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PR(99)13: The EFTA Surveillance Authority requests Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to comply with EEA rules


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has sent one Reasoned Opinion each to Iceland, Liechtenstein and 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.

Iceland: Failure to fulfil obligations under Article 36 of the EEA Agreement as well as the Act referred to in point 64a of Annex XIII to the EEA Agreement (Council Regulation (EEC) No 2408/92 on access for Community air-carriers to intra-Community air routes).

Article 36(1) of the EEA Agreement stipulates that there shall be no restrictions on the freedom to provide services within the territory of the Contracting Parties in respect of nationals of EC Member States and EFTA States who are established in an EC Member State or an EFTA State other than that of the person for whom the services are intended.

 Under Article 3(1) of Regulation (EEC) No 2408/92, as adapted for EEA purposes, EEA air carriers shall be permitted by the EEA State(s) concerned to exercise traffic rights on routes within the EEA.

Law No. 31 of 27 March 1987 regarding an aviation plan and financing of aviation projects (Lög No. 31 frá 27 mars 1987 um flugmálaáætlun og fjáröflun til framkvæmda í flugmálum) as amended, provides that flights from Iceland to other EEA States are subject to a higher tax rate than domestic flights and flights from Iceland to Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

In the Authority's view Iceland, by charging air transport taxes which discriminate between domestic flights and flights to other States of the EEA, secures a special advantage for the domestic market and the internal air transport services in Iceland and thus creates a restriction on the freedom to provide services, as enshrined in Article 36 of the EEA Agreement and Article 3(1) of the Act referred to in point 64a of Annex XIII to the EEA Agreement, Council Regulation (EEC) No 2408/92 on access for Community air-carriers to intra-Community air routes.

Liechtenstein:  Failure to take the necessary measures to comply with Article 26 of the Act referred to in point 7 of Annex IX to the EEA Agreement (Second Council Directive 88/357/EEC on direct insurance other than life insurance). Liechtenstein was to bring into force the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the Act, and to inform the Authority forthwith thereof, no later than 1 May 1995.

The Authority has received information from Liechtenstein indicating that national measures considered to ensure partial compliance with the Act have been adopted. However, it appears that the measures thus notified as already adopted do not ensure compliance with Article 26 of the amended Act.

Article 26(1) of the amended Act defines, by reference to Directive 73/239/EEC, the risks, which may be covered by way of Community co-insurance within the meaning of the Co-insurance Directive 78/473/EEC. According to Article 26(2) of the amended Act, the provisions of that Act regarding the risks thus defined shall apply to a leading insurer.

Norway:  Failure to comply with Article 13(2)(a) of the Act referred to in point 1 of Annex VI to the EEA Agreement (Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community).

Article 13(2)(a) of Regulation 1408/71 states that a person employed in the territory of one Member State shall be subject to the legislation of that State even if he resides in the territory of another Member State.

Section 2-4 of the National Insurance Act (Lov om folketrygd) of 28 February 1997 No 19, entails that all workers who are involved in activities related to exploration for or exploitation of petroleum resources, gas resources or other natural resources on the Norwegian continental shelf are compulsorily insured under the National Insurance Scheme provided that the workers in question are residents in Norway.

In the Authority's opinion the EEA Agreement and Regulation 1408/71 apply to EEA nationals who perform the above mentioned activities on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The Authority considers that the residence condition required under Section 2-4 of the Norwegian National Insurance Act prevents EEA nationals, who perform the above mentioned activities on the Norwegian continental shelf, from being affiliated with the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme as long as they do not reside in Norway or in another Nordic State.  The Authority therefore concludes that Norway, in doing so, is in breach of Article 13(2)(a) of Regulation 1408/71.

For further information please contact Peter Dyrberg (Legal & Ececutive Affairs) on tel. (32 2) 286 18 30.

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