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PR(09)55: The Authority closes its examination of the Norwegian General Application Act (Lov om allmengjøring av tariffavtaler), but continues to investigate other related issues


The General Application Act

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today decided to close its investigation into the Norwegian General Application Act (Lov om allmenngjøring av tariffavtaler). The Authority had examined the compatibility of the Act with the free movement of services and Directive 96/71 on the posting of workers.

The case was initiated by the Authority following a complaint which claimed that the General Application Act imposes unjustified restrictions on foreign undertakings providing services in Norway. The Authority concludes that the system as set up by the General Application Act in general pursues a legitimate aim, i.e. the protection of workers, capable of justifying a restriction on the freedom to provide services and that the provisions are suitable and proportionate for achieving that aim. In the Authority's view, the Act is also in compliance with the requirements set by Directive. The examination has been limited to the Act's general compatibility with these provisions and the Authority's has not examined whether individual decisions/regulations adopted under the Act and currently in force in Norway comply with EEA law.

The duty to provide, control and receive information

A new investigation has been initiated regarding the duty to provide, control and receive information under the General Application Act, as provided for in Regulation 166/2008 (Forskrift om informasjons- og påseplikt, og innsynsrett). The Authority wants to establish whether such requirements impose undue restrictions and obligations on foreign undertakings providing services in Norway.

Obligations in Public Works contracts (lønns- og arbeidsvilkår i offentlige kontrakter)

Furthermore, the Authority has today initiated a formal infringement procedure against Norway concerning another regulation in the same area. The regulation requires contracting authorities to include a clause in their contracts that obliges contractors and subcontractors to make sure that collective agreements (even if they are not made generally applicable) or minimum pay and working conditions considered normal for the place and profession concerned are respected. It is the preliminary view of the Authority that this regulation does not comply with the requirements set out in the Directive on the posting of workers and the EEA Agreement's provisions relating to the freedom to provide services as interpreted by the European Court of Justice in Case C-346/06 Rüffert.

For further information, please contact:

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


Brussels, 15 July 2009

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