Rådskonklusjoner om EUs relasjoner til EFTA-landene. "General Affairs Council" (EUs Europa- og utenriksministre) 14. desember 2010
Rådskonklusjoner vedtatt 14.12.2010
EUs utenriksministre vedtok 14. desember 2010 en statusrapport om Fellesskapets forhold til de fire EFTA-landene Norge, Sveits, Island og Liechtenstein, inkludert EØS-avtalen og de sveitsiske bilaterale avtalene med EU. Utenriksministrene viser til den norske komiteen som våren 2010 ble nedsatt av regjeringen for å se på Norges erfaringer med EØS-avtalen og forholdet til EU, og ønsker i den forbindelse at EU selv foretar en gjennomgang av EØS-avtalen. Av rapporten går det ellers fram at EU savner et overvåkingsorgan og en tvisteløsningsmeknisme for avtalene med Sveits. Utenriksministrene ønsker også mer dynamiske avtaler med Sveits hvor endringsdirektiver- og forordninger løpende kan innlemmes i avtalene. Det ble sommeren 2010 nedsatt et utvalg mellom Sveits og Kommisjonen for å finne fram til mulige løsninger på disse områdene.
BAKGRUNN (fra rådskonklusjonene, engelsk utgave)
1. The Council has assessed the development of relations between the EU and the four Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) since the adoption of its last conclusions on the subject in December 2008. Generally, EU relations with the EFTA countries, which were already considered to be very good and close in 2008, have further intensified in the past two years (details on developments are set out below in countryspecific paragraphs). The Council is looking forward to continue the positive relationship with the EFTA countries and to deepen it in the future. It will reassess the state of relations between the EU and the EFTA countries in two years.
2. The Council appreciates the financial contributions of the EFTA countries to the economic and social cohesion in the European Economic Area (EEA). Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland (the "EEA EFTA States") recently committed themselves to a substantial increase of their continued contributions. The EU is looking forward to a constructive dialogue with Switzerland on the review of the current mechanism, expiring in June 2012. The Council hopes that a mutually acceptable solution will be found with the aim of reducing economic and social disparities in the EU.
3. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are integrated in the internal market through the EEA Agreement of 1994. This Agreement functions properly so long as all Contracting Parties incorporate the full body of the relevant EU acquis relating to the internal market into their national law. The Council welcomes that the EEA countries have demonstrated an excellent record of proper and regular incorporation of the acquis into their own legislation and encourages them to maintain this good record to ensure the continued homogeneity of the internal market.
4. The Council notes with interest that Norway and Liechtenstein have launched work for a indepth review of their experiences with the EEA Agreement. The Council encourages a parallel exercise on the EU-side and looks forward to exchange on findings with the EEA EFTA countries in due time.
5. The Council welcomes the opening, in July 2010, of accession negotiations with Iceland, which conserves its status as EEA EFTA State while negotiations are ongoing.
6. Since Switzerland is not a member of the European Economic Area, it has chosen to take a sector-based approach to its agreements in view of a possible long-term rapprochement with the EU. In full respect of the Swiss sovereignty and choices, the Council has come to the conclusion that while the present system of bilateral agreements has worked well in the past, the challenge of the coming years will be to go beyond this complex system, which is creating legal uncertainty and has become unwieldy to manage and has clearly reached its limits. In order to create a sound basis for future relations, mutually acceptable solutions to a number of horizontal issues, set out below, will need to be found.
7. Though EU relations with the EFTA countries were extended over the years to many areas not covered by the internal market, these relations are mainly based on the progressive integration of the EFTA countries' economies into the EU internal market. In view of the need for a level playing field for all economic operators of the parties concerned and the continued development of internal market relevant acquis, the EU and the EFTA States should ensure homogeneity in the implementation of the acquis and the good functioning of the institutions.
8. A similar assessment should also be undertaken concerning the relations of the EU with the European countries of small territorial dimension, and more in particular the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco and the Republic of San Marino. Their current relations with the EU are extended but fragmented, with large parts of the acquis related to the internal market not introduced in their legislation and therefore not applicable.
9. An analysis of the possibilities and modalities of their possible progressive integration into the internal market should be undertaken by the EU during the first half of 2011 under the Hungarian Presidency, in accordance with the Declaration on Article 8 of the Treaty on the European Union, taking into account the particularities related to their size.