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Liechtenstein must remove unlawful restrictions in its Trade Act



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ESA: Liechtenstein must comply with a 2016 EFTA Court judgment on prior authorisation schemes under its Trade Act.

This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion delivered by the EFTA Surveillance Authority, ESA, today.

Businesses that wish to establish themselves in Liechtenstein have to obtain a prior authorisation from national authorities. Those who wish to provide cross-border services must also notify the authorities of their intention. The EFTA Court ruled already on 10 May 2016 that such requirements breach EEA law.

The Court found these authorisation schemes to be in breach of the Services Directive and the freedom of establishment for service providers and the freedom to provide cross-border services in the EEA. Under the Directive, prior authorisation is only permissible in limited circumstances and the aim is to remove existing overly burdensome authorisation schemes, procedures and formalities.

ESA has acknowledged that a revision of the Liechtenstein Trade Act would require time. However, more than three and a half years have passed since the EFTA Court handed down its judgment. ESA finds that Liechtenstein has had sufficient time to take the measures necessary to adapt its legislation to bring it into conformity with EEA law. Therefore, ESA has decided to deliver a reasoned opinion to Liechtenstein.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage of the infringement procedure. ESA can bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Liechtenstein fails to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.

Read the reasoned opinion here.

For further information, please contact:

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

Other EEA Institutions

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