The European Free Trade Association: Bon voyage!

9 March 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage

© efta.int

© efta.int

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union. EFTA was historically one of the two dominant western European trade blocks, but is now much smaller and closely associated with its historical competitor, the European Union. It was established on 3 May 1960 to serve as an alternative trade bloc for those European states that were unable or unwilling to join the then European Economic Community (EEC), which subsequently became the European Union. The Stockholm Convention, to establish the EFTA, was signed on 4 January 1960 in the Swedish capital by seven countries (known as the “outer seven“). Whilst the EFTA is not a customs union and member states have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements, it does have a coordinated trade policy. As a result, its member states have jointly concluded free trade agreements with the EU and a number of other countries. To participate in the EU’s single market, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are parties to the Agreement on a European Economic Area (EEA), with compliances regulated by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. Switzerland has a set of bilateral agreements with the EU instead.   read more…

The European Free Trade Association: Bon appétit!

4 September 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

© efta.int

© efta.int

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union. EFTA was historically one of the two dominant western European trade blocks, but is now much smaller and closely associated with its historical competitor, the European Union. It was established on 3 May 1960 to serve as an alternative trade bloc for those European states that were unable or unwilling to join the then European Economic Community (EEC), which subsequently became the European Union. The Stockholm Convention, to establish the EFTA, was signed on 4 January 1960 in the Swedish capital by seven countries (known as the “outer seven“). Whilst the EFTA is not a customs union and member states have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements, it does have a coordinated trade policy. As a result, its member states have jointly concluded free trade agreements with the EU and a number of other countries. To participate in the EU’s single market, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are parties to the Agreement on a European Economic Area (EEA), with compliances regulated by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. Switzerland has a set of bilateral agreements with the EU instead.   read more…

Country overview

9 November 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

In addition to the regular search function, a country overview is available here. Click on the country name to see all currently available blog entries.   read more…

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The Rhine

7 October 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Distance marks along the Rhine indicate distances from this bridge in the City of Constance © Achim Lehle

Distance marks along the Rhine indicate distances from this bridge in the City of Constance © Achim Lehle

The Rhine flows from Grisons in the eastern Swiss Alps to the North Sea coast in the Netherlands and is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe, at about 1,233 km (766 mi), with an average discharge of more than 2,000 m3/s (71,000 cu ft/s).   read more…

Vaduz actually derives from “water pipe” and not from “money pipe”

14 December 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

City Hall © Hans G. Oberlack

City Hall © Hans G. Oberlack

Vaduz, with the Princely Residence, the Government and Parliament, is the capital of Liechtenstein. In the town center, known as the “Städtle”, there are museums, street cafés and many attractive shops. Vaduz is particularly well known as an international financial center, especially since CDs are making the round, which are pretty interesting for some finance ministers from other countries. Tourist holds Vaduz and Liechtenstein ready are interesting tourist places, especially for families and so called silent tourism. Vaduz is architecturally interesting, but it offers no great surprises especially because of the size of the town. It’s nevertheless worse a journy or two.   read more…

Sustainable living in the Alps

23 November 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General

© Thomas AMBLARD

© Thomas AMBLARD

The majority of us associate with the Alps romantic mountain cabins, scenic valleys, small villages, which blend into the mountains, of course winter sports, tourism, alpine horns, the Tour de France and wonderful diversity, species richness and originality, peace and serenity. The inevitably association with tourism by people from around the world, however, only contributes 3 – 4% to the over GDP of the Alps regions. Many do not know that the number of the inhabitants of the small towns are dramatically declining, so is the use of agricultural land and the people who live here are facing major challenges. What to do in order to not only use the relevant regions in Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol and Slovenia as transit regions for the north-south traffic, to stop the depopulation and to keep and preserve the originality of the region? According to studies a minimum of 700 inhabitants are necessary for a healthy and sustainable community development. Most communities do not achieve these populations anymore so that there is a clear need for creative plans, based on local-and regional-specific cultural and traditional developments.   read more…

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