries. Customs Matters, Safety and Security Matters and Trade Facilitation Customs In June, the EFTA States signed the Regional Convention on Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Preferential Rules of Origin that will replace the current network of origin protocols in the various agreements of the free trade zone. Ratification and implementation of the Convention have started in the contracting parties to the Convention, which will create a preferential trading zone throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region (for further information on the PEM Convention see box on page 12). In parallel, the Committee of Origin and Customs Experts is working on the revision of the European rules of origin, aimed at completely modernising and simplifying European origin provisions. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 20 The Committee addressed other customs and origin matters related to free trade agreements with thirdcountry partners, and other open technical customs issues among EFTA countries to guarantee good relations between customs administrations and the smooth functioning of preferential trade relations. Among others, the Committee agreed with the Secretariat of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) to start diagonal cumulation on 1 January 2012 between the EFTA States and the Western Balkan countries – Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia. Safety and security matters With the conclusion of bilateral agreements by Norway and Switzerland with the EU, these two countries were integrated into the EU’s safety and security system, with the result that traders do not have to submit prearrival/predeparture declarations when trading with the EU. The Norwegian bilateral agreement was implemented in Protocol 10 to the EEA Agreement, and a joint working group responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the safety and security measures addressed under the bilateral agreement is currently being set up. Free Movement of Capital and Services Subcommittee II on the Free Movement of Capital and Services coordinates matters of financial services, company law, electronic communications, audiovisual services, information society and data privacy, postal services and transport. Five working groups report to Subcommittee II. Financial Services The EEA EFTA States monitored closely the significant number of legislative acts issued by the European Commission in response to the financial crisis, in particular the regulations creating a new European architecture of financial supervision. In addition to the European Systemic Risk Board, responsible for macro-prudential supervision, the EU established three new supervisory bodies at microprudential level: Trade Facilitation Trade facilitation seeks to improve procedures and controls in merchandise trade across national borders by reducing associated cost burdens and maximising efficiency, while safeguarding legitimate regulatory objectives. Recent developments, such as the challenge of bringing trade facilitation in line with growing safety and security concerns, as well as rising concerns about the use/misuse of trade procedures as trade policy tools, have heightened the political profile of trade facilitation. At the beginning of 2011, the EFTA Committee on Trade Facilitation elaborated a trade facilitation template for EFTA’s ongoing and future trade negotiations, and the Committee is continuously analysing the developments of trade facilitation within other international organisations such as the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Customs Organization, which have added trade facilitation to their agendas.
  21. 21. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page21 • The European Banking Authority • The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority • The European Securities and Markets Authority The EEA EFTA States continued to work on adequate EEA EFTA participation in these bodies. Company Law Transport A significant number of proposals for new EU acts were considered and discussed in depth with the EU during the year. An important development was the incorporation of the Regulation on common rules for the operation of air services and the Regulation establishing the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Several acts were reviewed in 2011, including the proposal on the interconnection of central, commercial and company registers and, more recently, the proposal for a European Foundation Statute. Electronic Communications, Audiovisual Services, Information Society and Data Privacy In the realm of electronic communications, experts from the EEA EFTA States continued to work on the incorporation of the Telecom Package into the EEA Agreement, notably on the role of the EEA EFTA States in the Body of European Regulators in Electronic Communications (BEREC). In the area of audiovisual services, the Media Mundus Programme was incorporated into the EEA Agreement. This is a broad international cooperation programme for the audiovisual industry to strengthen cultural and commercial relations between Europe’s film industry and film makers from third countries. Other important issues on the transport agenda were the Directive on Intelligent Transport Systems in Europe and a proposal for the revision of the guidelines for the development of a trans-European transport network. In the rail sector, high priority was given to the Regulation concerning a European rail network for competitive freight and a proposal to establish a Single European Railway Market. Discussions continued on the possible incorporation of the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive into the EEA Agreement. Postal Services Deliberations took place regarding the incorporation of the Third Postal Services Directive into the EEA Agreement. The proposal for amendments to the Regulation on the establishment of the European Maritime Agency and the Regulation on Passenger Rights were prioritised in the field of maritime transport. The main items on the agenda in the field of air transport were the Second Single European Sky Package, legislation linked to aviation security and the EASA Regulation. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 The EEA EFTA States finalised their discussion on the incorporation of the Data Retention Directive into the EEA Agreement. 21 The EEA EFTA States submitted a Comment on the White Paper on the Future of Transport, which was published in March and identifies the main trends and challenges that will shape the future of transport policy over the coming decades.
  22. 22. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page22 Free Movement of Persons Subcommittee III on the Free Movement of Persons coordinates matters related to all aspects of the free movement of persons, working life and social inclusion, social security and the recognition of professional qualifications. Three working groups report to Subcommittee III. Free Movement of Persons, Working Life and Social Inclusion Following the provisional merger between the Working Group on free movement of persons, employment and social policy and the Working Group on health and safety at work and labour law, the new Working Group discussed various horizontal issues such as the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020); the Green Paper on Public Procurement, which is linked to the social priorities of the Europe 2020 Strategy; and the Single Market Act. Attention was also given to the relevant flagship initiatives under Europe 2020. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 22 In the area of free movement, the EEA EFTA States monitored, for information purposes, developments on the EU side related to proposals for third-country nationals legally residing in the EU. to the planned revision of the Working Time Directive, the debate between the Council and Parliament over the Pregnant Workers Directive, and the proposed revision of the Electromagnetic Fields Directive. The Working Group also held a joint meeting with the EFTA Consultative Committee in Luxembourg, where they mainly discussed issues related to the posting of workers and temporary agency work. Social Security New social security coordination rules were incorporated into the EEA Agreement in 2011. These new rules completely replace Annex VI to the EEA Agreement on the coordination of social security schemes. Their aim is to modernise and simplify social security coordination within the EU and EEA. Recognition of Professional Qualifications Work relating to the proposal to revise the Professional Qualifications Directive was monitored closely. In this respect, an EEA EFTA Comment on the Green Paper on Modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive was sent to the EU side in September. Flanking and Horizontal Policies With regard to employment, the EEA EFTA States were invited to the informal meetings of the EU Employment Committee, where they submitted a report on the labour market situation in each of the EEA EFTA States. They participated in EURES, a cooperation network between the European Commission and the public employment services of the EEA Member States that provides information and assistance to both workers and employers, and monitored the planned reforms of this network. Subcommittee IV on Flanking and Horizontal Policies coordinates matters related to all aspects of the horizontal provisions of the EEA Agreement, as well as cooperation outside the four freedoms. There are 13 working groups reporting to Subcommittee IV. As regards social policy, the EEA EFTA States continued their informal dialogue with the EU’s Social Protection Committee and discussed their potential participation in the European Year for Active Ageing 2012. The EEA EFTA States participated actively in both the employment and social protection sections of the PROGRESS Programme, which supports the implementation of the European Employment Strategy and underpins the EU’s coordination activities in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The EEA EFTA States continued to follow the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme on Research (FP7), the Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiatives in the area of research and innovation, and the EU’s ongoing work on new European Research Area (ERA) initiatives. They also followed closely the Commission’s preparation of its proposal for a new framework programme in the field of research and innovation – Horizon 2020. In the areas of health and safety at work and labour law, EEA EFTA experts followed developments related The EEA EFTA States are negotiating with the Commission on the possibility of incorporating the Research and Development
  23. 23. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page23 Environment The EEA Joint Committee adopted several decisions in the field of environment in 2011, namely on the inclusion of aviation activities in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the ETS single EU registry, ambient air quality, the control of priority substances in water and the EU Waste Framework Directive. One of the Working Group’s main priorities for 2011 was to continue to prepare for the incorporation of the revised EU ETS Package into the EEA Agreement. The second trading period for this scheme will end in 2012, so preparations for the third trading period were at the centre of the Working Group’s work and discussions with the Commission. The experts also focused on areas such as the incorporation of acts related to the INSPIRE Directive and the incorporation of the new EU Ecolabel Regulation and related acts. Other initiatives that the Working Group followed carefully in 2011 included a proposal for a regulation on the possibility for Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory, a proposal on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and a proposal on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances (Seveso III). The EEA EFTA States monitored the work of the High Level Group on Education and Training Policies in the EU and submitted an EEA EFTA Comment on the Communication on Early Childhood Education and Care. They also continued to follow the development of the Rights of the Child initiatives and the relevant parts of the Rights and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020). Gender Equality, AntiDiscrimination and Family Policy The Directive on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity was incorporated into the EEA Agreement in July 2011. The EEA EFTA States continued their participation in the gender equality strand of the PROGRESS Programme and in the Daphne III Programme on Community action to prevent violence against children, young people and women, and to protect victims and groups at risk (2007-2013). Experts also focused on relevant proposals for new programmes within the Multiannual Financial Framework (20142020) and monitored plans for an accessibility act and attempts to increase the representation of women on company boards. 23 Consumer Affairs The EEA EFTA States followed the revision of consumer acquis and assessed in particular the Topics discussed with the Commission included forest protection and action against invasive species, and the evaluation of the Commission’s Sixth Environment Action Programme. The Working Group also received briefings from the EU presidencies on their priorities in the field of environment and climate change. Education, Training and Youth The EEA EFTA States’ current priority in the area of education, training and youth is their participation in the Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013) and the Youth in Action Programme (2007-2013). The EEA EFTA States followed the Commission’s preparatory work for the post-2013 programme – Erasmus for All – and submitted an EEA EFTA Comment on future programmes in the field of education, training and youth (2014-2020). Diana Wallis, then Vice-President of the European Parliament, presenting her views as Rapporteur on a Common European Sales Law to the EFTA Working Group on Consumer Protection. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 Council Regulation on the Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) into the EEA Agreement.
  24. 24. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page24 Directive on Consumer Rights in view of its possible incorporation into the EEA Agreement. EEA EFTA experts also followed closely the newly-issued proposal on a Common European Sales Law and proposals on alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution. The EEA EFTA States received confirmation from the Commission that they would be fully included in all upcoming editions of the Consumer Market Scoreboard. Two further priorities for 2011 were the upcoming Consumer Programme (2014-2020) and the new Consumer Policy Strategy. Enterprise Policy and Internal Market Affairs ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 24 The main issues monitored by the EEA EFTA States in the area of enterprise policy and Internal Market affairs in 2011 were the new proposal for the Programme on Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) and the innovation, growth and competitiveness aspects of the Horizon 2020 Programme. The EEA EFTA States also followed the SME policy, the implementation of the Services Directive, e-commerce, the Internal Market Information (IMI) system, which provides a multilingual database to support implementation of Internal Market legislation, and the Better Regulation initiative, which aims to improve and simplify new and existing legislation in the EU. Finally, the EEA EFTA States monitored the development of SOLVIT, an online network for solving problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market law, as well as the “Your Europe” portal, which provides practical information on the rights and opportunities available to individuals and businesses in the Internal Market. Civil Protection The EEA EFTA States continued to participate actively in the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection and the Civil Protection Financial Instrument (2007-2013). Particular attention was given to the ongoing revision of the legal instruments in this area and the Commission’s proposals for a revised mechanism and financial instrument. The Working Group and Subcommittee finalised their position on the Directive on Critical Infrastructure Protection with a view to incorporating it into the EEA Agreement. Cultural Affairs The EEA EFTA States’ main priority in the field of culture and sport was to follow the new proposal on Creative Europe (2014-2020) closely, as well as the sports part of the Erasmus for All Programme. Public Health The Working Group on Public Health prepared for the incorporation of the Patient Mobility Directive into the EEA Agreement and attended the meetings of the new Comitology Committee on cross-border healthcare on the EU side. Particular attention was given to pandemic preparedness and health security, including possible joint procurement of vaccines; developments at EU level with regard to a possible revision of the Tobacco Products Directive; and challenges facing Europe’s health workforce and health inequalities overall. The Group also focused on the proposal for a new Health for Growth Programme (2014-2020) and a new Justice Programme, including drugs prevention and information. Budgetary Matters The Working Group on Budgetary Matters monitors and coordinates the preparation of the annual EEA EFTA Budget, which covers the EEA EFTA countries’ contribution to the EU Budget and allows for EEA EFTA participation in EU programmes, actions and agencies. Of particular interest in 2011 were the estimated budgetary implications of the proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020), adopted by the Commission on 30 June 2011. The Secretariat prepared a working document that was circulated to the relevant working groups. The EEA EFTA commitment to EU operational costs in 2011 was EUR 262 million, an increase of EUR 36 million from 2009. EEA EFTA payments in 2010 amounted to EUR 215 million, adjusted for the 2009 credits. The EEA EFTA States also contribute to the administrative costs of the European Commission, an important part of which is the contribution in kind of seconded national experts. In 2011, 34 EEA EFTA national experts were seconded to the various directorates within the European Commission dealing with EEA-relevant programmes and activities.
  25. 25. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page25 EFTA/EU Cooperation in Statistics The EFTA Statistical Office (ESO) celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. The office was created in 1991 in EFTA Statistical Office Luxembourg as a liaison office between Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, and the EFTA national statistical institutes (NSIs). Since then, the combined efforts of ESO and Eurostat have resulted in close and wellfunctioning cooperation, as well as in the sustained integration of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland into the European Statistical System (ESS). EFTA celebrated the anniversary with a reception and panel discussion on the Statistical Office's past, present and future. The Working Group of the Heads of EFTA NSIs reports to Subcommittee IV. In 2011, the Working Group dealt in particular with: • The development of the 2011 EEA Annual Statistical Programme based on the EU Annual Statistical Programme; • The impact of the new legislative procedures introduced by the Lisbon Treaty; • Possible implications of the EU Financial Supervisory Architecture for NSIs; and • The significant reorganisation of Eurostat due to its strengthened verification powers as regards the quality of statistical data. Integration of EFTA Statistics into the European Statistical System In addition to their core activities, ESO and the EFTA NSIs ensured EFTA’s presence in the ESS by: 25 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 To mark the occasion ESO also published a new edition of the EFTA/EU Statistical Cooperation Handbook. This updated edition, published as part of the EFTA Bulletin series, describes the institutional and practical aspects of EFTA/EU statistical cooperation. Heads of EFTA National Statistical Institutes Panel participants at ESO’s 20th anniversary event: Pieter Everaers, Director for External Cooperation, Eurostat; Olav Ljones, Deputy Director-General, Statistics Norway; Wilfried Oehry, Director-General, Liechtenstein Office of Statistics; Gabriel Gamez, Regional Adviser for the Statistics Division of UNECE and former Head of ESO; Heinrich Brüngger, former Director of the Statistics Division of UNECE and former Head of ESO; and Andrea Scheller, Head of ESO (moderator).
  26. 26. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page26 • Monitoring the inclusion of EFTA data in Eurostat’s databases and publications; • Ensuring EFTA’s and the EFTA NSIs’ active involvement in EU technical cooperation programmes in the field of statistics with European and non-European third countries; and • Contributing substantially to the European Statistical Training Programme (ESTP). Production and Dissemination of EFTA Statistics ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 26 Protocol 30 to the EEA Agreement and the Swiss-EU Agreement in the field of statistics provide for statistical information from all EFTA States to be transmitted to Eurostat for storage, processing and dissemination. ESO continues to strive for the regular inclusion of EFTA data in Eurostat databases and publications. The tangible result of this joint initiative between ESO, the EFTA NSIs and Eurostat is that the inclusion of EFTA data in Eurostat databases and publications is at a good level, despite there still remaining some room for improvement. EFTA Participation in Eurostat Working Groups and Committees Eurostat organised around 110 meetings in 2011 to prepare and implement new legislation, exchange and develop methodologies and follow up on data collection. The EFTA Member States participated actively in the relevant meetings on an equal footing with colleagues from the EU Member States, and ESO prepared a guide on participation in Eurostat working groups for participants to get the most out of these meetings and make their opinions heard. Technical Cooperation in the Field of Statistics EFTA works closely with Eurostat on technical cooperation in the field of statistics. This is based on a Memorandum of Understanding that has the general objective of ensuring close collaboration between the EFTA States and Eurostat in a number of programmes. Cooperation may also take the form of joint undertakings with international organisations such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). EFTA’s involvement gives priority to countries that have concluded JDCs or FTAs with EFTA. Support is granted mainly to countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP East and South), to the Western Balkans and to Turkey, but can also include EFTA free trade and prospective partners in other regions of the world. Technical Cooperation Activities and Projects 2011 was an exceptional year in terms of the geographical coverage of regions that benefited from EFTA technical cooperation, including Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), Turkey, the Western Balkans, the Mediterranean, Latin America and the Caribbean. The main activities and projects were: • The continuation of the global assessments of the EECCA countries’ national statistical systems. EFTA support was granted through the funding of assessors from EFTA countries and ESO in the assessments of the Kyrgyz Republic and Ukraine; • A joint EFTA/Eurostat/UNECE high-level seminar on streamlining statistical production for experts from the Western Balkan countries; • A training course for experts from the national statistical offices of the 23 Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) countries on the use of administrative registers in the production of statistics; • A training course for experts from the Frenchspeaking Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) on advanced methods for sample surveys; • A joint IMF/EFTA/UNECE course on government finance statistics for experts from the Commonwealth of Independent States and several other countries; and • The funding of experts’ participation in international and regional events in the field of statistics.
  27. 27. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page27 European Statistical Training Programme An exchange of letters between the EFTA Secretariat and Eurostat stipulates that the EFTA Secretariat finances at least two ESTP courses per year in return for EFTA statisticians having the right to participate in all courses. ESO Heads past and present: Heinrich Brüngger, Andrea Scheller (current Head of ESO), Ib Thomsen and Gabriel Gamez. In 2011, the EFTA Secretariat financed three of the close to 25 ESTP courses that were held: One organised by Statistics Norway on the set-up, use and maintenance of business registers, and two by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office on data analysis and data modelling, and survey methodology and sampling techniques. EFTA Seconded National Experts at Eurostat 27 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 At the end of 2011, three experts from Norway and two experts from Switzerland were seconded to Eurostat within the framework of the EEA Agreement and the Swiss-EU Agreement respectively. One more from each country will start their secondments in early 2012. Two Norwegian experts were seconded to Eurostat as a contribution in kind within the framework of EFTA/EU technical cooperation to ensure continuity of support and EFTA visibility in the overall programming and management of EFTA/EU activity. Two experts completed their secondments and returned to Statistics Norway in 2011.
  28. 28. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page28 EEA GRANTS AND NORWAY GRANTS Through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to reducing disparities in the EEA and to strengthening bilateral relations with the 15 beneficiary countries in Central and Southern Europe. Key areas of support include environment and climate change, civil society, human and social development, cultural heritage, research and scholarships, decent work, and justice and home affairs. EUR 1.789 billion in funding has been agreed for the period 2009-2014, up from EUR 1.307 billion for the previous five-year period. Norway represents approximately 97% of the total funding. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 28 2011: Over 1 000 Projects Completed Evaluating Results The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) of the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels administers the grant schemes on behalf of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Reducing Disparities and Strengthening Relations Projects awarded support under the EEA Grants and Norway Grants 2004-2009 were to be implemented by 30 April 2011. By that date, 90% of the 1 215 projects supported were completed, while some 100 projects were granted a one-year extension. Two sector evaluations of projects funded by the EEA and Norway Grants 2004-2009 were completed in 2011. Significant Funding for Research An evaluation assessing academic research funding found that the support provided both a relevant and significant source of funding, complementing wider EU funding schemes. The evaluation also showed that that all funded projects had met their immediate Since funding from the EEA EFTA States to the least developed countries and regions of the EU started in 1994, the Grants have contributed to a variety of areas, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting biodiversity, improving health services, promoting social inclusion and strengthening civil society. In addition, the Grants have increasingly contributed to developing mutual cooperation and strengthening bilateral relations. Under the EEA Grants and Norway Grants 2004-2009, donor and beneficiary state entities cooperated to implement over 900 projects, both small and large. More strategic cooperation is being established between 2009 and 2014. Over half of the expected 140 programmes will be planned and implemented in cooperation with public entities from the donor states. Bilateral funds at national and programme level will also spur bilateral contacts, networking and project cooperation. Lake monitoring in Estonia (Photo: I. Ansko).
  29. 29. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page29 strengthening the national migration management system, paying special attention to the situation of unaccompanied children seeking asylum. For the current funding period, support for programmes dealing with environment, climate change and green innovation is expected to represent around one-third of the total. The EEA Grants and Norway Grants contribute to programmes in the following areas: objectives and conducted their activities as planned. Research cooperation contributed to strengthened bilateral relations. Addressing Health Challenges The evaluation of the health and childcare funding concluded that the projects addressed relevant EU and national health challenges, as well as local needs. The impact on target areas and groups was generally reported to be positive. The report also concluded that almost all evaluated projects had achieved at least the planned deliverables, with some even exceeding their predefined objectives. Norway Grants • Carbon capture and storage • Green industry innovation • Decent work and tripartite dialogue • Research and scholarship • Human and social development • Justice and home affairs 29 Allocation per country, 2009-2014 (in million EUR) Spain 46 Slovenia 27 Slovak Republic 81 2011: Preparing for New Funding Bulgaria 127 Cyprus 8 Czech Republic 132 Estonia 49 Romania 306 Greece 63 Hungary 153 Portugal 58 Important steps were taken in 2011 to prepare the funding under the EEA Grants and Norway Grants 2009-2014. By the end of the year, funding priorities and institutional arrangements had been agreed in Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with 13 of the 15 beneficiary countries. Under the EEA Grants and Norway Grants 2009-2014, the donor states provide support to larger programmes rather than projects. This approach strengthens the strategic and impact-oriented approach of the Grants. The programme areas are agreed in the MoUs. In 2011, the first two programmes were approved. The first is a fund for decent work and tripartite dialogue covering the 12 newest EU and EEA Member States, and the second is a programme in Greece aimed at Latvia 73 Lithuania 84 Malta 5 Poland 578 TOTAL: 1 789 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 “Walk the Grants“, an event organised by the Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw, brought together representatives of all funded projects in Poland (Photo: Mateusz Pieczko). EEA Grants • Environmental protection and management • Climate change and renewable energy • Civil society • Research and scholarship • Human and social development • Protecting cultural heritage
  30. 30. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page30 ADVISORY BODIES The Parliamentary Committees The Committee of Members of Parliament of the EFTA Countries (CMP) and Committee of Members of Parliament of the EFTA States (MPS) continued their active involvement in EFTA third-country relations and cooperation with the EU. The Chair of the CMP/MPS in 2011 was Mr Svein Roald Hansen (Norway) and the Vice Chair was Mr Harry Quaderer (Liechtenstein). Third-Country Relations ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 30 In February 2011, representatives of the CMP/MPS visited Vietnam to support the ongoing dialogue on possible free trade negotiations by strengthening ties with stakeholders in Vietnam and sharing their views on the merits of free trade. Together with an observer from the Consultative Committee, the parliamentarians met with the Speaker and relevant committees of the National Assembly, government officials and business representatives. The CMP/MPS met with EFTA Ministers in Schaan in June and Geneva in November, receiving updates on third-country relations and raising points of interest for the Committee members. Among other issues, the Committee discussed the FTA negotiations with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and showed an interest in strengthening free trade with emerging markets and the relation between development aid and trade. The Committee continued its active engagement with respect to sustainable development provisions in free trade agreements, which have been incorporated into all EFTA negotiations since the model chapter was agreed in 2010. The Committee met with WTO officials in November to discuss the Doha Round and the relationship between the multilateral and bilateral approach to trade. Cooperation with the EU The EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee (EEA JPC) met twice in 2011, in Svalbard in April and in Strasbourg in October. The EEA JPC took a highly active role in the reflections on the EEA Agreement, and as a joint committee, its members gathered information and insights from both the EU and EFTA sides on the ongoing EEA review processes. A working document entitled “The Review of the EEA” was developed for the spring meeting, and will be developed further in the coming period. As with previous meetings, the EEA JPC engaged in a fruitful Discussions at a joint seminar in Oslo on 13 December 2011 between the EFTA Consultative Committee and representatives of the European Economic and Social Committee’s Single Market Observatory: Elisabeth Walaas, Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway; and Halldór Grönvold, Chair of the Consultative Committee, Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ).
  31. 31. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page31 The Consultative Committees The EFTA Consultative Committee (EFTA CC) held four internal meetings in 2011 and focused, among others, on developments in the Internal Market, with specific emphasis on the implementation of the Single Market Act and a citizen’s approach; responses to the economic and financial crisis; innovation in the energy field; and a new flagship/agenda for skills and jobs (Europe 2020). The Committee also continued its work on international trade developments, focusing especially on EFTA’s third-country relations. Committee Work dialogue with the EEA Council, the EEA Joint Committee and the EFTA Surveillance Authority on the functioning of the EEA. The meeting in Svalbard also had the High North on the agenda, attracting notable interest from the European Parliament. Furthermore, the EEA JPC took an initiative to establish a refund scheme for beverage packaging by adopting a resolution in the October meeting calling on the European Commission to introduce a mandatory EEA-wide system. The EEA JPC also adopted resolutions on the Digital Agenda and the EEA Grants and Norway Grants. Furthermore, the MPS continued its active dialogue with the EFTA Ministers on EEA affairs, and met with the Standing Committee at Ministerial level for the third time in Brussels in November. These joint meetings also included the EFTA Consultative Committee and constitute an increasingly important dialogue between the Ministers and the advisory bodies on developments in the EEA. 31 Concerning the EEA, the EFTA CC met with the EFTA Standing Committee at Ministerial level in November in Brussels. It also invited the Vice President of ESA to give a briefing in June on ESA’s most recent activities. The Committee continues to emphasise strongly the importance of holding such joint meetings, which contribute to enhancing dialogue with the relevant EFTA authorities at political, parliamentary and diplomatic level in the four EFTA countries. In March, the EFTA CC held an exchange of views with the European External Action Service, the EFTA Ambassadors to the EU and a representative of a Brussels-based think tank on the future of the EEA and EU-Swiss relations. Furthermore, the EFTA CC continued its cooperation with the EFTA authorities at EFTA working group level. In March, the Committee and the EFTA Working Group on Health and Safety at Work and Labour Law organised a visit to the EFTA Court in Luxembourg, where they observed the hearing on the Icelandic Posting of Workers case, discussed with a Commission representative the latest developments in the labour market field, and met with the President of the EFTA Court. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 Members of the EFTA Parliamentary Committee at the EFTA Ministerial meeting in Geneva on 14 November 2011: Harry Quaderer (Independent), Liechtenstein; and Svein Roald Hansen (Labour), Norway. The EFTA CC met with the Standing Committee of the EFTA States in March, the EFTA Ministers in June and the Ministerial Chair of the Council in December, and the EFTA Parliamentary Committee in June. In November, the Parliamentary and Consultative Committees held a joint seminar on the financial and economic crisis, focusing especially on developments in smaller economies, featuring case studies from the EFTA countries.
  32. 32. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page32 EEA Consultative Committee The EEA EFTA Forum At its meeting in May in Tartu, Estonia, the EEA Consultative Committee (EEA CC) focused on European economic governance and on Iceland’s EU accession negotiations. It also visited a project in Tartu that had received funding from the EEA Financial Mechanism. Furthermore, the EEA CC engaged in a dialogue with representatives of the EEA Joint Committee and ESA on the latest EEA developments, and discussed and adopted two resolutions on the Single Market Act and innovation in the energy field. The EEA EFTA Forum of elected representatives from local and regional authorities (the Forum) was established by the Standing Committee of the EFTA States in 2009 as an informal body to involve elected representatives from local authorities and regions in EEA matters. The Forum has 12 members, six from Iceland and six from Norway. Liechtenstein has decided not to take part in the meetings for the time being. Osmosis Cooperation between social partners in the EEA was further reinforced in 2011 through the Osmosis procedure, which allows representatives of the EFTA Consultative Committee to participate in the work of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and vice versa. Cooperation in 2011 included EFTA participation in the EESC Joint Consultative Committee meetings with Croatia, Turkey and Macedonia; the EESC Steering Committee on Europe 2020; and the EESC Single Market Observatory. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 32 The Co-chairs of the EEA CC in 2011 were, for the EFTA CC, Halldór Grönvold (Iceland) and, for the EESC, Meelis Joost (Estonia). Halldór Halldórsson, Icelandic Association of Local Authorities, was elected as new Chair of the EEA EFTA Forum of Local and Regional Authorities from 1 June 2011. The Forum held two meetings in 2011, the first in Hamar, Norway, from 31 May to 1 June, and the second in Brussels from 14 to 15 November. The Forum adopted opinions on the planned revision of the EU Public Procurement Directive, multilevel governance in the EEA, public services in the EEA context, and the European Commission’s draft directive on energy efficiency.
  33. 33. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page33 INFORMATION ACTIVITIES EFTA informs its stakeholders and the general public about its activities through a website, seminars and various publications. Members of the public can access or order EFTA documents through a link on the site. Furthermore, presentations are given to visitors to the Secretariat offices in Geneva, Brussels and Luxembourg. In Brussels alone, approximately 70 groups (a total of 1 250 people) visited EFTA in 2011. Website The website contains news and general information on EFTA’s work, as well as legal texts related to EFTA’s free trade agreements and the EEA Agreement. The site has approximately 800 visitors per day. Seminars Publications The latest editions of all of EFTA’s brochures are available on the website. Paper copies can be ordered free of charge, subject to availability. The following were released in 2011: • This is EFTA 2011: An annual publication, providing an overview of EFTA and its activities, together with useful trade and economic statistics. • The EFTA Bulletin: EFTA/EU Statistical Cooperation Handbook. A new and updated edition. In addition, EFTA’s updated fact sheet, “EFTA at a Glance”, provides a brief introduction to the organisation and its activities. EFTA held several seminars and workshops in 2011, including the following: • In May, the EFTA Secretariat, in collaboration with the stakeholder organisation Science|Business, held a roundtable discussion on data protection and security. • In June, around 90 participants from both the public and private sectors in the EEA countries met in Brussels for EFTA’s regular seminar on the EEA, which had a special focus on the EU’s Internal Energy Market. • In October, EFTA hosted a workshop with around 50 representatives of organisations from a wide range of cultural and creative sectors to discuss the financing and taxation of the cultural industries. 33 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 • In February, an export promotion seminar was organised in Amman by EFTA, the Jordanian Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Jordanian Chambers of Industry and Commerce.
  34. 34. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page34 The EEA Supplement The EEA Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union is a translation into Icelandic and Norwegian of EEA-relevant texts. The EEA Supplement contains material from: • • • • • The EEA Joint Committee The Standing Committee of the EFTA States The EFTA Surveillance Authority The EFTA Court The European Commission The EEA Supplement is published on the EFTA website once a week. Since 2008, the Icelandic and Norwegian versions of the EEA Supplement have not been synchronised with regard to content. In 2011, the EFTA Secretariat published 71 issues of the EEA Supplement. The publication of acts incorporated into the EEA Agreement decreased in 2011 compared to the previous year for the Icelandic version, whilst the Norwegian version saw an increase in the number of acts published in 2011. Publication in the EEA Supplement 2011 Fig. 4 Number of pages ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 34 EEA Joint Committee Decisions EC Acts EFTA Standing Committee EFTA Surveillance Authority EFTA Court EU Institutions Total Icelandic 325 3 132 28 694 47 1 344 5 570 Norwegian 325 2 811 28 694 47 1 344 5 249
  35. 35. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page35 ADMINISTRATION At the end of 2011 there were 22 fixed-term and shortterm staff based in Geneva, and 63 in Brussels and Luxembourg. The Financial Mechanism Office in Brussels employed 52 staff. All figures are on a fulltime equivalent basis and include trainees. The Secretariat’s budget is prepared according to the framework budgeting principle used by the Member States’ public administrations. This approach aims to increase awareness of budgetary spending at all levels. The budget is accompanied by a performance plan in which the activities of the Secretariat are divided into projects. The plan and subsequent reports keep the Member States informed of the costs and outcomes of the Secretariat’s various activities. EFTA’s budget is prepared in two currencies: Swiss francs (CHF) and euros (EUR). The total budget for 2011 was equivalent to CHF 23 654 000. The EFTA Board of Auditors The EFTA Board of Auditors (EBOA), established in May 1992, is the supreme audit authority of EFTA. It is a permanent committee which, in cooperation with external auditors, performs an annual audit of the three EFTA institutions: The EFTA Secretariat, the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) and the EFTA Court. For matters related to the Secretariat, EBOA meets “at four” (one representative from each EFTA State) and reports directly to the EFTA Council. For matters related to the EEA Agreement (ESA and the EFTA Court), EBOA meets “at three” (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and reports to the ESA/Court Committee. EBOA also works in cooperation with the European Court of Auditors. EBOA met three times in 2011. EBOA’s annual audit report is made available on the EFTA Secretariat’s website once the relevant Council procedures for the year in question have been finalised. 2011 EFTA Budget Fig. 5 Budget Posts 2011 Budget (in CHF) Trade-related activities EEA-related activities EFTA/EU statistical cooperation Secretary-General's services (information, horizontal and Council activities) EU/EFTA and EFTA cooperation programmes Administration and Management Contributions from the EFTA States to the 2011 EFTA Budget Member State Iceland Liechtenstein Norway Switzerland Total 4 682 000 8 824 000 747 000 1 964 000 3 245 000 4 192 000 23 654 000 Fig. 6 Contributions (in CHF) Share (in %) 1 025 000 205 000 13 510 000 8 914 000 23 654 000 4.33 0.87 57.12 37.68 100.00 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 35
  36. 36. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page36 APPENDICES EFTA Parliamentary Committee Members[1] Iceland Mr Árni Þór Sigurðsson Left-Green Movement Mr Skúli Helgason Social-Democratic Alliance Ms Þorgerður K. Gunnarsdóttir Independence Party Mr Sigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson Progressive Party Mr Magnús Orri Schram Social-Democratic Alliance Liechtenstein Mr Harry Quaderer Independent Mr Albert Frick Progressive Citizens’ Party Norway ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 36 Mr Svein Roald Hansen Labour Party (Chair CMP/MPS and President of the EEA JPC) Mr Harald T. Nesvik Progress Party Ms Gina Knutson Barstad Socialist Left Party Ms Laila Gustavsen Labour Party Ms Laila Marie Reiersten Progress Party Mr Jan Tore Sanner Conservative Party Switzerland Mr Ignazio Cassis Radical-Liberal Party Mr Didier Berberat Social Democratic Party Mr Eugen David Christian Democratic Party Ms Brigitta M. Gadient Civic Democratic Party Mr Hans Kaufmann Swiss People’s Party [1] Committee members as at October 2011.
  37. 37. 2486-RAPPORT-2012-06_AR 20/03/12 16:11 Page37 EFTA Consultative Committee Members Iceland Mr Halldór Grönvold (Chair) Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ) Mr Róbert Trausti Árnason Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) Mr Haraldur Ingi Birgisson Icelandic Chamber of Commerce Ms Helga Jónsdóttir Federation of State and Municipal Employees (BSRB) Mr Bjarni Már Gylfason Federation of Icelandic Industries (SI) Liechtenstein Mr Josef Beck Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Mr Sigi Langenbahn (Second Vice Chair) Federation of Liechtenstein Employees Norway Federation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises (Virke) Ms Liz Helgesen Norwegian Confederation of Unions for Professionals (Unio) Mr Vidar Bjørnstad Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) Ms Bente Stenberg-Nilsen Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) Mr Espen Søilen Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) Mr Christopher Navelsaker Norwegian Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) Switzerland Mr Jan Atteslander economiesuisse Ms Ruth Derrer Balladore Confederation of Swiss Employers Ms Jean-Pierre Monti Swiss Workers’ Federation and Swiss Federation of Employees Ms Marco Taddei Swiss Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Mr Pierre Weiss Fédération des Entreprises Romandes Genève (FER Genève) 37 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION 2011 Mr Thomas Angell (First Vice Chair)

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