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Strengthening the European Economic Area will improve competitiveness and resilience

Met dank overgenomen van Sloveens voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op woensdag 24 november 2021.

The regular meeting of the European Economic Area Council to be held in Brussels on 24 November 2021 will bring together representatives of three member states of the European Free Trade Association and representatives of the EU member states.

Members of the European Economic Area (EEA) will discuss the general functioning of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA Agreement), as well as hold an orientation debate on the new industrial policy. Ministers will also adopt a Progress Report by the European Economic Area Joint Committee.

Minister Zdravko Počivalšek will attend the meeting as the representative of Slovenia, the country currently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union. “I am looking forward to discussing the functioning of the Agreement on the European Economic Area. It is essential that we strengthen the measures and policies that drive the transition to climate neutrality and digitalisation,” he said. He emphasised the importance of the good functioning of the EEA Agreement and the strengthening of relations with the countries of the European Economic Area, which are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

He also highlighted the EU's renewed industrial policy, which aims to strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of European industry. “The renewed strategy is an instrument for strengthening the resilience of the internal market, especially in times of crisis. It is important for Europe to identify its vulnerabilities and dependencies and take appropriate action, including working with key partners such as the EEA EFTA States.” Minister Počivalšek also pointed out that special attention should be paid to small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in the transition to green and digital technologies.

The report by the EEA Joint Committee presents an overview of the adoption of legal acts included in the EEA Agreement, the participation of the EEA EFTA States in EU programmes and an overview of the agreements signed under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism. During the Slovenian Presidency, important legislative acts were adopted that enable the participation of the EEA EFTA States in EU programmes.

The European Economic Area Council consists of the EU member states and three member states of EFTA - Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting is taking place in person in Brussels.


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