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 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).
The tax constitutes a charge having equivalent effect to a customs duty, the imposition of which is prohibited by that agreement.
The draft minutes have been revised. The agenda includes items in climate & energy, environment and digital policy.
Commissioner Moscovici represented the European Commission at today’s meeting of the Eurogroup. Both Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici attend the informal ECOFIN Council meetings today and tomorrow in Tallinn, Estonia. At today’s Eurogroup, Ministers held a thematic discussion on ways to increase the economic resilience of Member States in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in order to better withstand internal and external shocks. Ministers were also informed about the state of play of the stability support programme for Greece. Commissioner Moscovici participated in the press conference following the Eurogroup meeting. EU Ministers will exchange views during a working lunch on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union and maximising effectiveness of EU finances. This discussion will be followed by a working session on the same topic based on the Commission’s Reflection Paper on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union published in May 2017. Ministers will further debate the implications of technological innovation in the area of financial regulation as part of the Capital Markets Union. On Saturday, Ministers will hold a working session on digital economy and taxation, given the importance of adapting European tax systems to the challenges of a modern economy. The discussion comes just days after President Juncker confirmed in his State of the Union letter of intent that the Commission would come forward in 2018 with a proposal for the taxation of the digital economy. In the final working session on Saturday, the ECOFIN will look at ways to increase cost efficiency and sustainability of EU customs IT systems. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the two press conferences following the ECOFIN sessions on 15 and 16 September. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 460 764687; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)
Source: European Commission
Economic and financial affairs ministers of the EU member states will hold their informal meeting in Tallinn today and tomorrow, 15-16 September. The first gathering will be of ministers from the euro area for a Eurogroup meeting, which will be followed by a meeting for ministers and central bank governors from all EU member states to discuss strengthening the euro area and improving the use of the EU’s financial resources as well as the use of new technological solutions in the financial sector. Tomorrow, September 16, the ministers will focus on the need to modernise the EU tax system arising from developments in the digital economy. Additionally, the sustainable and cost-effective development of IT systems for the EU-wide customs union will be on the agenda as well.