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PR(99)18: Reference to the EFTA Court concerning failure by Norway to comply with directive 92/51/EEC regarding the seafaring sector


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has decided that the failure by Norway to take the necessary measures to comply with Article 10(2) of the Act referred to in point 1a of Annex VII to the EEA Agreement (Directive 92/51/EEC on a second general system for recognition of professional education and training to supplement Directive 89/48/EEC) with regard to the professions in the Seafaring sector should be brought before the EFTA Court.

The relevant Norwegian legislation (Regulation of 3 February 1986 No. 237 concerning the medical examination of employees on ships etc.) requires that a person wanting to take up or pursue work on a Norwegian vessel must produce a health certificate issued by a doctor that has been approved by a Norwegian authority.  Even though the Norwegian authorities can in principle approve every qualified doctor, a certificate issued by a doctor who has not been specially approved will not be accepted in Norway, even if it is sufficient evidence in the Member State of origin.

In the Authority's view the national measure is neither in compliance with the wording of Article 10(2) of the Act nor with the fundamental principle of mutual recognition, which is mutual trust in diplomas and further statements issued by and in EEA States.  Furthermore Norway has not established that the restrictions are justified under EEA law.

Norway was given the opportunity to submit observations on the alleged breach of its obligations by letter of formal notice sent 4 December 1995 and, as the necessary measures had not been taken, a reasoned opinion was delivered on 29 June 1998.  To date no information has been received indicating that Norway has complied with the reasoned opinion.

Norway has thus failed to take the measures necessary to comply with the Directive, and the Authority has decided to refer the matter to the EFTA Court.

For further information please contact Mr. Peter Dyrberg, Director of the Legal and Executive Affairs Department, telephone (+32) 2 286 18 30.

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