When Portugal left EFTA in 1985 in order to join the EEC, the remaining EFTA members decided to continue the Portugal Fund so that Portugal would continue to benefit from it. The Fund originally took the form of a low-interest loan from the EFTA member states to the value of US$100 million. Repayment was originally to commence in 1988, however, EFTA then decided to postpone the start of repayments until 1998. The Portugal Fund was dissolved in January 2002.  See also Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (EU-MEFTA) European Union Association Agreement European Union free trade agreements Free trade areas in Europe Notes References ^ "Láhkasánit - Saamelaiskäräjät" (PDF).
 It was to provide funding for the development of Portugal after the Carnation Revolution and the consequential restoration of democracy and the decolonization of the country's overseas possessions. This followed a period of economic sanctions by most of the international community, which left Portugal economically underdeveloped compared to the rest of the western Europe.
However, both the times, the membership of the EU was rejected in national referendums, keeping Norway in the EFTA. Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 due to the 2008–2011 Icelandic financial crisis, but has since dropped its bid.  Current members Contracting party Accession Population(2021) Area (km²) Capital GDP in millions (PPP)[note 1] GDP per capita (PPP)[note 1] Iceland 1 January 1970 370, 335 103, 000 Reykjavík 12, 831 39, 223 Liechtenstein 1 January 1991 39, 039 160. 4 Vaduz 3, 545[note 2] 98, 432[note 2] Norway 3 May 1960 5, 403, 021 385, 155 Oslo 265, 911 53, 470 Switzerland 8, 691, 406 41, 285 Bern 363, 421 45, 417 Former members State Left EFTA Joined EEC/ EU Austria 31 December 1994 1 January 1995 Denmark 31 December 1972 1 January 1973 Finland 5 November 1985 Portugal 31 December 1985 1 January 1986 Sweden United Kingdom 1 January 1973 (withdrew 31 January 2020) Other negotiations Members of the European Union (blue) andEFTA (green) Between 1994 and 2011, EFTA memberships for Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, the Isle of Man, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, and other European Neighbourhood Policy partners were discussed.
It is possible to assume that membership of the EU with effect for Denmark does not preclude membership of the EFTA with effect for the Faroe Islands and/or Greenland. This form of membership of the EFTA appears to be possible in accordance with the EFTA treaty. In mid-2005, representatives of the Faroe Islands raised the possibility of their territory joining the EFTA.  According to Article 56 of the EFTA Convention, only states may become members of the EFTA.  The Faroes are an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, and not a sovereign state in their own right.  Consequently, they considered the possibility that the "Kingdom of Denmark in respect of the Faroes" could join the EFTA, though the Danish Government has stated that this mechanism would not allow the Faroes to become a separate member of the EEA because Denmark was already a party to the EEA Agreement.  The Government of Denmark officially supports membership of the EFTA with effect for the Faroe Islands.
International trade relations Map of free trade agreements between EFTA and other countries EFTA Free trade agreement Ongoing free trade negotiation European Economic Area Declaration on cooperation or dialogue on closer trade relations EFTA has 29 free trade agreements with non-EU countries as well as declarations on cooperation and joint workgroups to improve trade. Currently, the EFTA States have established preferential trade relations with 40 states and territories, in addition to the 27 member states of the European Union.  EFTA's interactive Free Trade Map gives an overview of the partners worldwide.  Free trade agreements Albania Bosnia and Herzegovina Canada (Canada-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement) Central American States (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama) Chile Colombia Ecuador Egypt Georgia Gulf Co-operation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)  Ongoing free trade negotiations Declarations on cooperation or dialogue on closer trade relations Travel policies Free movement of people within EFTA and the EU/EEA EFTA member states' citizens enjoy freedom of movement in each other's territories in accordance with the EFTA convention.
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However, they also contribute to and influence the formation of new EEA relevant policies and legislation at an early stage as part of a formal decision-shaping process. One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA but has a series of bilateral agreements, including a free trade agreement, with the EU. The following table summarises the various components of EU laws applied in the EFTA countries and their sovereign territories. Some territories of EU member states also have a special status in regard to EU laws applied as is the case with some European microstates. EFTA member states and territories Application of EU law EURATOM European Defence Agency Schengen area EU VAT area EU Customs Union EU single market Eurozone Partial No Yes With exemptions, in EEA No, ISK No, Swiss–Liechtenstein VAT area No, Swiss–Liechtenstein customs territory No, CHF Norway, except: Participating non‑member state No, NOK Jan Mayen Participating Yes No, VAT free Svalbard Demilitarised No No Bouvet Island No Peter I Island Queen Maud Land Switzerland, except: Participating associated state With exemptions, sectoral agreements[note 3] Samnaun Participating with Switzerland No, VAT free A clickable Euler diagram[file] showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations and agreements.
The EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court regulate the activities of the EFTA members in respect of their obligations in the European Economic Area (EEA). Since Switzerland is not an EEA member, it does not participate in these institutions. The EFTA Surveillance Authority performs a role for EFTA members that is equivalent to that of the European Commission for the EU, as "guardian of the treaties" and the EFTA Court performs the European Court of Justice-equivalent role.
Switzerland, which is a member of EFTA but not of the EEA, is not bound by the Directive but rather has a separate bilateral agreement on free movement with the EU.  As a result, a citizen of an EFTA country can live and work in all the other EFTA countries and in all the EU countries, and a citizen of an EU country can live and work in all the EFTA countries (but for voting and working in sensitive fields, such as government / police / military, citizenship is often required, and non-citizens may not have the same rights to welfare and unemployment benefits as citizens).
 EFTA nationals also enjoy freedom of movement in the European Union (EU). EFTA nationals and EU citizens are not only visa-exempt but are legally entitled to enter and reside in each other's countries. The Citizens' Rights Directive (also sometimes called the "Free Movement Directive") defines the right of free movement for citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA),  which includes the three EFTA members Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein plus the member states of the EU.
At the time of the first referendum in 1972, their neighbour, Denmark joined. Since the second referendum in 1994, two other Nordic neighbours, Sweden and Finland, have joined the EU. The last two governments of Norway have not advanced the question, as they have both been coalition governments consisting of proponents and opponents of EU membership.
EFTA was historically one of the two dominant western European trade blocs, 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), the main predecessor of the EU.
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EEA and Norway Grants The EEA and Norway Grants are the financial contributions of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe. They were established in conjunction with the 2004 enlargement of the European Economic Area (EEA), which brought together the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the Internal Market. In the period from 2004 to 2009, €1. 3 billion of project funding was made available for project funding in the 15 beneficiary states in Central and Southern Europe. The EEA and Norway Grants are administered by the Financial Mechanism Office, which is affiliated to the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels. International conventions EFTA also originated the Hallmarking Convention and the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention, both of which are open to non-EFTA states.
 Andorra, Monaco, and San Marino In November 2012, after the Council of the European Union had called for an evaluation of the EU's relations with Andorra, Monaco, and San Marino, which they described as "fragmented",  the European Commission published a report outlining the options for their further integration into the EU.  Unlike Liechtenstein, which is a member of the EEA via the EFTA and the Schengen Agreement, relations with these three states are based on a collection of agreements covering specific issues. The report examined four alternatives to the current situation: A Sectoral Approach with separate agreements with each state covering an entire policy area. A comprehensive, multilateral Framework Association Agreement (FAA) with the three states.
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The United Kingdom and Denmark joined the EEC in 1973 and hence ceased to be EFTA members. Portugal also left EFTA for the European Community in 1986. Liechtenstein joined the EFTA in 1991 (previously its interests had been represented by Switzerland). Austria, Sweden, and Finland joined the EU in 1995 and thus ceased to be EFTA members. Twice, in 1972 and in 1994, the Norwegian government had tried to join the EU (still the EEC, in 1973) and by doing so, leave the EFTA.
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 General secretaries # Name Year 1 Frank Figgures 1960–1965 2 John Coulson 1965–1972 3 Bengt Rabaeus 1972–1975 4 Charles Müller 1976–1981 5 Per Kleppe 1981–1988 6 Georg Reisch 1988–1994 7 Kjartan Jóhannsson 1994–2000 8 William Rossier 2000–2006 9 Kåre Bryn 2006–2012 10 Kristinn F. Árnason 2012–2018 11 Henri Gétaz 2018–present Portugal Fund The Portugal Fund came into operation in February 1977 when Portugal was still a member of EFTA.
In early 2018, British MPs Antoinette Sandbach, Stephen Kinnock and Stephen Hammond all called for the UK to rejoin EFTA.  Relationship with the European Union: the European Economic Area In 1992, the EU, its member states, and the EFTA member states signed the Agreement on the European Economic Area in Oporto, Portugal. However, the proposal that Switzerland ratify its participation was rejected by referendum. (Nevertheless, Switzerland has multiple bilateral treaties with the EU that allow it to participate in the European Single Market, the Schengen Agreement and other programmes).
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The original plan for the EEA lacked the EFTA Court or the EFTA Surveillance Authority: the European Court of Justice and the European Commission were to exercise those roles. However, during the negotiations for the EEA agreement, the European Court of Justice informed the Council of the European Union by way of letter that it considered that it would be a violation of the treaties to give to the EU institutions these powers with respect to non-EU member states.  Therefore, the current arrangement was developed instead.
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