What is the 'European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement'

The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement is an agreement made in 1992 that brings together the European Union-member countries and the three EEA/EFTA states – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – into a single market. The purpose of the agreement is to strengthen trade and economic relations between the countries by removing trade barriers and imposing equal conditions of competition and compliance with the same rules.

BREAKING DOWN 'European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement'

The EEA agreement requires inclusion of EU regulations covering the “four freedoms” – free movement of goods, services, persons and capital – throughout the member states. It also covers cooperation in other areas such as research and development, education, social policy, the environment, consumer protection, tourism and culture, collectively known as “flanking and horizontal” policies. 

The agreement does not require inclusion of EU's common agriculture and fisheries policies (although the agreement contains provisions on various aspects of trade in agricultural and fish products), customs union, common trade policy, common foreign and security policy, justice and home affairs, or the monetary union (EMU).

What is the difference between EEA and EU?

Although the two are closely related, the EEA and the EU are not the same. The EEA agreement is related to the single market and the laws relevant to it, while the EU is not just economic, but also political. All regulation that EEA countries have to comply with is formed by the EU, which effectively means that the EEA/EFTA countries do not have a say in forming the laws they are required to implement. The EEA countries also have to make financial contributions to the EU, though smaller than the contributions of an EU member. 

EEA Members

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria 
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark 
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland*
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein*
  • Lithuania
  • Luxemburg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway*
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The United Kingdom**

*Countries only in the EEA, not the EU.

**In 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union and, effectively, the EEA agreement.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Passporting

    Passporting is the exercise of the right for a firm registered ...
  2. Ethereum Enterprise Alliance

    The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance brings together start-ups and ...
  3. Brexit

    Brexit refers to Britain's leaving the European Union, which ...
  4. European Community - EC

    The European Community was one of the three pillars of the European ...
  5. The European Free Trade Association ...

    Learn about the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  6. Article 50

    Article 50 is the clause of the European Union treaty that outlines ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    European Stocks Slump on Britain's "Hard Brexit" (EEA, RODM)

    Rumors that the U.K. will seek a swift and total exit from the European Union has caused the British pound and stock markets across the continent to fall.
  2. Financial Advisor

    Brexit Would Make UK "Permanently Poorer"

    In a report released Monday, the Treasury reckoned "the UK would be permanently poorer if it left the EU" in favor of any of the alternatives the report considered.
  3. Insurance

    Iceland's Near Collapse: What Can We Learn?

    This thriving country was brought to its knees by the rapid growth - and subsequent decline - of its banking industry.
  4. Retirement

    Retire In Iceland With $200,000 of Savings?

    Iceland isn't cheap. Yet, by eating and drinking local products, ditching the car and flying budget airlines, affordable retirement may just be feasible.
  5. Investing

    Budget Travel: Europe's Cheapest Countries

    Even with a strong dollar, Europe is pricey. Head east and you'll find four EU countries that deliver scenery, adventures and culture at bargain rates.
  6. Retirement

    Iceland's Top Retirement Destinations

    Remote landscapes and rugged beauty are a given. But the country also offers lively metropolises, brimming with cultural activities and key amenities.
  7. Trading

    Behind The Euro: History And Future

    The euro was designed to create economic parity among eurozone nations. Discover where it's going and where it's been.
  8. Investing

    Here's What Will Happen if the Euro Fails

    What might happen if the European Union stopped using the euro or if the entire eurozone dissolved back into pre-EU nationalism?
  9. Tech

    What Is The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance?

    The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance works to customize ethereum's blockchain technology for industry use.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Which terms should be included in a partnership agreement?

    Understand what specific terms should be included in a business partnership agreement and how each affects the partners in ... Read Answer >>
  2. Is Cyprus considered a tax haven?

    Explore the factors that resulted in Cyprus abandoning its status as a tax haven, including the terms for the bailout of ... Read Answer >>
  3. Receiving Social Security benefits abroad

    Understand the requirements for receiving Social Security benefits while living outside the U.S. – and how citizenship and ... Read Answer >>
  4. Which countries have the highest tariffs?

    Find out which countries have the most restrictive import tariffs on international products, based on data collected by the ... Read Answer >>
  5. What are the nations with the lowest PPP (purchasing power parity) with respect to ...

    Learn how purchasing power parity (PPP) is used to compare the price of goods between countries, and which countries have ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center