The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement is an agreement made in 1992 that brings together the European Union (EU). Nothing in the Agreement expressly deals with the consequences of an individual state withdrawing from the EU (or, indeed, from EFTA). General Explanation UK intermediaries It would be prudent for intermediaries to check whether their regulatory permissions allow them to place any given risk. Norway has more clout than you know", "The Basic Features of the EEA Agreement", "Why a British referendum on EU membership will not solve the Europe question", "The Latest: Lithuania says UK must say if decision is final", "Norway may block UK return to European Free Trade Association | World news", "Sturgeon hints the Scottish Government could seek Norway-style EU relationship", "Iceland: Scotland could not start applying for EFTA until after independence", https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/844413/2019-11-04_Updated_UK-EEA_EFTA_Separation_Agreement_.docx, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Membership_of_the_United_Kingdom_in_the_European_Economic_Area&oldid=1001215801, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 18 January 2021, at 19:12. Prima facie, the UK's departure from the EU will not undo that. The European Free Trade Association FAQs on Brexit make a number of statements clarifying the UK’s position as regards EEA membership. After Brexit, the UK, not being a member of EFTA, and not anymore an EU member, could not be an EEA member and could not be a candidate to become one. [3], Following the completion of its withdrawal from the EU, the UK could have sought to continue to be a member of the EEA through mechanisms available to members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). In light of the UK leaving the EU at the end of 2020, we continue to review the services we offer to customers within the European Economic Area (EEA). However, from 31 December 2020, the UK will become a “third country” and two sets of rules will begin to apply; the UK transfer rules and the EU transfer rules (applicable to data from the EU and EEA). As the EEA Agreement does not establish a common commercial or a trade policy, this means that the trade relationship between the EEA EFTA States and the UK after the transition period will have to be agreed in negotiations between the EEA EFTA States and the UK. In addition to provisions on citizen rights, the Separation Agreement covers other separation issues – such as goods placed on the market before the end of the transition period, intellectual property rights, ongoing police and judicial cooperation, judicial procedures, data protection, and public procurement – and institutional provisions. The EEA Agreement only applies to EU Member States, in addition to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The UK quit EFTA in 1972 but has the option of rejoining the group and then becoming part of the EEA as an EFTA member. After the transition period has ended, the UK will be a third country in terms of the EEA Agreement. The president of Switzerland Johann Schneider-Ammann stated that the UK's return would strengthen the association. The separation agreement is the Agreement on arrangements between Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the EEA Agreement and other agreements applicable between the United Kingdom and the EEA EFTA States by virtue of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union.[18]. Norton Rose Fulbright’s Financial services: Norton Rose Fulbright, LLP © 2021. This follows from the two-pillar structure and Article 126 of the EEA Agreement, which states that the EEA Agreement applies to the territory of … All Rights Reserved. The EEA EFTA States have agreed to treat the UK as an EU Member State during this period. Accordingly, the rights and obligations contained in the EEA Agreement continue to apply between the UK and the EEA EFTA States until 31 December 2020. Although the UK has not been a party to the European Economic Area (EEA… Article 126 of the EEA Agreement provides that the EEA Agreement shall apply to the territories establishing the European Economic Community (now the EU) and to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. [14], Given Scotland's vote in the 2016 referendum to remain in the EU, contrasted with that of the UK as a whole, For the EEA: Article 217 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Association Agreements). Membership of the EEA is a consequence of membership of the European Union (EU). It follows from Article 129 of the Withdrawal Agreement that, during the transition period, the UK shall be bound by the obligations stemming from the international agreements concluded by the EU, including the EEA Agreement. Those relying on such transfers will need to enter into one of the approved data transfer mechanisms in the absence of an adequacy decision. ", "Frequently asked questions on EFTA, the EEA, EFTA membership and Brexit | European Free Trade Association", "Theresa May confirms Britain will leave Single Market as she sets out 12-point Brexit plan", "EFTA Bulletin Decision Shaping in the European Economic Area", "Fax democracy? For Switzerland: Insurance Agreement of 1989, Bilateral Agreements I of 1999, Bilateral Agreements II of 2004. Norway's Centre Party has called the UK's trade deal with the European Union "a better agreement" than the one Norway has as a member of the European Economic Area. Nevertheless, during the transition period the UK will continue to be treated as an EEA State (see below). This rule has changed as they have since become full members of the EEA. UK organisations can currently transfer personal data freely between the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA) under the provisions of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. The UK was a co-founder of EFTA in 1960, but ceased to be a member in 1973 upon joining the EC, which became the EU. [1] During the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020,[2] the UK and EU negotiated their future relationship. UK Politics. According to recent analysis, … The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. This was following a case heard at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which stated that in order for an EU national to benefit from EU law, they had to exercise their right to reside in another EEA state of which they are not a citizen. Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. [15] However, other EFTA states have stated that only sovereign states are eligible for membership, so Scotland could only join if it became independent from the UK.[16]. However, a Swiss national has the same rights of residence as an EU/EEA citizen. The UK would withdraw from the EU and join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Were the UK to join the EEA as an EFTA member, it would sign up to existing EU internal market legislation that is part of the EEA Agreement. [17] The Court also resolves disputes between EEA persons and the EFTA Surveillance Authority. Home > United Kingdom > Is the UK still a member of the EEA? [6], The EEA still applied to the UK during the Brexit transition period, based on Article 126 of the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK.[1]. During this period the UK is 'in' the EU single market and customs union. But there is a 'transition period' or 'implementation period' until 31 December 2020. In the first meeting since the Brexit vote, EFTA reacted by stating that it was open to the prospect of the UK rejoining the association, but that the UK has many issues to work through. The BGA was formed in 2007 by a group of ex grooms who recognised the need for a professional association to offer support, advice and education to all of those that work in our industry. All EEA and Swiss nationals can enter and live in the UK without needing to apply for permission. The Separation Agreement mirrors the relevant parts of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and secures the rights of EEA EFTA and UK citizens that are already residing or working in the EEA EFTA States or the UK, respectively. The EEA Agreement (EU and EFTA members except Switzerland) does not cover Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies, the EU Customs Union, the Common Trade Policy, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, direct and indirect taxation, and Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters, leaving EFTA members free to set their own policies in these areas;[9] however, EEA countries are required to contribute to the EU Budget in exchange for access to the internal market. The UK cannot unilaterally provide for free flow of personal data from the EEA into the UK so these are the data flows most at risk. The EEA extends the single market to all 31 member states and allows nationals of participating countries to travel freely between them. Liechtenstein. In January 2017, Theresa May announced a 12-point plan of negotiating objectives and confirmed that the British government would not seek continued permanent membership in the European Single Market,[4] leaving open an option of retaining EEA membership for a-one year transition period after EU exit day (originally 29 March 2019, postponed to 12 April and then to 31 October, before finally occurring on 31 January 2020). The EFTA members of the EEA and the UK signed a Separation Agreement on 28 January 2020. It allows them to be part of the EU ’s single market. Will the UK leave the EEA after Brexit? Norway's European affairs minister, Elisabeth Vik Aspaker, told the Aftenposten newspaper: "It's not certain that it would be a good idea to let a big country into this organisation. This is not, however, explicitly stated in the EEA Agreement and will be a matter that will need to be decided through the legal process. Under the present wording of the EEA Agreement, many have interpreted that it is impossible to be a party to the EEA Agreement without being a member of the EU or EFTA. Questions have been raised as to whether a state that withdraws from the EU automatically withdraws from the EEA, or whether such a withdrawal requires notice under Article 127 of the EEA Agreement[5] – and, if the courts so decide, whether such notice given by the UK would require an Act of Parliament. The UK is nearing the end of its Brexit transition period (the Transition Period), which expires Dec. 31, 2020. You will also find other legal documents, such as all adopted Joint Committee Decisions and the EEA status of EU legal acts. It has already reached a continuity trade agreement with Liechtenstein, via its agreement with Switzerland (part of EFTA but not the EEA). Previously nationals from of Bulgaria or Romania needed to apply for permission to start work in the UK. PENSION assets held by UK expats may continue to be impacted by Brexit in the coming months, even with a deal agreed. the Scottish Government has looked into methods of retaining access to or membership of the EEA. It defines the relationship between the United Kingdom and the EFTA during the transition period. European Economic Area EEA - Information about EEA Countries [13] However, in August 2016 the Norwegian Government expressed reservations. Under the EEA Agreement, the UK would not necessarily be subject to European Court of Justice rulings but possibly also the EFTA Court, which resolves disputes under the EEA Agreement regarding EFTA Member States. Karen Hennessy and Richard Smith from our Employments & Benefits team, with Vincent Chung from Dixcart Legal talk about some of the changes to the immigration systems in the UK and Ireland after the transition period, post- 31 December 2020, when the UK will no longer be subject to EU law, particularly for European Economic Area citizens and people from countries outside the EEA. As of 23:00 GMT on 31 January 2020, the UK is no longer a member of the European Union. Switzerland is not part of the EEA, but has an agreement that extends the single market to include it. The EEA links the EU member states and three EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) into an internal market governed by the same basic rules. Membership of United Kingdom in the European Economic Area, Proposed European Constitution referendum, Department for Exiting the European Union, United Kingdom opt-outs from EU legislation, Opinion polling on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Continuing United Kingdom relationship with the European Union, European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, Effect on Scotland's constitutional position, Trade deal negotiation between the UK and EU, EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), Proposed second Scottish independence referendum, Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies, Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters, "Frequently asked questions on EFTA, the EEA, EFTA membership and Brexit", "How will the Brexit transition period work? These rules aim to enable free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital within the European Si… [7][8] Some EU law originates from various international bodies on which non-EU EEA countries have a seat. The EEA is composed of all EU members states as well as the following: Iceland. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including Gibraltar, excluding the Channel Islands, BNO passport holders and Isle of Man) From 31 January 2020 the UK is no longer an EU/EEA member state. Home News. The United Kingdom (UK) was a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) from 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2020, following the coming into force of the 1992 EEA Agreement (as adjusted by a 1993 protocol). The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the Agreement on the European Economic Area, an international agreement which enables the extension of the European Union's single market to member states of the European Free Trade Association. Changes to the internal market would be incorporated into the EEA Agreement subject to the consent of the UK at the EEA Joint Committee; once in the EEA Agreement, the UK would have to incorporate these into UK law. Only EU or EFTA members can currently become members of the EEA, meaning if Britain wants to secure full access to the single … The United Kingdom has also confirmed that it has, on a transitional basis, deemed EEA Member States and those other countries which, as at 31 December 2020, were covered by a European Commission 'adequacy decision', to be adequate to allow for data flows from the UK without any additional safeguards being required. The UK is a party to the EEA Agreement in its own right. At 11 pm on 31 January 2020, the UK is expected to cease to be part of the EU (or the EEA) – although the transition period means that, for most purposes, the UK will continue to be subject to EU law until 31 December 2020. EEA to UK data transfers. 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