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Internal Market: Norway restricting right to reunite families



Photo: Frank May / NTB scanpix


The EFTA Surveillance Authority finds that Norwegian rules do not fully ensure the rights of Norwegians returning home and other EEA nationals working and living in Norway to reunite their families. This is the conclusion of an in-depth assessment carried out following numerous complaints.

As a consequence, the Authority today issued a reasoned opinion requiring Norway to comply with EEA rules on the free movement of persons.

Once an EEA national has exercised his free movement rights, he falls under the protection of EEA law, including when he returns to his State of nationality. This protection includes the right, in certain circumstances, to bring his third country national family members along.

However, Norway has established additional criteria which are not supported by EEA law, and which are ambiguous and applied inconsistently and in a discretionary manner. As a result, Norwegians returning home from another EEA State are placed in a state of legal uncertainty. This runs contrary to EEA law which requires that the implementation of these rights must be precise and clear, so that individuals are made fully aware of their rights and, where appropriate, may rely on them before the national courts.

Further, the Authority holds the view that Norway must facilitate entry and residence for certain categories of family members of EEA nationals. In these cases, Norway must base its decision to allow or deny entry or residence on an extensive examination of the personal circumstances, with the objective of maintaining the unity of the family.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage in infringement proceedings. The Authority may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Norway fails to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.



For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

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