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Internal Market: Norway in breach of EEA law in the field of family benefits

6.7.2011

PR(11)48

Norway must remove restrictions on the payment of child benefits in cases where one parent is working in Norway, while the child is living with the other parent in an other EEA State. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion, a final warning, the EFTA Surveillance Authority sent to Norway today.


A problem
occurs when a parent residing in Norway is separated (factually or by divorce) from the rest of the family.

According to Norwegian law, a person working in Norway is entitled to family benefits when the child lives with him or her. The Norwegian authorities do not examine in each case whether the child is dependent on the parent who lives in Norway. EEA law however gives a right to receive benefits if the child is actually dependent on the parent, whether or not they are living together.

The EEA Agreement coordinates the social security systems of the EEA States in cross-border situations. Accordingly, the provision of family benefits is primarily up to the state where a parent is economically active, even for a child that lives outside the territory of that state. This principle applies independently of the marital status of the parents.

Delivering a reasoned opinion is the second stage in infringement proceedings. The EFTA Surveillance Authority may decide to bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Norway fails to take satisfactory measures within two months of receiving the reasoned opinion.

 

For further information, please contact:

 

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




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