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Residence requirements: Liechtenstein has not complied with EFTA Court judgment



The EFTA Surveillance Authority today delivered a reasoned opinion to Liechtenstein stating that it has not complied with a  judgment[1] of the EFTA Court which held that certain requirements on residence were contrary to EEA law.  Liechtenstein should have taken measures to change its legislation immediately after the judgment but did not do so.

The Authority started proceedings against Liechtenstein on the issue of residence requirements in the banking sector and for lawyers, patent lawyers, auditors and trustees, in 2001. Liechtenstein undertook to make amendments in 2006 after clarifications by the EFTA Court in 2005[2]. But instead of abolishing the residence clauses, Liechtenstein introduced new residence requirements in 2007. As a result, the Authority again brought proceedings which culminated in the judgment of the EFTA Court of 6 January 2010 which held that those new requirements are contrary to EEA law.

The EEA Agreement requires EEA EFTA States to take the necessary measures to comply with the judgments of the EFTA Court as soon as possible. Liechtenstein has indicated that the residence requirements which breach EEA law will be abolished in the beginning of the year 2011.

Delivery of this reasoned opinion, a final warning, is the second stage in infringement proceedings. The EFTA Surveillance Authority may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Liech­ten­stein fails to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Bjørnar Alterskjær
Deputy Director, Legal & Executive Affairs Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 98
gsm. (+32)(0)495 29 16 05


Mr. Bernhard Zaglmayer
Senior Officer, Internal Market Affairs Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 85



[1] Case E-1/09 EFTA Surveillance Authority v The Principality of Liechtenstein, judgment of 6 January 2010.

[2] Case E-8/04 EFTA Surveillance Authority v The Principality of Liechtenstein [2005] Report of the EFTA Court, page 48.

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