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Internal Market: Iceland asked to amend restrictive rules on foreign investment



The obligation to notify all foreign investments in business operations in Iceland is in breach of the EEA Agreement.

That is the conclusion of the EFTA Surveillance Authority in a reasoned opinion delivered to Iceland today.

Currently, all foreign investments in business enterprises in Iceland must be notified, regardless of the economic sector invested in. Icelandic residents and companies established in Iceland are not subject to a similar notification obligation.

«Such prior notification and prior authorisation procedures for investment restrict the free movement of capital and the right of establishment in the internal market of the EEA. The Icelandic rules go beyond what can be considered necessary to achieve any legitimate aims pursued», Frank Büchel, responsible College Member of the Authority, stated.

In the reasoned opinion, the Authority notes that individuals and companies resident or established in other EEA States are free to invest in all economis sectors apart from the fishing industry. The Authority therefore considers the notification obligation for those EEA residents to be too extensive and restrictive.

The purpose of a reasoned opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. Iceland has been given two months to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion.

For further information, please contact:

Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press and Information Officer
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
Mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

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