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ESA takes Norway to Court for nationality and residence requirements


PR (19)36


ESA has decided to bring Norway before the EFTA Court for demanding corporate board members and management to be nationals and residents of an EEA State.

Based on the well-established case law and prior infringement action on this issue, ESA believes these requirements to be in violation of fundamental EEA principles regarding the freedom of establishment.

Norway requires managers and board members of companies established in Norway to be residents and citizens of an EEA country. Thereby, Norway restricts companies of other EEA States in their free choice of management. This may force companies to alter the composition of their present management or board.

These requirements also restrict companies of other EEA States wishing to pursue activities in Norway through agencies, branches or subsidiaries, as they may not choose the management freely and appoint the people they prefer.

Nationality and residence requirements are generally not a suitable proxy for the fitness and propriety of management and board members. That is why there are already stringent EEA rules and scrutiny in place for such individuals in sensitive sectors such as financial services.

Although Norway is currently consulting on potential amendments to these rules, current proposals would not fully remove the restrictions at the core of ESA's infringement case.

How ESA investigates

ESA sent a letter of formal notice to Norway on the matter in 2015 and a reasoned opinion in 2016. Today's court referral  is the third and final stage in ESA's formal infringement proceedings against Norway. It is now up to the EFTA Court to settle the matter.

For further information, please contact:

Øystein Solvang
Head of Communications
mob. +32 490 57 63 53

Other EEA Institutions

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