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PR(94)05: Surveillance Authority to start formal infringement proceedings


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has sent letters of formal notice to those EFTA States which have not notified the Authority of national measures implementing all 460 Community Directives referred to in the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA Agreement obliged EFTA States to notify the Authority by its entry into force on 1 January 1994 of the way in which such acts have been made part of their internal legislation.

Taking into account the wide scope and exacting nature of the effort necessary to comply with its request, the Authority in a decision of principle set a deadline (7 March),.by which date formal infringement proceedings would start in cases of non­-notification of Directives. The EFTA States have now submitted notifications in respect of a great number of acts, and most of them have nearly completed the task. In the case of Sweden, all notifications have been received.

The letters of formal notice constitute a first step in the formal proceedings that the Authority must initiate in the case of infringements. If the remaining notifications or satisfactory explanations are not received by 30 April, the Authority will as a next step consider issuing a reasoned opinion on the matter. If the state in question 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.

In parallel, the Authority has embarked on the examination of the received notifications in order to verify that the Directives have been correctly implemented.

"We fully appreciate the unprecedented effort undertaken by the EFTA States endeavouring to catch up with decades of Community lawmaking in such a short time", says Knut Almestad, President of the EFTA Surveillance Authority. "It is encouraging to register that the EFTA States seem determined to effectively implement the EEA Agreement. However, our job is to see to it that something is now done about the missing pieces in the puzzle. Some of these pieces are rather important, and this is why we are now acting in a formal way."

For further information please contact EFTA Surveillance Authority/Press and Information, Tel. 22 66 882.

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