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European Economic Area Council to meet

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European Economic Area Council to meet

European area council
Photo: Christos Dogas

The European Economic Area (EEA) Council is set to meet today in Brussels to evaluate the overall performance of the EEA Agreement and discuss its New Industrial Policy.

The EEA Council, which convenes bi-annually, prioritized the COVID-19 crisis in a joint statement at its latest meeting in May. While the EU/EEA countries are planning a vaccine distribution of over 70 million doses to low-income nations, expect today’s joint statement to address the COVID-19 challenges within Europe.

Despite initial optimism surrounding the vaccine roll-out earlier this year, Austria recently announced a full lockdown, and other nations are likely to follow. Vaccine hesitancy remains high in many EU countries, including Germany, Europe’s largest economy. Germany’s top health official hinted at a potential lockdown, which would damage the EEA’s chances for a full recovery in the months ahead. 20-day lockdowns in Austria and Germany alone could cut Quarter 4 EU GDP growth to 0.9% from 1.1%.

Vaccine mandates remain a divisive issue for many nations, and protests against restrictions have intensified throughout Europe, leaving policymakers in difficult positions. As vaccination rates slow, waning vaccination immunity and a potential new variant will likely prolong the EEA Council’s fight against COVID-19.

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Magistrates at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, on May 24, 2024. Photo: Nick Gammon/AFP

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