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Internal Market

PR(09)56: The Authority requests Norway to ease restrictions on personal watercrafts (vannscootere)


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today issued a warning to Norway concerning its prohibition on the use of personal watercrafts.

In a letter of formal notice, the Authority stated that it considers that the current total prohibition on the use of personal watercrafts in Norway constitutes a breach of the principle of free movement of goods as established in the EEA Agreement.

The Authority based its conclusions primarily on the recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Case C-142/05 Mickelsson and Roos, which concerned Swedish restrictions on the use of personal watercrafts. In the judgment, the Court of Justice stated that a total ban on the use of personal watercrafts cannot be considered proportionate to the aim of environmental protection. It stated that Sweden therefore would have to designate areas where personal watercrafts can be used without significant environmental impact.

The Authority recognises that there may be areas that are unsuitable for the use of personal watercrafts for environmental reasons. It does therefore not require Norway to abolish its use restrictions in all areas. However, in areas that are not environmentally sensitive, the prohibition on the use of all personal watercrafts does not appear proportionate. The letter only addresses the geographical restriction on the use of personal watercrafts and not other use restrictions.

The issuing of a letter of formal notice is the first step in infringement proceedings initiated by the Authority. Unless the issue is resolved, the Authority may issue a Reasoned Opinion, which is the final warning before the issue is referred to the EFTA Court in Luxembourg.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Joakim Zander
Officer, Internal Market Affairs Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 76, or

Mr. Bjørnar Alterskjær
Acting Director, Legal & Executive Affairs Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 98


Brussels, 15 July 2009

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