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Urging Iceland to change residence and nationality requirements

11.12.2019

PR(19)37 

EN | IS 

Iceland must change the rules that require corporate board members and management to be nationals or residents of an EEA State. This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion delivered by ESA today.

Based on the well-established case law and prior infringement action on this issue, ESA believes these requirements to be in violation of fundamental EEA principles regarding the freedom of establishment.

Iceland requires managers and board members of companies established in Iceland to be residents or citizens of an EEA country. Thereby, Iceland restricts companies of other EEA States in their free choice of management. This may force companies to alter the composition of their present management or board.

These requirements also restrict companies of other EEA States wishing to pursue activities in Iceland through agencies, branches or subsidiaries, as they may not choose the management freely and appoint the people they prefer.

Nationality and residence requirements are generally not a suitable proxy for the fitness and propriety of management and board members. That is why there are already stringent EEA rules and scrutiny in place for such individuals in sensitive sectors such as financial services.

How ESA investigates

ESA sent a letter of formal notice to Iceland on the matter in November 2015, and ESA is today taking the next step in the infringement procedure by adopting a reasoned opinion . Finally, ESA may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Iceland fails to comply within two months.

For further information, please contact:

Øystein Solvang
Head of Communications
mob. +32 490 57 63 53




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