A summary of the committee’s debate is now available.
Update: An addendum to the draft agenda concerning transport policy is now available.
Agenda items concern energy & environment, digital, transport and trade policy.
The European Economic Area (EEA) was set up in 1994 to extend the EU’s provisions on its internal market to the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are parties to the EEA. Switzerland is a member of EFTA but does not take part in the EEA. The EU and EEA partners (Norway and Iceland) are also linked by various ‘northern policies’ and forums which focus on the rapidly evolving northern reaches of Europe and the Arctic region as a whole.
The EU’s trade and development policy is outlined in the January 2012 Communication on ‘Trade, growth and development’. It focuses on countries most in need. The Generalised Scheme of Preferences has been maintained for LDCs, as has the Everything But Arms regime, while preferential treatment for non-LDC ACP countries has been replaced by Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) including a development component. A new EU Aid for Trade strategy, which aims to help developing countries build trade capacities, is being prepared and will be based on a new communication from the Commission. The EU supports the WTO Development Round and ratified the trade facilitation agreement in October 2015.
The EU neighbourhood is undergoing deep transformations and this raises debate on how best to establish trade relations with neighbouring partners, like Turkey and the Eastern Partnership countries (such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia). Moreover, Brexit will entail the reorganisation of EU-UK relations, which will shake up cross-border trade flows. The EU can negotiate two basic types of trade agreement granting preferential market access to partners’ goods: free trade agreements (FTAs) and customs unions (CUs).
On 13 October, the Estonian presidency organised an informal lunch event for ministers responsible for trade to discuss the Commission’s recent 2017 trade package and the trade-related elements of President Juncker’s State of the Union speech.