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PR(98)26: The EFTA Surveillance Authority requests Norway to comply with EEA rules


During the last three months, the EFTA Surveillance Authority sent three Reasoned Opinions to Norway for failing to comply with EEA rules.

The Reasoned Opinions were issued pursuant to the first paragraph of Article 31 of the Agreement between the EFTA States on the Establishment of a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice, and after having given the concerned Governments the opportunity to submit its observations.  The purpose of a Reasoned Opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides to bring the matter before the EFTA Court.

The Reasoned Opinions concern the following cases:

  • Failure to fulfil obligations under Articles 4, 31, 34 and 40 of the EEA Agreement as well as the Act referred to in point 1 of Annex XII to that Agreement - the Capital Movements Directive (88/361/EEC).

Sections 12-10 and 1-2 of the Norwegian Company Act require that loans from Norwegian subsidiaries to parent companies, having their registered office in an EEA State other than a Nordic State, shall be subject to more restrictive conditions than when a parent company is registered in Norway or in another Nordic State.

In the Authority's opinion the legislation is of a discriminatory nature and infringes the provisions of freedom of establishment and free movement of capital. 

It should be noted that the Authority's position is also relevant for the new company law legislation entering into force on 1 January 1999.

  • Failure to fully implement the Act referred to in point 2 of Annex XVIII to the EEA Agreement – the Vinyl Chloride Monomer Directive (78/610/EEC).

The provisions of the Directive on the protection of the health of workers exposed to vinyl chloride monomer constitute minimum requirements. The substance vinyl chloride monomer is classified as carcinogenic to humans. Long-term or repeated exposure to vinyl chloride monomer may lead to liver cancer.

Norway was to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive no later than 1 January 1994

The EFTA Court already rendered a judgement on 19 June 1998, declaring that, by not adopting by the time-limit prescribed the national provisions necessary to comply with the Directive, Norway had failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 11 of the Directive and Article 7 of the EEA Agreement.

Before the Court rendered its judgement, Norway notified the Directive as being fully implemented.  Nevertheless, the Authority initiated new proceedings against Norway, by a letter of formal notice of 15 July 1998, stating, inter alia, that certain provisions of the Directive had still not been transposed.  The Norwegian Government's reply to the letter of formal notice did not allow the Authority to conclude that the provisions concerning the binding limit values of the Directive had been implemented through legally binding national measures. The Authority has therefore decided to send a reasoned opinion on the matter.

  • Failure to fully implement the Act referred to in point 16a of Annex XVIII to the EEA Agreement – Medical Treatment on board Ships (92/29/EEC).

The objective of the Directive is to improve through minimum requirements the safety and health for medical treatment on board vessels.

Norway was to bring into force the necessary national measures to ensure full compliance with the Directive no later than 31 December 1994.  The Authority is of the opinion that the Directive has been implemented only partially.

For further information please contact Helga Ottarsdóttir (Legal & Executive Affairs) on tel. (32 2) 286 18 34.

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