Posted by: APO | 20 November 2007

Conclusions de la 28ème réunion du Conseil de l’Espace économique européen

Conclusions de la 28ème réunion du Conseil de l’Espace économique européen

1. The twenty-eighth meeting of the EEA Council took place in Brussels on 20 November 2007 under the Presidency of Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. The meeting was attended by Ms. Rita Kieber-Beck, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein and by Ms. Elisabeth Walaas, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway from the EEA – EFTA side, as well as by Mr. Manuel Lobo Antunes, State Secretary for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, representing the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, by Members of the Council of the European Union and by the Representative of the European Commission responsible for EEA Council matters, from the EU side.

 

2. The EEA Council noted that within the framework of the Political Dialogue, the Ministers discussed the situation in Kosovo, in the Middle East and in Sudan/Darfur (Chad and the Central African Republic).

 

3. The EEA Council welcomed the signing of the EEA Enlargement Agreement in July and its provisional application, thus including Bulgaria and Romania as Contracting Parties to the EEA Agreement. The EEA Council urged Member States to conclude the ratification procedures as soon as possible.

 

4. The EEA Council welcomed the Interim Report on the second cycle of the Lisbon Strategy and the participation of the EEA – EFTA States in the subsequent consultations. It looked forward to the final Strategic Report in December, setting out the next cycle of the Strategy starting in 2008.

 

5. The Ministers welcomed the major orientations, adopted by the European Council in March 2007. They agreed that well functioning electricity and gas markets are essential for producers and consumers in the European Energy Market and underlined the importance of continuous close co-operation between the EU and the EEA – EFTA States in the further development of legislation to this effect.

 

6. The Ministers expressed their appreciation regarding the progress made in the implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism and of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, which are now firmly in the stage of project implementation. The importance of openness, transparency, broad participation and efficiency was underlined. The Ministers noted that a total of 22 calls for proposals in 12 out of the 13 beneficiary States had made more than 700 million euros available to applicants across Central and Southern Europe. The EEA – EFTA States had approved applications for about 400 million euros. The EEA Council welcomed the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding with Bulgaria and Romania for the implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism and of the Memoranda of Understanding for the implementation of the Norwegian co-operation Programmes with Bulgaria and Romania.

 

7. The EEA Council noted the Progress Report of the EEA Joint Committee.

The EEA Council in particular:

– Welcomed the successful inclusion of the EEA – EFTA States in EEArelevant EU Programmes for the period 2007 – 2013. This participation is co-financed by the EEA – EFTA States. It also looked forward to EEA – EFTA States’ active participation in the new generation of Programmes, thus promoting common interests, towards a more competitive and innovative Europe;

– Welcomed the adoption of a Decision by the EEA Joint Committee on the Food Law Package, thus formalising EEA – EFTA participation in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA);

– Welcomed expanding the scope of the EEA veterinary legislation to Iceland;

– The Ministers welcomed the entry into force of new trade concessions in agricultural products on the basis of Article 19 of the EEA Agreement between the European Community and Iceland and the resumption of trade negotiations between the European Community and Iceland in processed agricultural products within the framework of Protocol 3 to the Agreement.

They noted the on-going negotiations between the European Community and Norway on further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products on the basis of Article 19 of the EEA Agreement and the review process between the European Community and Norway within the framework of Protocol 3 to the Agreement. The EEA Council looked forward to being kept informed of progress in these fields;

– Welcomed the foreseen integration of the Directive on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, according to the provisions of the EEA Agreement;

– Welcomed the progress made on incorporating the EU Directive on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme into the EEA Agreement in order to enable participation of EEA – EFTA States’ installations in the scheme for the period 2008 – 2012;

– Welcomed the ongoing consultations on the incorporation of the new EU Chemicals legislation – REACH, and agreed that every effort should be made to ensure EEA – EFTA participation in the new system as from 1 June 2008;

– Welcomed the implementation of the new EU Innovation Strategy, in particular the priority to establish a European Institute of Technology;

– Welcomed the publication of the Communication from the European Commission on an Integrated Maritime Policy and the close involvement of the EEA – EFTA States in its preparation;

– Welcomed the newly adopted Single Market Review;

– Acknowledged the EEA – EFTA stake in the efforts to establish an improved general framework for services in the Internal Market;

– Welcomed the EEA – EFTA contributions to the decision-shaping process of EEA-relevant EC legislation and programmes through i.a. participation in relevant Committees and Working Groups, and by submitting EEA – EFTA Comments.

 

8. The EEA Council held an orientation debate on Energy and climate change.

 

9. The EEA Council underlined the need for a long term goal of limiting the average global temperature increase to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial level. Negotiations under the UN Climate Convention should be guided by this or similar goals. The EEA Council recognised the need for a more ambitious and global climate regime post-2012. The EEA Council further recognised the importance of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change agreeing on a comprehensive negotiating process at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December, a process which should result in a global and comprehensive agreement by 2009. The EU and the EEA – EFTA States will work together to achieve these goals.

The EEA Council agreed that increased energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy resources and carbon capture and storage (CCS) alongside other technologies, have the potential to provide substantial contributions to emission reductions. The world will be dependent on fossil fuels also in the future. It is therefore important to focus on the development and implementation of CCS technologies in relation to power production from fossil fuels. These technologies are currently at a stage of research and demonstration, and these activities need to have priority in order to make the technology commercially available and to prove to be a feasible means to achieve a more environmentally friendly fossil fuels future.

 

10. The Ministers underlined the increased importance for all Contracting Parties to ascertain that public authorities and other relevant actors throughout the European Economic Area remain well informed about the EEA Agreement.

 

11. The EEA Council recognised the importance of inviting EEA – EFTA Ministers to attend relevant informal EU Ministerial Meetings and Ministerial Conferences on the basis of the EEA – EFTA participation in the Internal Market. The EEA Council also recalled the practice of inviting the EEA – EFTA States – at the level of officials – to political dialogue meetings with relevant Council Working Parties in troika format and expressed its appreciation to the incoming Slovenian Presidency for the continuation of this practice.

 

12. The EEA Council noted the Resolutions of the EEA Joint Parliamentary Committee adopted at its 28th meeting in Vaduz, Liechtenstein on 27 June 2007 on The Annual Report on the Functioning of the EEA Agreement in 2006 and on The EU Future Maritime Policy: Implications for the EEA, as well as the Resolutions adopted at its 29th meeting in Strasbourg, France on 15 November 2007 on Energy and Climate Change: Implications for the EEA and on The Open Method of Coordination and the EEA.

The EEA Council also noted the Resolutions of the EEA Consultative Committee adopted at its 15th meeting in Gdansk, Poland on 16 May 2007 on An Energy Policy for Europe and on The EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms.


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