How complaints are dealt with

Following registration of a complaint by ESA, an official reference number is assigned. Assignment of an official reference number does not necessarily mean that infringement proceedings will be opened against the EFTA State in question.

The Internal Market Affairs Directorate of ESA will then generally request the EFTA State in question to provide information on the matter at issue. If necessary, the complainant will be asked to supply further information.

After a thorough assessment of the complaint, ESA will decide whether or not further action should be taken. ESA endeavours to reach a decision on the substance of a complaint (either to open infringement proceedings or to close the case) within a year of registration of the complaint.

ESA will keep the complainant informed throughout about the handling of the complaint.

Infringement proceedings

If ESA considers that an infringement of EEA law has been committed, it will issue a letter of formal notice to the EFTA State concerned, requesting it to submit observations by a specified date.

In light of the response from the EFTA State concerned, ESA may:

  • decide to deliver a reasoned opinion to that State, setting out the reasons why it considers there to be an infringement of EEA law and calling on the EFTA State to comply with its obligations within a specified time period (generally two months); or
  • decide not to proceed with the infringement procedure, for example where the EFTA State provides credible assurances that it will amend its legislation or administrative practice. Most cases are resolved in this way.
If the EFTA State fails to comply with the reasoned opinion, ESA may decide to bring the case before the EFTA Court

Other EEA Institutions

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