The EEA is based on the same „four freedoms“ that underpin the European internal market as the European Union: the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital between EEA countries. Therefore, EEA countries that are not part of the EU enjoy free trade with the European Union. „The free movement of persons is also one of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the European Economic Area (EEA) … [this is perhaps the most important right for individuals, as citizens of the 31 EEA countries have the opportunity to live, work, settle and study in each of these countries.  On 18 November 2013, the Commission concluded that „for political and institutional reasons, the participation of small countries in the EEA is currently not considered a viable option“ and that Association Agreements are a more viable mechanism for integrating micro-states into the internal market.  EU enlargements have had a direct impact on the EEA Agreement and the enlarged EEA now has 30 countries (EFTA countries in italics): in addition, EEA rules also govern professional qualifications and social security coordination in order to support this free movement of persons between Member States. As they are both necessary to preserve the economies and governments of each country, these rules are essential to allow for the effective free movement of people. The EEA Treaty is a commercial contract and differs in some respects from the EU Treaties. In accordance with Article 1, its objective is to „promote a continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relations“. EFTA members do not participate in the common agricultural policy or the common fisheries policy. Which are the 27 EU countries? What is EEA and EFTA? And which countries are members of the Schengen area? See the lists of countries below. The EEA extends the internal market to all 31 Member States and allows national countries to travel freely between themselves.
Citizens of certain overseas territories, goods and other regions governed by countries of the European Union do not have the right to free movement in the internal market. EEA countries that are not part of the EU do not contribute to the objectives of the Union to the same extent as their members, although they contribute to the EEA subsidy system in order to „reduce social and economic inequalities within the EEA“. In addition, some choose to participate in EU programmes such as the Trans-European Networks and the European Regional Development Fund. Norway also has its own subsidy programme to Norway.  Following the 2004 EU/EEA enlargement, the financial contribution of EEA States, in particular Norway, to the social and economic cohesion of the internal market has increased tenfold (€1167 million over five years). [Citation required] The EEA includes the EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. . . .