The Council examines factual issues, in particular as regards the development of EFTA relations with third countries and the management of free trade agreements, and reviews relations with the policy and management of EU third countries in general. It has a broad mandate to study possible policies to promote the general objectives of the association and facilitate the development of links with other States, federations of States or international organizations. The Council also manages relations between the EFTA States under the EFTA Agreement. EEA issues are dealt with by the Standing Committee in Brussels. « This scenario is probably less likely, but if Norway were to leave the EEA agreement, we would have to reach some sort of new agreement with the EEA. » In 1992, EFTA and the EU signed the Agreement on the European Economic Area in Porto, Portugal. However, the request for Switzerland to ratify its participation was rejected in a referendum. (Nevertheless, Switzerland has several bilateral agreements with the EU that allow it to participate in the European single market, the Schengen agreements and other programmes). Thus, EFTA members, with the exception of Switzerland, are also members of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA comprises three Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and 28 Member States of the European Union (EU), including Croatia, which applies the Agreement provisionally until it is ratified by all EEA countries. [36] [37] It was created on 1 January 1994 following an agreement with the European Community (which became the EU two months earlier). [38] It allows EFTA-EEA states to participate in the EU internal market without being eu members. They adopt almost all Community legislation on the internal market, with the exception of legislation on agriculture and fisheries. They also contribute to this and influence the development of new policies and legislation in the EEA at an early stage in a formal decision-making process.

One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA, but has concluded a number of bilateral agreements, including a free trade agreement, with the EU. This agreement is an interim agreement, while the United Kingdom and the EEA-EFTA countries conclude negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement that is expected to enter into force in 2021. Norway is not a member of the European Union and Britain left the bloc on January 31, but the two countries still act under the same market rules of the European Economic Area (EEA), made up of EU and EFTA (European Free Trade Association) member states. Norway`s economic and trade relations with the EU are mainly governed by the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). .