Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations
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Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations

Edited by Ramses A. Wessel and Jed Odermatt

Over the years, the European Union has developed relationships with other international institutions, mainly as a result of its increasingly active role as a global actor and the transfer of competences from the Member States to the EU. This book presents a comprehensive and critical assessment of the EU’s engagement with other international institutions, examining both the EU’s representation and cooperation as well as the influence of these bodies on the development of EU law and policy.
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Chapter 27: European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

Luísa Lourenço


The European Economic Area is a regional cooperation scheme which connects the EU and the European Free Trade Association States parties to the EEA Agreement, extending the EU’s internal market to the latter. The relationship between EU Member States and EEA/EFTA States is characterised by legislative and judicial dialogue through supranational institutions. This special relationship is marked by the creation of a large economic block, with mirroring institutional and political counterparts. Arguably, there is no other regional arrangement in the world which is equally entwined with the EU. This chapter focuses on the participation of both the EU and the EEA/EFTA States in joint legal and political decisionmaking, while analysing the dynamic elements of the EEA, such as the guarantee of homogeneity between legal orders. Particular emphasis will be given to the interplay between the EU Courts and the Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association.

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