Rådskonklusjoner om det indre marked og forholdet til ikke-EU-medlemsland

Tittel

Rådskonklusjoner om et homogent utvidet indre marked og EUs forhold til vesteuropeiske ikke-EU-medlemsland

Council conclusions on a homogeneous extended single market and EU relations with Non-EU Western European countries

Siste nytt

Rådskonklusjoner vedtatt av EUs utenriksministre 16.12.2014

EU er generelt fornøyd med EØS-avtalen, men peker i evalueringen som ble vedtatt på utenriks­minister­møtet 16. desember 2014 (bildet) at EØS/EFTA-landenes lange behandlingstid, inkludert hyppige ønsker om endringer og unntak og sen gjennomføring i nasjonal rett, fører til fragmentering og inhomogenitet i det indre marked.

EU minner også Norge om økningen av omstridte ostetollen, som man gjerne ser reversert i forbindelse med kommende forhandlinger om landbruksvarer. I tillegg til de tre EØS/EFTA-landene tar evalueringen også for seg EUs forhold til Sveits, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino.

Den sveritsiske folkeavstemningen som resulterte i et krav om oppheving av fri bevegelse av personer mellom EU og Sveits, har ført til et anstrengt forhold mellom de to partene, og EU fastholder i rapporten sin kritisk holdning. For de tre mikrostatene er EU nå villig til å innlede forhandlinger om assosieringsavtaler.

Gjennomgangen av EUs forhold til de europeiske ikke-medlemslandene foretas hvert annet år.

Nærmere omtale

BAKGRUNN (fra rådskonklusjonenes avsnitt om Norge og EØS, engelsk utgave)

KINGDOM OF NORWAY

21. Relations with Norway remain close and stable, and have continuously deepened in the course of the past two years. In this context, the Council welcomes the new European policy approach taken by the Norwegian Government in follow-up to Norway's EEA review and the nomination of a Minister of EEA and EU Affairs at the Office of the Prime Minister of Norway, as well as the publication, on 11 June 2014, of the government's new strategy for cooperation with the EU "Norway in Europe 2014-2017". The Council looks forward to the implementation of this new policy approach.

22. The Council appreciates the very close cooperation with Norway in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The Council looks forward to the continuation of this close cooperation, based on shared values, such as the importance attached to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

23. Regarding cooperation in the area of energy, the Council notes with satisfaction that Norway remains a reliable partner of the EU as key supplier of gas and oil. The Council fully recognises the importance of this cooperation for the energy security of the EU, as well as the significant contribution of Norway to the completion of the internal energy market. The Council notes however that the Third Energy Package has not yet been implemented in Norway, and calls for increased efforts in view of a swift incorporation into the EEA Agreement. The Council notes the importance of the close cooperation with Norway on climate change, in particular in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and looks forward to continuing this cooperation.

24. Concerning Arctic policy, the Council reiterates its interest to further strengthen cooperation, and welcomes the continued strong support of Norway for the EU's observer status in the Arctic Council.

25. The Council attaches particular importance to achieve further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products with Norway. Therefore, the Council welcomes the imminent launch of negotiations with Norway on the liberalisation of trade in basic agricultural products under Article 19 of the EEA Agreement, and hopes for substantive progress in these negotiations. Furthermore, the Council recalls the intentions voiced in 2013 by the Norwegian government, which led the EU to expect the withdrawal of certain harmful tariff measures, and calls on Norway to reverse these measures. The Council invites Norway to open negotiations with the EU on the liberalisation of trade in processed agricultural products. Finally, the Council stresses the importance of well-functioning trade procedures and underlines the need of continuing the close cooperation with Norway in this area.

26. The Council reaffirms its strong support for the maintenance of the internationally-agreed moratorium on commercial whaling established under the International Whaling Commission and for the listing of cetaceans and other marine species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It calls upon Norway to reconsider its position on these issues.

27. Regarding cooperation under the EEA Agreement, and in view of ensuring the homogeneity of the internal market acquis throughout the entire EEA, the Council urges Norway to swiftly and substantively increase its efforts to fulfil its obligations under the Agreement regarding the timely incorporation and implementation of EEA relevant EU legislation.

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA

28. The Council acknowledges the key role played by the EEA Agreement throughout the last 20 years in advancing economic relations and internal market integration between the EU and the EEA EFTA States. It notes that, overall, cooperation under the EEA Agreement with the three EEA EFTA countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein functions well.

29. The Council welcomes the signing in April 2014 with the EEA EFTA States of an agreement extending the EEA Agreement to Croatia, and of three related agreements. Furthermore, the Council welcomes the participation of the EEA EFTA States in numerous EU programmes for the period 2014-2020, covering a broad range of subjects, including research, education, civil protection, satellite navigation, environmental issues and cooperation in the area of health.

30. The Council commends the solidarity shown by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein through the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms (2009-2014), aimed at reducing social and economic disparities in the EEA, and expresses its satisfaction on the success of the projects and initiatives funded by these Mechanisms. It appreciates the common understanding of all parties with regard to the continuous need to further alleviate these disparities. In view of the importance of persisting disparities, including disparities resulting from extraordinary high levels of youth unemployment, and in the light of the expiry of the previous Financial Mechanisms on 30 April 2014, the Council calls for renewed efforts of solidarity to swiftly conclude ongoing negotiations on the renewal of these Mechanisms. The Council also takes note of the on-going negotiations, in parallel with the Financial Mechanism negotiations, on bilateral issues between each of the EEA EFTA States and the EU, and calls for a swift conclusion of these negotiations.

31. The Council expresses its satisfaction at the agreement between the EU and the EEA EFTA side, as noted by the EU and the EEA EFTA Ministers of Finance and Economy in their informal meeting of 14 October 2014, on the principles for the incorporation into the EEA Agreement of the EU Regulations establishing the European Supervisory Authorities in the area of financial services. The Council hopes that the technical work preparing the incorporation of these Regulations will be finalised as soon as possible.

32. The Council nonetheless notes with concern the recurrent backlog and delays incurred during the entire process of incorporation of EU legislation into the EEA Agreement, as well as in the implementation and enforcement of relevant legislation in the EEA EFTA states. In this context, the Council strongly emphasizes the need for renewed efforts in order to ensure homogeneity and legal certainty in the European Economic Area.

33. While welcoming efforts made by the EEA EFTA States over the last years to step up the pace of incorporation, the Council regrets that these efforts were still insufficient to effectively and comprehensively address the existing problems. It notes in particular that the questioning of the EEA relevance of EU legislation by the EEA EFTA states, the extensive use made of the possibility under the Agreement to request adaptations and exceptions, as well as delays in the clearance of constitutional requirements and in the implementation and enforcement of already adopted EEA legislation in the EEA EFTA states contribute to a fragmentation of the internal market and to asymmetric rights and obligations for economic operators. The Council encourages the EEA EFTA states to actively work towards a sustainable and streamlined incorporation and application of EEA relevant legislation as this is paramount to safeguard the overall competitiveness of the European Economic Area.