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PR(08)64: Norway fails to comply with EFTA Court judgement in Survivor’s pension case

5.11.2008

The EFTA Surveillance Authority today issued a Letter of Formal Notice to Norway for failing to comply with the judgement of the EFTA Court of 30 October 2007 regarding the so called Survivor’s pension case.

Twelve months have now passed since the judgment of the EFTA Court was given, and 18 months since Norway recognised that the legislation was not compatible with the EEA Agreement. The Norwegian Government has therefore had sufficient time to take the measures necessary to comply with the EFTA Court’s judgment.

In the judgment, Norway was found to be in breach of its obligations according to the EEA Agreement, which require that the EFTA States shall ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. Pensions are considered pay in this respect. According to the Public Service Pension Act (Lov om Statens Pensjonskasse), widows, whose deceased spouses became members of the Public Service Pension Fund before 1 October 1976, receive a survivor’s pension without curtailment regardless of whether they receive an own pension or have other income. By contrast, a survivor’s pension for widowers, may in identical situations be subject to curtailment if the widower has an own pension or other income. Consequently, widowers are treated less favourably in comparison to widows.

The issuing of a Letter of Formal Notice is the first step in the Authority’s infringement proceedings against an EFTA States for failing to comply with provisions in the EEA Agreement. Norway is given three months to submit comments to the content of the letter before the Authority will consider continuing the proceedings by issuing a Reasoned Opinion. The case may then ultimately reappear in the EFTA Court.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Niels Fenger
Director, Legal and Executeive Affairs Directorate

Tel. (+32) (0) 286 18 30

 

 

 




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