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Internal Market: Norwegian rules on the use of personal watercrafts not in line with EEA law



By maintaining in force a general ban on the use of water scooters with very limited exceptions, Norway is in breach of the principle of free movement of goods established in the EEA Agreement. This is the conclusion of a letter of formal notice sent to Norway by the EFTA Surveillance Authority today.

The Authority has identified specific problems with regard to the current Norwegian rules, as implemented by the Regulation of 22 June 2012:

  • The system of exemptions from the ban is not acceptable as it makes it highly unlikely that all the limited areas where personal watercrafts can be practically used would be designated in a timely fashion in line with EEA law.
  • The zones where personal watercrafts can be allowed are extremely limited. The Authority acknowledges that there are areas where a high level of environmental protection is necessary and it does not oppose the restrictions on the use of personal watercrafts in such areas. However, the exclusion zones marked on the map attached to the Regulation cover considerable parts of the coast, including areas in which the restrictive measures do not seem to be necessary on the basis of the protection of environment or safety.
  • The rules do not seem to be consistent, as water scooters are banned in areas where private motor  boats are allowed.

The letter of formal notice is the first step in an infringement procedure against an EFTA State. The Norwegian Government has two months to express its views on the content of the letter. After that, the EFTA Surveillance Authority may decide to deliver a reasoned opinion, which is the final step before the Authority can choose to refer the case to the EFTA Court.

Read the letter of formal notice here. 

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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