E-17/17 EFTA Surveillance Authority v Iceland

EFTA-case

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Deadlines: Motivation departement:    20 March 2018
Written observations:                           7 May 2018 (ultimate deadline)

Keywords: failure to implement; free movement for workers

Subject:
-           EEA Agreement;
-           Agreement between the EFTA States on the Establishment of a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice (hereinafter: SCA);
-           Directive 2014/54/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers;

Facts of the case:

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (hereinafter: ESA) seeks a declaration from the Court that by failing to adopt the measures necessary to implement Directive 2014/54 (hereinafter: Act) as adapted to the Agreement by way of Protocol 1, and in any event by failing to notify ESA of the measures it has adopted to implement the Act, Iceland has failed to fulfil its obligations under the Act and under Article 7 of the Agreement.

On 08.09.2016, after correspondence, ESA issued a letter of formal notice in which it concluded that Iceland had failed to fulfil its obligations. On 09.11.2016, the Icelandic Government sent a reply to the letter of formal notice, informing ESA that it was “working on a bill […] to implement the aforementioned Directive into Icelandic law”. The letter further stated that the Icelandic Government was aiming to submit the bill to the parliament in spring 2017. On 18.01.2017, as Iceland had notified no implementation measures, ESA delivered a reasoned opinion in which it maintained the conclusion set out in its letter of formal notice. ESA required Iceland to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months following the notification; no later than 18.03.2017. The Icelandic Government replied to the reasoned opinion on 13.02.2017, stating that it aimed to submit the bill implementing the Act into Icelandic law to the Parliament before 01.04.2017. ESA received no further information on implementation until it received a Form 1, dated 30.11.2017. In the Form 1, the Icelandic Government indicated that it had fully implemented the Act into Icelandic law. Although a date for implementation was not indicated on the Form 1 (as it should have been), the Icelandic Government attached to the Form 1 a copy of what it stated was an implementing measure dated 30.10.2014: Act No. 105/2014. By email of 04.12.2017, ESA asked for an explanation of whether, in the light of the replies to the letter of formal notice and reasoned opinion, the notification of Act No. 105/2014 as an implementing measure was a mistake. Iceland replied by email of 07.12.2017, stating that in its view Act No. 105/2014 fully implements the Directive, and offered as an explanation for the previous line of replies that “it was thought more transparent to have a special clause in Act No. 105/2014 informing that the Act implements the Directive” and that this would be added by way of the bill proposed in April 2017. On 19.12.2017, having undertaken an assessment of whether the notified measures could be said to have implemented the Act, ESA decided to bring the matter before the Court pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 31 SCA.

ESA requests the Court to:

a. declare that by failing to adopt the measures necessary to implement the Act referred to at point 8 of Annex V to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (Directive 2014/54/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers), as adapted to the Agreement by way of Protocol 1, and in any event by failing to notify the EFTA Surveillance Authority of the measures it has adopted to implement that act, Iceland has failed to fulfil its obligations under that act and under Article 7 of the Agreement; and

b. order Iceland to bear the costs of these proceedings.

Cited (recent) case-law: /

Policy area: FIN