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European Economic Area

European free trade zone established in 1994 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the Agreement on the European Economic Area, an international agreement which enables the extension of the European Union's single market to member states of the European Free Trade Association.[4] The EEA links the EU member states and three of the four EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) into an internal market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to enable free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital within the European single market, including the freedom to choose residence in any country within this area. The EEA was established on 1 January 1994 upon entry into force of the EEA Agreement. The contracting parties are the EU, its member states, and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.[5] New members of EFTA would not automatically become party to the EEA Agreement, as each EFTA State decides on its own whether it applies to be party to the EEA Agreement or not. According to Article 128 of the EEA Agreement, “any European State becoming a member of the Community shall, and the Swiss Confederation or any European State becoming a member of EFTA may, apply to become a party to this Agreement. It shall address its application to the EEA Council.” EFTA does not envisage political integration. It does not issue legislation, nor does it establish a customs union. Schengen is not a part of the EEA Agreement. However, all of the four EFTA States participate in Schengen and Dublin through bilateral agreements. They all apply the provisions of the relevant Acquis.[6]

Quick facts:        &n...
        European Economic Area        
    • Европейска икономическа зона (Bulgarian)
    • Europski gospodarski prostor (Croatian)
    • Evropský hospodářský prostor (Czech)
    • Det Europæiske Økonomiske Samarbejdsområde (Danish)
    • Europese Economische Ruimte (Dutch)
    • Euroopa Majanduspiirkond (Estonian)
    • Euroopan talousalue (Finnish)
    • Espace économique européen (French)
    • Europäischer Wirtschaftsraum (German)
    • Ευρωπαϊκός Οικονομικός Χώρος (Greek)
    • Európai Gazdasági Térség (Hungarian)
    • Evrópska efnahagssvæðið (Icelandic)
    • Limistéar Eorpach Eacnamaíoch (Irish)
    • Spazio economico europeo (Italian)
    • Eiropas Ekonomikas zona (Latvian)
    • Europos ekonominės erdvės (Lithuanian)
    • Europäesche Wirtschaftsraum (Luxembourgish)
    • Żona Ekonomika Ewropea (Maltese)
    • Det europeiske økonomiske samarbeidsområde (Norwegian)
    • Europejski Obszar Gospodarczy (Polish)
    • Espaço Económico Europeu (Portuguese)
    • Spațiul Economic European (Romanian)
    • Európsky hospodársky priestor (Slovak)
    • Evropski gospodarski prostor (Slovene)
    • Espacio Económico Europeo (Spanish)
    • Europeiska ekonomiska samarbetsområdet (Swedish)
  EU states which form part of the EEA
  EFTA states which form part of the EEA
  • Institutions
  •  • Governance
  •  • Regulators
  •  • Courts
Member states[1][2]
3 EFTA member states
 EEA Agreement signed
2 May 1992
 Entry into force
1 January 1994
4,945,000 km2 (1,909,000 sq mi)
 2021 estimate
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
US$16.3 trillion[3]
 Per capita

The EEA Treaty is a commercial treaty and differs from the EU Treaties in certain key respects. According to Article 1 its purpose is to "promote a continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relation". The EFTA members do not participate in the Common Agricultural Policy or the Common Fisheries Policy.

The right to free movement of persons between EEA member states and the relevant provisions on safeguard measures are identical to those applying between members of the EU.[7][8] The right and rules applicable in all EEA member states, including those which are not members of the EU, are specified in Directive 2004/38/EC[8] and in the EEA Agreement.[7][9]

The EEA Agreement specifies that membership is open to member states either of the EU or of the EFTA. EFTA states that are party to the EEA Agreement participate in the EU's internal market without being members of the EU or the European Union Customs Union. They adopt most EU legislation concerning the single market, with notable exclusions including laws regarding the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy.[10] The EEA's "decision-shaping" processes enable EEA EFTA member states to influence and contribute to new EEA policy and legislation from an early stage.[11] Third country goods are excluded for these states on rules of origin.

When entering into force in 1994, the EEA parties were 17 states and two European Communities: the European Community, which was later absorbed into the EU's wider framework,[citation needed] and the now defunct European Coal and Steel Community. Membership has grown to 30 states as of 2020: 27 EU member states, as well as three of the four member states of the EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).[5] The Agreement is applied provisionally with respect to Croatia—the remaining and most recent EU member state—pending ratification of its accession by all EEA parties.[2][12] One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA, but has a set of bilateral sectoral agreements with the EU which allow it to participate in the internal market.

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