The first objective of EFTA was the liberalisation of trade between its Member States. In 1972, each EFTA state concluded bilateral free trade agreements with the EEC. Currently, 29 free trade agreements are in force in EFTA countries or are awaiting ratification for 40 partner countries around the world (outside Europe). The separation agreement is the agreement between Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland following the UK`s withdrawal from the European Union, the EEA Agreement and other applicable agreements between the United Kingdom and the EEA-EFTA states under the United Kingdom`s membership of the European Union. Brexit Minister Steve Barclay signed the agreement on behalf of the UK with representatives from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The United Kingdom (United Kingdom) has been a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1 January 1994, after the 1992 EEA Agreement came into force (in accordance with a 1993 protocol). Membership of the EEA is an obligation for all Member States of the European Union (EU). The UK was no longer a party to the EEA agreement after its withdrawal from the EU (commonly known as Brexit) on 31 January 2020, as it was a member of the EEA because of its MEMBERSHIP of the EU. However, the EEA will continue to apply to the UK during the transitional Brexit period, based on Article 126 of the EU-UK withdrawal agreement.  During the transition period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020, the UK and the EU will negotiate their future relations. But there is an important difference.
This agreement will follow the EEA agreement and not directly EU law. Although there are few differences in practice, only changes to social security rules that have been incorporated into the EEA agreement, after approval by the EEA Joint Committee, have an impact on the EEA-EFTA agreement. Switzerland is currently negotiating with the EU. What is the EU`s policy in this regard? In May 2014, the COUNCIL of the EU decided to instruct the Commission to open negotiations with Switzerland on “an international agreement establishing an institutional framework for bilateral relations with the Swiss Confederation”. Negotiations on the basis of this mandate, which was leaked to the press, took place in September 2017. It stipulates that the agreement should impose much stricter legal obligations on Switzerland than those of EEA-EFTA members. It would apply not only to future EU-Switzerland agreements, but also to all existing agreements, including all “internal market”-related agreements. The mandate proposes that the Commission monitor Switzerland`s implementation of bilateral agreements. Switzerland should be given a maximum deadline for the implementation of new laws.
It also states that the Commission should be given “investigative and decision-making powers” that should “reflect” the Commission`s powers with regard to EU Member States in monitoring the internal market.