§ Mr. Conway
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what effect the Swiss referendum result will have on the implementation of the European economic area.
§ Mr. Heseltine
[pursuant to the reply, 8 December 1992, Official Report, col. 592]: The impact of the Swiss vote on the Community and EFTA has now been fully assessed.
The Community and the other EFTA states have agreed the changes necessary to the EEA agreement to exclude Switzerland. A protocol to amend the EEA agreement was signed on 17 March by the Community, its member states and those other EFTA states. The protocol includes a target date of entry into force by 1 July 1993, but with provision for this to be later if one or more signatories are unable to ratify within that time. I am now considering how the European Economic Area Bill, which provides for implementation of the agreement by the United Kingdom, should take account of the amending protocol.