European Free Trade Agreement Countries
8 décembre 2020
In November 2012, after the Council of the European Union requested an assessment of the EU`s relations with Monaco, Andorra and San Marino, which they described as « fragmented », the European Commission published a report setting out options for further integration into the EU.  Unlike Liechtenstein, which is a member of the EEA through EFTA and the Schengen agreements, relations with these three states are based on a set of agreements covering specific issues. The report examined four alternatives to the current situation: in addition to trade in goods, other aspects are often addressed in the new agreements, including the protection of intellectual property rights, trade in services, investment, public procurement and technical regulations. These are so-called « second generation agreements. » Many of the EU`s trade agreements are still being ratified and are only being implemented temporarily. CETA is a mixed agreement. Chapters under the exclusive competence of the Union are currently being applied on an interim basis, with ratification not yet completed in the Member States. On the other hand, the chapter on investment protection is not yet implemented until ratification by members. The EU and Singapore have negotiated a free trade agreement and an investment protection agreement, two separate treaties. The trade agreement came into force at the end of 2019, after the approval of the European Parliament and the Council. The investment protection agreement still needs to be ratified by all Member States according to their own national procedures. In mid-2019, the EU signed a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement with Vietnam. The free trade agreement with Vietnam was approved by the European Parliament in February 2020; Vietnam has already complied with EU requirements for compliance with international labour standards. The free trade agreement is expected to enter into force in the summer of 2020.
The following table summarizes the various components of EU legislation that are applied in EFTA countries and their sovereign territories. Some regions of the EU Member States also have a specific status with regard to EU legislation, as is the case for some European micro-states. Even if a trade agreement is reached, all new controls will not be removed, as the EU requires that certain products (such as food) from third countries be checked. Businesses need to be prepared. Since membership of the EEA is currently only open to EFTA or EU member states, the agreement of existing EFTA Member States is necessary to allow micro-states to join the EEA without becoming EU members. In 2011, the then Norwegian Foreign Minister, who is an EFTA member state, stated that the accession of micro-states to EFTA-EEA was not the appropriate mechanism for their integration into the internal market because of their different requirements than in large countries such as Norway, and suggested that a simplified association was better suited to them.  Espen Barth Eide, the successor to St. Barth Eide, responded to the Commission`s report at the end of 2012 on the administrative capacity of micro-states to fulfil the obligations arising from EEA membership.