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Gender equality: Norway brought to court for failure to pay out pensions



More than three years after the EFTA Court required Norway to recalculate the survivor pension of approximately 4000 pensioners, less than half of them has received the payment they are entitled to. The EFTA Surveillance Authority has therefore brought Norway to the EFTA Court for not complying with the judgment.

This is the first time that the Authority has had to take an EFTA State to the EFTA Court for failure to comply with a Court judgment.

In a judgment of 30 October 2007, the EFTA Court concluded that certain provisions relating to survivor's pension in the Public Service Pension Act breached EEA rules on equal treatment for men and women. In principle, this was due to the fact that his pension was reduced based on his own income. However, a widow in the same situation received her survivor's pension without such a reduction.

Following this judgment, Norway was expected to take immediate action to rectify its breach of EEA law. However, due to the delay by the Norwegian authorities to take the necessary actions, the Authority decided to open infringement procedures against Norway for its failure to comply with the judgment. A letter of formal notice was issued in November 2008, followed by a reasoned opinion in October 2009.

On 1 February 2010, the amendments to the Public Service Pension Act finally entered into force.

Norway estimates that there are approximately 4000 widowers entitled to recalculation of their survivor's pensions. The process of identifying these men and calculating the payments due to them has started but according to new information from the Norwegian Government will not be finished before the end of 2011.

The Authority considers that the Norwegian Government during the last three years has had more than sufficient time to take all the measures necessary to comply with the judgment.

In light of this, the Authority has decided to bring the case to the EFTA Court.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Xavier Lewis  
Legal & Executive Affairs
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 30






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