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PR(05)04: Iceland fails to notify draft technical regulations


The EFTA Surveillance Authority decided today to deliver a reasoned opinion to Iceland due to a failure to notify to the Authority several draft technical regulations. Iceland’s obligation to notify draft technical regulations stems from Article 8 of Directive 98/34/EC, which lays down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations as incorporated into the EEA Agreement.

The procedure laid down in the Act aims at providing transparency and control in order to diminish the risk of creating unjustified trade barriers by the enactment of technical regulations. The Act requires the EFTA States to communicate technical regulations to the Authority at a draft stage to allow the Authority to evaluate them prior to adoption. The EFTA States are obliged to postpone the adoption of these regulations for a period of three months subsequent to notifying the Authority.

In July 2004 the Authority issued a letter of formal notice concluding that Iceland had breached its notification obligation with respect to several national measures which had been adopted without being notified to the Authority. The national measures have been identified as technical regulations, and the Icelandic Government has accepted being in breach of its obligations under the EEA Agreement. The measures that remain to be notified are:

1.    Regulation no. 176/1999 on the production, import and wholesale of alcohol beverages (reglugerð um framleiðslu, innflutning og heildsölu áfengis í atvinnuskyni).

2.    Regulation no. 580/2001 on micro lights (reglugerð um fis).

3.    Regulation no. 398/1999 amending rules no. 592/1994 on the making and equipment of vessels no longer than 15 meters (reglur um breytingu á reglum nr. 592/1994 um smíði og búnað báta með mestu lengd allt að 15 metrum).

4.    Regulation no. 489/1999 amending rules no. 592/1994 on the making and equipment of vessels no longer than 15 meters (reglur um breytingu á reglum nr. 592/1994 um smíði og búnað báta með mestu lengd allt að 15 metrum).

5.    Regulation no. 891/1999 amending rules no. 189/1999 on rescuing- and safety equipment in Icelandic vessels (reglur um breytingu á reglum um björgunar- og öryggisbúnað íslenskra skipa nr. 189/1994).

6.    Regulation no. 368/2000 on collection, recycling of and deposit on disposable containers for beverages (reglugerð um söfnun, endurvinnslu og skilagjald á einnota umbúðir fyrir drykkjarvörur).

7.     Regulation no. 578/2000 on the imposition of a special tax on polluting substances (reglugerð um álagningu spilliefnagjalds).

8.     Regulation no. 123/1999 on lifeboats operated from shore (reglugerð um björgunarbáta sem gerðir eru   út frá landi).

9.     Regulation no. 278/2001 on the making and fitting of a device used for separating small fish (reglugerð um gerð og útbúnað smáfiskaskilju).

10.     Regulation no. 739/2001 on the making and fittings of a device used for separating small shrimps (reglugerð um um gerð og útbúnað smárækjuskilju).

The Authority has not yet received notifications from the Icelandic Government concerning all the above-mentioned technical regulations and decided therefore to deliver the reasoned opinion. The Authority notes that almost two years have elapsed since it initiated the case and the Government has conceded from the beginning that it is required to take corrective measures.  

A reasoned opinion is the second stage in the Authority’s formal infringement procedures against a Member State. The Government of Iceland is requested to take measures to comply with this reasoned opinion within two months.

For further information please contact Mr Niels Fenger, Director of Legal & Executive Affairs,   telephone (+32)(0)2 286 18 30 or Mr Ólafur Einarsson, Officer, Internal Market Affairs Directorate, telephone (+32)(0)2 286 18 73.

16 February 2005

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