EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

European Economic Area (EEA)

The European Economic Area (EEA) groups together the 27 EU Member States and 3 European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) in a single market subject to the same rules.

These rules cover the 4 freedoms (the free movement of goods, capital, services and persons), competition and State aid, and other areas related to the 4 freedoms. The rules also guarantee equal rights and obligations within the single market for citizens and businesses throughout the EEA.

The EEA was set up by the EEA Agreement which entered into force on 1 January 1994.

The EEA Agreement does not cover:

  • common agricultural and fisheries policies;
  • customs union;
  • common trade policy;
  • common foreign and security policy;
  • justice and home affairs, although the EFTA countries are members of the Schengen area;
  • direct and indirect taxation;
  • economic and monetary union.

The EU and the 3 EFTA countries share the management of the EEA.