ESA opens formal case against Norway after social security scandal

NAVPhoto: Morten Holm / Scanpix
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The supervisory body ESA (European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority) believes that Norway has not respected the EEA rules in the Social Security Ordinance and the right to free movement. It has initiated a formal case against Norway.

The case concerns Norway’s requirement for people to stay in the country in order to receive certain social security benefits, such as sickness benefits. 

In October last year, Norway admitted to having used the EEA rules incorrectly by restricting the free movement of recipients of three types of sickness benefits, ESA wrote on Wednesday.

Wants dialogue

The Authority has sent a formal letter, which is the first step in a case of breach of treaty. 

The Norwegian authorities have two months to present their views before ESA decides whether to proceed.

“This is the beginning of a formal process. We want to have a constructive dialogue and find a solution that is compatible with the EEA agreement,” ESA President Bente Angell-Hansen said.

Cases resumed

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s (NAV) wrong practice led to at least 86 people being convicted of social security fraud. 

In addition, several thousand people have erroneously received demands for repayment from NAV, and their social security applications were rejected.

Last month, Rett24 wrote that the EU Commission believes that Norway mishandled the NAV cases ever since the EEA agreement entered into force in 1994. 

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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