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PR(03)37: The EFTA Surveillance Authority delivers two reasoned opinions in the field of labour law and one reasoned opinion in the field of audiovisual services to Liechtenstein

18.12.2003

The EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered today two reasoned opinions to Liechtenstein in the field of labour law, owing to that country’s failure to ensure compliance with the Working Time Directive (93/104/EC) and the Protection of Young People at Work Directive (94/33/EC).

The Working Time Directive lays down minimum safety and health requirements for the organization of working time with a view to improving the working conditions of workers in the EEA. The Directive includes provisions concerning, inter alia, daily rest, breaks, weekly rest period, maximum weekly working time, annual leave and night work. It provides, for instance, that the average working time for each seven day period, including overtime, shall not exceed 48 hours and that every worker is entitled to a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours per 24-hour period.

The purpose of the Protection of Young People at Work Directive is to ensure that EEA States take the necessary measures to prohibit work by children and ensure that the minimum age for working is not lower than the minimum age at which compulsory full-time schooling as imposed by national law ends, or 15 years in any event. Derogations from the prohibition on child labour may be admitted only in special cases and under the conditions stipulated in the Directive. Furthermore, the Directive requires the EEA States to ensure that work by adolescents is strictly regulated and young people have working conditions that suit their age.

Both Directives lay down minimum requirements, thus allowing the EEA States to introduce laws, regulations or administrative provisions that establish a level of protection higher than that laid down in the Directive.

Liechtenstein has notified national measures that it considered necessary to ensure full implementation of both the Directives. The Authority, however, having examined the national measures thus notified, concluded that they did not ensure full compliance with the two Directives.

A third reasoned opinion was delivered to Liechtenstein due to its failure to ensure full compliance with the Television without Frontiers Directive (89/552/EEC as amended by Directive 97/36/EC). The Television without Frontiers Directive aims at ensuring freedom of reception of television signals, and preventing restrictions on retransmissions of television broadcasts between EEA States.

It follows from the EEA law that Liechtenstein is under the obligation to ensure full compliance with this Directive regardless of whether it has any television broadcasters operating on its territory. Furthermore, a number of the provisions of the Directive are relevant for the operation of cable networks.  Such networks exist in Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein has notified the original Directive as fully implemented and the amending Directive as partially implemented. The Authority has concluded that implementation by Liechtenstein of a number of the provisions of the two Directives is either missing or incomplete.

The purpose of a reasoned opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. In these cases the Authority requests that the Liechtenstein Government takes the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinions within three months.

For further information, please contact Mr. Tor Arne Solberg-Johansen, Press and information officer, on telephone (+32)(0)2 286 18 66.

18 December 2003




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