The European Economic Area (EEA) is the area in which the Agreement on the EEA provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the European Single Market, including the freedom to choose residence in any country within this area. The EEA was established on 1 January 1994 upon entry into force of the EEA Agreement.
The EEA Agreement specifies that membership is open to member states of either the European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA). EFTA states which are party to the EEA Agreement participate in the EU's internal market without being members of the EU.
Countries in the EU and EEA
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28 countries.
The EU countries are:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
The European Economic Area (EEA)
The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.
Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.