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Internal Market: Liechtenstein in breach of EEA law on freedom of establishment

25.4.2012

PR(12)21

Liechtenstein must allow Austrian-trained ”Dentisten” self-employment opportunities based on their professional qualifications. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion, a final warning, sent to Liechtenstein by the EFTA Surveillance Authority today.

The professional qualifications of an Austrian-trained “Dentist” are obtained in specific areas of dentistry, but it does not measure up to the professional qualifications of a dental practitioner (“Zahnarzt”)[1]. However, this difference should not prohibit the ”Dentisten” from pursuing their profession on a self-employed basis.  In Liechtenstein, however, the “Dentisten” have to be employed by a dental practitioner in order to use their qualifications.

The EEA/EFTA States are free to define the scope of activities of the professions regulated on their territory. However, in the view of the Authority the Liechtenstein measure is a disproportionate restriction of the freedom of establishment. It does not have a sufficient link to the objective of public health, as has been argued by the Liechtenstein Government. A limitation of the activities of a “Dentist”, and a clear distinction from the profession of dental practitioner, would be a sufficient and less restrictive measure.  

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 Liechtenstein fails to take satisfactory measures within two months of receiving the reasoned opinion.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Trygve Mellvang-Berg
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187


[1] See case C-437/03 Commission v Austria [2005] ECR I-9373.




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