Competition law and the EEA
Produced in partnership with Thommessen

The following Competition practice note produced in partnership with Thommessen provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Competition law and the EEA
  • The EFTA/EEA institutions
  • The EFTA Surveillance Authority
  • The EFTA Court
  • The EEA Joint Committee
  • The operation of the EEA Agreement in relation to competition law
  • To what extent is EU competition law binding on EFTA Member States—the principle of homogeneity
  • EEA antitrust provisions and the interaction with EU competition rules
  • EEA State aid rules and the interaction with EU State aid
  • The EU and EFTA merger control regime
  • More...

Competition law and the EEA

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a trade organisation established in 1960 by Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, UK and Austria. The EFTA was created to function as an intergovernmental organisation for the promotion of free trade and economic integration between its Convention States, as an alternative to the newly established European Economic Community (EEC), which subsequently developed into the European Community (EC) and then the European Union (EU).

Finland joined in 1961, Iceland in 1970 and Liechtenstein in 1991. By that time Denmark, Portugal and the UK had left the EFTA to join the EEC.

In 1989, the Member States of the EC and EFTA agreed to negotiate a free trade agreement establishing 'a single market' encompassing the EC (now EU) and EFTA States. The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement entered into force on 1 January 1994. At that time, the EFTA consisted of Austria, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Switzerland did not sign the EEA Agreement, and Austria, Finland and Sweden later left EFTA to join the EU. Today the 31 contracting parties to the EEA Agreement comprise all 27 EU Member States, the EU itself and the three EFTA Countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. When referring to the 'EFTA Member States' below, this includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, but not Switzerland.

The EEA Agreement extends the EU

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