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PR(01)06: A Letter of Formal Notice sent to Norway for failure to ensure full compliance with rules on equal treatment for men and women


On 6 June 2001, the EFTA Surveillance Authority sent a letter of formal notice to Norway for failure to comply with EEA rules in the field of Equal treatment of men and women.

The case was initiated on the basis of a complaint raised against Norway in August 2000, alleging that by reserving a number of scholarly positions at the University of Oslo for women only, Norway is in breach of the EEA Agreement.

The Norwegian Government has informed the Authority that Article 30(3) of the Act No. 22 of 12 May 1995 relating to Universities and Colleges is the legal basis for the University’s decision to reserve the positions for women only. Furthermore, the Government claimed that the decision was made in order to achieve better gender balance in academic positions at the University in fields where women are underrepresented, and that it considers the situation to be in conformity with EEA law.

Having examined the relevant EEA law and Norway’s explanations, the Authority is of the opinion that Article 30(3) is contrary to EEA law. A measure, which automatically and unconditionally gives priority to women in sector where they are underrepresented, and does not take into account the specific situation of all candidates, goes beyond what is permitted under EEA law in order to promote gender equality.

The Norwegian Government is requested to submit its observations to the letter of formal notice within 2 months of the receipt of the letter.

For further information, please contact Jonas Fr. Jonsson, Director, (Persons, Services and Capital Movements Directorate) on telephone +32 (2) 286 1860.

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