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PR(04)24: Liechtenstein fails to put in place effective and dissuasive sanctions to discourage the illicit activities proscribed by the Conditional Access Directive


On 7 July 2004, the EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered a reasoned opinion to Liechtenstein due to that country’s failure to ensure full compliance with the Conditional Access Directive (98/84/EC).

The Conditional Access Directive aims to ensure the legal protection of conditional access systems for pay-TV in the European Economic Area. The Directive requires that EEA States take the measures necessary to prohibit, inter alia, the manufacture, sale, installation and marketing of equipment or software that provides access to pay-TV services without the authorisation of the service provider. The Directive also requires that the measures taken against such illegal activities be backed by effective and dissuasive sanctions. Liechtenstein has not yet taken the measures necessary to introduce such sanctions to discourage the illicit activities proscribed by the Directive. Liechtenstein was under an obligation to introduce the necessary sanctions in its national legal order by 1 October 2001.

The present reasoned opinion is the second that the Authority delivered to Liechtenstein for failing to implement the Conditional Access Directive. On 17 July 2003, the Authority sent a reasoned opinion regarding Liechtenstein’s failure in general to take any measures incorporating the Directive. Subsequently, on 5 February 2004, Liechtenstein notified partial compliance with the Directive. The conformity assessment conducted by the Authority revealed that, at least Article 5 of the Directive, providing for sanctions for the breach of the prohibited activities, had not been transposed. Effective and dissuasive sanctions are an indispensable element for the achievement of the aims that the Directive pursues.

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 the case at hand, the Authority requests that the Liechtenstein Government take the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.


For further information, please contact Mr. Niels Fenger, Director of Legal and Executive Affairs, on telephone (+32)(0)2 286 1830.


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