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Internal market: Liechtenstein residence requirement for trustees in breach of EEA law



Liechtenstein must change its legislation imposing a personal residence requirement for the establishment of a trust. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion sent by the EFTA Surveillance Authority to Liechtenstein today.

The Liechtenstein Persons and Companies Act foresees that in case a trustee is appointed in a trust instrument and that trustee resides outside of Liechtenstein, he has to collaborate with a co-trustee who is resident in Liechtenstein.

The Authority considers that a personal residence requirement is contrary to the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services, as set out in the Services Directive. Such a requirement places foreign service providers at a disadvantage compared to Liechtenstein service providers and is therefore in breach of EEA rules.

The Authority opened the infringement proceeding in this case by sending a letter of formal notice in September 2011. In its reply, Liechtenstein stated that its national legislation did not infringe EEA law. However, the EFTA Court has consistently held that national rules under which a distinction is drawn on the basis of residence are not in line with EEA law.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage of the EEA infringement proceedings. If Liechtenstein does not take the measures necessary to ensure compliance with EEA rules within two months, the Authority may refer the matter to the EFTA Court.


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


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