On 17 March 2017, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) announced that The Standing Committee of the EFTA States and the EEA Joint Committee met in Brussels on 16 and 17 March 2017 respectively. In the Joint Committee meeting, 22 decisions were adopted incorporating 69 legal acts into the EEA Agreement. The announcement said:
Among these acts were several regulations on organic production, which had been under discussion over the past years. The main legal act implemented was the Council framework legislation on organic production (Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007), which sets out the principles, aims and overarching rules for all levels of organic production, as well as distribution, control and labelling of organic products that may be offered and traded in the Internal Market. It applies to the organic production of living or unprocessed products, processed foods, animal feed and seeds and propagating material. The collection of wild plants and seaweed is also included in the scope of the Regulation.
In the meeting, the Norwegian Chair, Ambassador Oda Helen Sletnes, stated “this [organic production] package is a good example that shows that only incorporation into the EEA Agreement gives the necessary legal certainty for our economic operators. We are pleased to note that all 41 legal acts in this package will enter into force tomorrow thereby again enabling the free flow of organic fish and agriculture products within the whole Internal Market”.
The EU Chair, Mr Claude Maerten of the European External Action Service also underlined the importance of ensuring legal certainty for export of organic products in the entire European Economic Area and said that the EU was “pleased to find the organic package on today’s list [of legal acts being incorporated into the EEA Agreement]”.
Prior to the meeting, the Joint Committee had received notice from Iceland regarding the process of lifting capital controls which had been put in place as a protective measure to prevent the worsening of the financial crisis that hit Iceland hard in 2008. The Icelandic Ambassador to the EU, Ms Bergdís Ellertsdóttir, briefed the Committee on this process, which came into effect on Tuesday 14 March 2017.
The EEA Joint Committee provides a forum for the EEA EFTA States and the EU to exchange views and take decisions by consensus to incorporate EU legislation into the EEA Agreement. Both meetings were chaired by Ms Oda Helen Sletnes, Norway’s Ambassador to the EU.
Pictures from both meetings can be found here