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PR(03)40: The EFTA Surveillance Authority brings Norway before the EFTA Court for failure to comply with the procedure on draft technical regulations

19.12.2003

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has concluded that Norway, by adopting the Regulation of 28 August 1998 no. 853 regarding type approval of gaming machines without notifying it to the Authority at the drafting stage, has failed to fulfil its obligation under Article 8 of Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations as amended. The Authority has thus decided to bring the matter before the EFTA Court.

The procedure laid down in the Act aims at providing transparency and control with regard to technical regulations in order to diminish the risk that new unjustified barriers to trade are created. The Act requires the EFTA States to communicate to the Authority technical regulation in a draft form so that the Authority may evaluate the content. Furthermore, the EFTA States are required to postpone the adoption of the national technical regulation for a period of three months subsequent to its notification to the Authority. The Norwegian Regulation, considered to be a technical regulation since it sets out a number of requirements needed to be met in order for a gaming machine to obtain type approval, was never notified to the Authority prior to its adoption.

Norway acknowledged at an early stage that the national regulation should have been notified. No measures were taken by Norway in order to rectify the omission, however. Consequently, the Authority sent a letter of formal notice, followed by a reasoned opinion, thus giving Norway the opportunity to take the necessary measures.

In the answer to the Authority’s reasoned opinion Norway states that the regulation, as a consequence of the introduction of the new gaming monopoly in Norway, will be repealed with effect from 1 January 2005. In the Authority’s opinion this is too late and not an acceptable way of proceeding with a non-notified technical regulation. The regulation would thus remain in force in Norway contrary to that State’s notifying obligations for a total of six years.

The Authority has concluded that Norway has failed to fulfil its obligation under Article 8 of the Act and has consequently decided to refer the matter to the EFTA Court. 

For further information, please contact Mr. Niels Fenger, Director of Legal and Executive Affairs, tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 30.

19 December 2003




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