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13 Mar 2013

The EEA Review and Liechtenstein’s Integration Strategy

Jacques Pelkmans / Philipp Böhler

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This study focuses on the European Economic Area (EEA), which is a very ‘deep’ instance of market integration between the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.  The EEA in fact is just the ‘internal-market-minus’, i.e. minus agriculture and fisheries, for its three non-EU members. As an extension to the single market of a mere 1% in GDP, the EEA has attracted little attention, not least because it functions quite well. Even less known, however, is the role of Liechtenstein within the EEA, which this book also attempts to clarify.

After 18 years of existence, a review of the EEA is now taking place. This unique and in-depth study looks at how the EEA works and what the current review of this economic area might imply. No fewer than nine scenarios of European integration are explored, with an analysis of their respective advantages, shortcomings and costs. In a summary fashion, it incorporates the changing relationship with Switzerland, which is also critical for Liechtenstein; new options for Turkey; ‘more’, or indeed, ‘less EU’ and an EEA-type option for the United Kingdom that would not entail amending the EEA Treaty.

Jacques Pelkmans is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Visiting Professor, College of Europe Bruges. Philipp Böhler is a PhD candidate, Law Department, University of Gent and former researcher at CEPS.

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