Business Law in the European Economic Area

Business Law in the European Economic Area

Business Law in the European Economic Area

Business Law in the European Economic Area

Synopsis

The European Economic Area (EEA) is a new trade area created by the EEA treaty, which came into effect in January 1994. Its members include some of Europe's smaller but most economically secure nations, such as Austria, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The EEA effectively extends the EC by adopting many of its rules without requiring these nations to become full members of the Community. Important both as a legal system and as a new experiment in international economic relations, the EEA provides new challenges and opportunities for business, legal practitioners, and those interested in the development of trading blocks. This book examines the main features of the EEA Agreement, in particular the aspects of the Agreement which will most affect business people and lawyers--competition law, environmental law, and intellectual property. This book provides a timely guide, for legal practitioners, business people, and scholars, through the maze of rules and regulations embodied in the EEA Agreement.

Excerpt

Recent years have seen some immense and profound changes to the nature and structure of Europe. the break-up of the communist block in Central and Eastern Europe has taken place at the same time as the European Community considers its own role and direction. For much of the time the debate has been cast as one of 'deepening versus widening' and the progress of the Treaty on European Union was testimony to this unease. While further integration has been considered by many as an integral impediment to the enlargement of the Community, the need to embrace new emerging democracies within a single cohesive Europe has been regarded as one of the imperatives of recent European foreign policy. At the same time, the member countries of the European Free Trade Association had already reserved tickets in the theatre of Europe. Accommodating them was a natural precursor to embracing the greater challenge of central and Eastern Europe. While initial negotiations on the form that this wider Europe might take may have first envisaged the new European Economic Area as a plausible end in itself, it soon became apparent that it would, at least for some, become no more than a waitingpost before full membership. It now seems that at least four of the participating efta members of the European Economic Area will become members of the European Community on 1 January 1995 (or, if that proves too optimistic, soon thereafter).

While the European Economic Area, at least with its present membership, may prove short-lived, the constitutional structures and techniques that it adopts may prove to be longer lasting. Other applicants for ec membership are likely to come forward -- not least Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. These want to upgrade their 'associate' status and it may well be that they, or other potential Central or Eastern European applicants whose economies are less developed, may be guided into the eea as a waiting-room pending admission to full membership. the European Economic Area throws up some of the most difficult and, in many instances, unique problems that both lawyers and politicians are likely ever to encounter. There is no doubt that understanding how these arrangements work is far from an easy task. the purpose of this book is therefore two-fold: first, to assist lawyers and government officials in their efforts to follow the frustrating maze of rules and regulations inevitably found in such a heavily negotiated agreement; and secondly, as a more general guide to the nature of the unique institutional arrangements and the way in which they work.

Rather than simply give an outline of all aspects of the European Economic Area, this book attempts to allow the reader a more detailed insight into specific sectors which have been selected for their particular relevance to doing business in the wider Europe. No apology is made for going over much ground, in the . . .

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