Norway’s entry restrictions are in breach of EEA rules, ESA warns

Erna SolbergPhoto: Jil Yngland / NTB

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) believes that Norway’s current entry restrictions are in conflict with the EEA rules on the right to free movement.

The EEA Authority finds it strange that Norway refuses entry to many EEA citizens when almost everyone who arrives must be quarantined regardless.

“It is not clear why EEA citizens arriving in Norway for the first time, or those who are not residents, can’t do the same. There is no obvious basis for establishing that the latter group poses a greater risk to public health,” ESA wrote.

Today’s entry rules pose entry obstacles for, among others, tourists, business travelers, girlfriends and boyfriends, and distant family members, regardless of whether they are EU/EEA citizens or not.

Positive developments

Although Norway has recently eased its entry restrictions, the EEA Authority believes that this is not enough.

“We view the measures the Norwegian authorities have recently implemented, to adapt the entry restrictions to the legal requirements for proportionality and fairness that the EEA agreement entails, positively. We hope to see further progress in relation to the adopted measures,” ESA President Bente Angell-Hansen noted.

The right to free movement is a fundamental principle of EEA law. EEA countries have the right to limit it in the fight against the corona pandemic, but the restrictions must be necessary, consistent, and non-discriminatory.

The ESA’s formal letter is the first step in a treaty violation case against Norway. The Norwegian authorities have six weeks to present their views before the case is processed further.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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