European Union External Action

Western Europe

As members of the European Economic Area (EEA), the legal basis for the participation of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the internal market is the EEA agreement; for Switzerland, it is a number of bilateral agreements concluded after the rejection of EEA accession by the Swiss people in the 1992 referendum.

Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are less integrated into the internal market, although Andorra and San Marino have customs union agreements with the EU and Monaco is part of the customs territory of the EU by virtue of its customs union with France. Negotiations on Association Agreements between the EU and, respectively, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino may be launched in the near future. None of the non-EU countries in Western Europe is currently in an accession process with the EU.

These countries have a high standard of living and present very few of the developmental or political issues (e.g. human rights abuses, lack of democratic governance and respect for fundamental freedoms) which are central to the EU's agenda with many third countries. The EU also maintains diplomatic relations with the Holy See, which is an important partner for the EU on both European and global affairs.

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