When they entered into force in 1994, the EEA Contracting Parties were 17 States and two European Communities: the European Community, which was later admitted to the wider EU framework, and the European Coal and Steel Community, which no longer exists. The number of members increased to 30 from 2020: 27 EU Member States and three of the four EFTA Member States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).  The Agreement is provisionally applied in respect of Croatia, the last and last EU Member State, until ratification of its accession by all Eea Contracting Parties.   The United Kingdom remains a member of the EEA on a transitional basis after leaving the European Union on 31 January 2020 and entering a transitional period until 31 December 2020. During the transitional period, the EEA Agreement remains unchanged and still applies to the other EEA Members and the United Kingdom, as the United Kingdom remains treated as an EEA State.  One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA, but has a series of bilateral sectoral agreements with the EU that allow it to participate in the internal market. The EEA Agreement brings together the 28 EU Member States and the three EEA-EFTA States of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the internal market, which is subject to the same basic rules. It guarantees the four freedoms of the EU`s internal market as well as non-discrimination and equal competition rules throughout the EEA. To be applicable in the EEA, it is necessary to include EU acts in the EEA Agreement, specifically in one of its annexes or protocols. These amendments to the EEA Agreement shall be made by decision of the Joint Committee (TDCC). These decisions constitute international agreements and shall be adopted in accordance with the simplified procedures provided for in the EEA Agreement. Find out more about the main lines of the EEA Agreement. During the transitional period, both the United Kingdom and other EEA members remain bound by existing obligations under international agreements concluded by the EU, including the EEA Agreement.
 In January and February 2020, the UK Government ruled out future alignment with internal market rules and virtually ruled out EEA membership at the end of the transitional period.    However, when the ITA was established in 1994, several developments hampered its credibility. Firstly, Switzerland rejected the EEA Agreement in a national referendum on 6 December 1992, which hindered the full integration of the EU and EFTA into the EEA. In addition, in 1989 Austria applied for full membership of the EEC, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland between 1991 and 1992 (Norway`s accession to the EU was rejected by referendum, Switzerland froze its EU application after the rejection by referendum of the EEA Agreement). . . .