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PR(94)07: Surveillance Authority to take action to enforce higher environmental and labour law standards


Proceedings to be opened against Austria, Norway and Sweden

Thee EFTA Surveillance Authority on 20 April 1994 decided to start formal proceedings against Austria, Norway and Sweden because of their failure to' implement two EEA directives providing for higher standards in the fields of environment and labour law.

Letters of formal notice, which constitute the first step in the formal proceedings that the Authority must initiate in the case of infringements of the EEA Agreement, will be sent to Austria and Norway because of their failure to correctly implement the directive on environmental impact assessment (Dir 85/337). For the same reason, a letter of formal notice was already sent to Finland on 15 March.

A further letter of formal notice will be sent to Sweden because of its failure to implement the directive safeguarding employees' rights in the event of transfers of enterprises (Dir 771187). A further example of the Authority's policy to enforce higher standards can be found in a letter of formal notice sent to Austria on 15 March La. because of non‑implementation of 15 directives regarding health and safety at work.

If the State in question does not react in a satisfactory way within the given time period, the Authority will as a next step consider issuing a reasoned opinion on the matter. Because of the special urgency of environmental matters, Austria and Norway will only be allowed one month for their reactions.

If the State does not comply with the opinion within the period fixed therein, the Authority may bring the matter before the EFTA Court in Geneva. These procedures correspond to the way in which the European Commission proceeds against infringements of Community law.

1t is imperative to have equal conditions in these fields throughout the EEA", says Nic Grönvall, Member of the Authority responsible for environment and social policy. "These examples also demonstrate how important it is to have a referee who is ready to act.

For further information please contact Klaus Pendl (Press and Information Officer) at tel. 22 66 882.


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