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Internal Market: Iceland has not sufficiently respected its obligations to notify technical regulations




Iceland has not sufficiently respected its obligations under Directive 98/34 to notify national technical regulations before they are adopted. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion delivered by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) today.

Directive 98/34 is an important tool in ensuring free movement of goods within the internal market, as national regulations can make it difficult for enterprises to sell their products within the EEA area. The directive is set up to prevent any unnecessary barriers to trade by obliging EFTA States to inform ESA of technical regulations at a draft stage. Following a notification, a three-month standstill period starts running, during which the EFTA State in question is required not to adopt the relevant technical regulation. This procedure enables ESA, the Commission and other EEA countries to examine the proposed text and submit any comments if they consider that the legislative measures might be problematic with a view to the free movement of goods or information society services, such as e-commerce.

The reasoned opinion addresses two issues, firstly, that the Icelandic Government has not notified a number of technical regulations adopted in 2012, as required by Directive 98/34. Secondly, it addresses the fact that the Icelandic legislation implementing Directive 98/34 does not contain an explicit rule of non-enforceability for technical regulations that have not been notified which individuals or legal persons can rely on directly before national courts. The lack of such a rule entails that national courts are not obliged by national law to disapply measures that have not been duly notified under Directive 98/34, vis-à-vis affected individuals and/or economic operators. This makes it more difficult for Icelandic persons and economic operators to rely on the rights enshrined in Directive 98/34.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage in infringement proceedings. ESA may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Iceland fails to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Ásdís Ólafsdóttir
Communication Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 97
mob. (+32)(0)490 57 63 49

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