Finn Arnesen, Halvard Haukeland Fredriksen, Preamble in:

Finn Arnesen, Halvard Haukeland Fredriksen, Hans Petter Graver, Ola Mestad, Christoph Vedder (Ed.)

Agreement on the European Economic Area, page 975 - 977

A Commentary

1. Edition 2018, ISBN print: 978-3-8487-3219-7, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-7579-6,

Series: Kooperationswerke Beck - Hart – Nomos

Bibliographic information
tasks, including tasks which leave ESA with considerable discretionary powers.11 One may only hope that the unprecedented attempt by the Norwegian government in 2016/2017 to limit the new term of the Norwegian judge of the EF- TA Court in order to adjust to Norwegian law on retirement age for judges will not change this. After all, swift reactions from academic observers, ESA, the Norwegian Judges Association and the Court of Appeal in Liechtenstein forced the Norwegian government to retreat, thus proving that the institutional structure of the EFTA-pillar is strong enough to defend the independence of the institutions.12 Preamble HAVING REGARD to the EEA Agreement; CONSIDERING that, in accordance with Article 108(1) of the EEA Agreement, the EF- TA States shall establish an independent surveillance authority (EFTA Surveillance Authority) as well as create procedures similar to those existing in the European Community including procedures for ensuring the fulfilment of the obligations under the EEA Agreement and for control of the legality of acts of the EFTA Surveillance Authority regarding competition; FURTHER CONSIDERING that, in accordance with Article 108(2) of the EEA Agreement, the EFTA States shall establish a court of justice of the EFTA States; RECALLING the objective of the Contracting Parties to the EEA Agreement, in full deference to the independence of the courts, to arrive at and maintain a uniform interpretation and application of the EEA Agreement and those provisions of the Community legislation which are substantially reproduced in that Agreement and to arrive at an equal treatment of individuals and economic operators as regards the four freedoms and the conditions of competition; REITERATING that the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the Commission of the European Communities shall cooperate, exchange information and consult each other on surveillance policy issues and individual cases; CONSIDERING that the preambles to acts adopted in application of the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community and the European Coal and Steel Community shall, in so far as those acts correspond to the provisions of Protocols 1 to 4 and to the provisions of the acts corresponding to those listed in Annexes I and II to this Agreement, be relevant to the extent necessary for the proper interpretation and application of the provisions of these Protocols and Annexes; WHEREAS in the application of Protocols 1 to 4 to this Agreement due account shall be paid to the legal and administrative practices of the Commission of the European Communities prior to the entry into force of this Agreement; HAVE DECIDED to conclude the following Agreement: The Preamble to the SCA consists of seven recitals. However, it is essentially only two of them – the sixth and the seventh – which include something not al- 11 See, e.g., the adaptations agreed to related to the incorporation into the EEA Agreement of the Third Energy Package; EEA Joint Committee Decision 93/2017. 12 For the details as to this highly unfortunate affair, see Order of the President of 20.2.2017 in Case E-21/16 Pascal Nobile. Preamble Arnesen/Fredriksen 975 1 ready expressed in the EEA Agreement as such. The first three recitals simply refer to the EEA Agreement and the EFTA States’ obligation in Art. 108 thereof to establish an independent surveillance authority and their own court of justice. The fourth recital reproduces verbatim the wording of the fifteenth recital to the preamble of the EEA Agreement on the homogeneity objective1 whereas the fifth recital reiterates the need for cooperation between ESA and the European Commission already established through, inter alia, Art. 109 EEA.2 The references to homogeneity and cross-pillar cooperation are of course completely unproblematic, but nonetheless a bit odd given the fact that the EU is not a contracting party to the SCA. The EFTA States can instruct the EFTA Court to take ECJ case-law into account and ESA to cooperate with the Commission, but not vice versa. This is presumably also the reason why neither the fourth nor the fifth recital to the SCA preamble appears ever to have been cited by the EFTA Court. The sixth recital of the preamble reproduces the rule of interpretation found in Protocol 1 of the EEA Agreement, but extends its scope of application to the interpretation of Protocols 1 to 4 and Annexes I and II to the SCA: The preambles of EU legal acts are relevant for the interpretation of corresponding provisions found in the said protocols and annexes ‘to the extent necessary for the proper interpretation and application of the provisions of these Protocols and Annexes’. Protocols 1 to 4 and Annexes I and II are the parts of the SCA where rules on the functions and powers of ESA corresponding to those found in various EU legal acts concerning the functions and powers of the European Commission are to be found.3 The same demarcation is found in Art. 3 SCA. However, neither the sixth recital of the preamble nor Art. 3 SCA should be interpreted a contrario to the effect that the principle of homogeneity only applies to Protocols 1 to 4 and Annexes I and II. Rather, what the EFTA Court has coined ‘the procedural branch’ of the principle of homogeneity suggests that procedural law of the EU-pillar is of general interest for the interpretation and application of the SCA.4 The seventh recital obliges ESA to pay due account to the legal and administrative practices of the Commission in the application of Protocols 1 to 4 SCA. For reasons of the sovereignty of the EFTA States and ESA’s independence from the Commission, however, this obligation is limited to practices known at the time of the entry into force of the SCA (1 January 1994).5 Still, it follows from the homogeneity objective and the obligation on ESA to cooperate closely with the Commission that also the latter’s later practice is highly rele- 1 See the comments by Arnesen and Fredriksen on the Preamble to the EEA Agreement, mn. 15 to 24 and 38 to 41. 2 See the comments by Tynes on Art. 109 EEA, mn. 21 to 31. 3 See further the comments by Poulsen on Art. 42 SCA, mn. 1 to 7. 4 See further the comments by Wennerås on Art. 3 SCA, mn. 58 to 61. 5 Cf. also Art. 6 EEA and Art. 3(1) SCA, but note that the cut-off date in these provisions is the date of signature of the EEA Agreement (2 May 1992). PART III: The Agreement on ESA and EFTA Court 976 Arnesen/Fredriksen 2 3 vant. Thus, the temporal limit of the seventh recital of the preamble to the SCA is just as obsolete as the similar limitations found in Art. 6 EEA and Art. 3(1) SCA. Part I: General rules Article 1 [Definitions] For the purposes of this Agreement: (a) the term 'EEA Agreement' means the main part of the EEA Agreement, its Protocols and Annexes as well as the acts referred to therein; (b) the term 'EFTA States' means the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway and, under the conditions laid down by Article 1(2) of the Protocol Adjusting the Agreement between the EFTA States on the Establishment of a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice, the Principality of Liechtenstein. I. The SCA and the EEA Agreement Art. 1 litra a establishes that the term ‘EEA Agreement’ as used in the SCA refers not only to the Main Part of that agreement, i.e. the Preamble and Arts. 1 to 129 EEA, but also to its Protocols and Annexes, as well as the acts referred to therein. Thus, Art. 1 litra a SCA simply duplicates the definition found in Art. 2 litra a EEA.1 The importance of Art. 1 litra a SCA primarily lies in the fact that the SCA itself is not part of the EEA Agreement. This is reflected in the powers of ESA and the jurisdiction of the EFTA Court: Both institutions can only deal with matters related to the SCA to the extent that the provisions of the SCA itself allows for this. By way of an example, Art. 31 SCA vests ESA with competence to bring infringement proceedings in case of alleged breaches of the Surveillance and Court Agreement as well as of the EEA Agreement, whereas Art. 34 SCA limits the jurisdiction of the EFTA Court to give Advisory Opinions on the interpretation of ‘the EEA Agreement’.2 As noted in the comments to Art. 2 EEA, the acts referred to in the annexes to the EEA Agreement are secondary EU legislation and other acts adopted pursuant to the EU-treaties for the purposes of these treaties, adjusted to the EEA Agreement. While the acts referred to in the Annexes originate in the EU-pillar, the Protocols are tailor made for the EEA and cover a wide range of topics. The Protocols of the EEA Agreement of special importance in relation to the SCA are Protocol 21 on the implementation of competition rules relating to 1 See the comments by Arnesen and Fredriksen on Art. 2 EEA, mn. 1 to 8. 2 Still, the EFTA Court is obviously competent to rule on matters concerning the Court’s own jurisdiction under Art. 34 SCA, see further the comments by Christiansen on this provision, mn. 4 to 8. Article 1 Definitions Arnesen/Fredriksen 977 1 2 3 4

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The provisions of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) determine the relations of the EFTA States Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein with the EU and its Member States. On the basis of EEA, these three countries are largely integrated into the single market of the EU. The EEA is also discussed as a possible model for the EU and UK relations after the Brexit.

Article by article, the new commentary outlines the importance of the EEA for legal practice, including all extensive annexes and protocols. There is also included both the essential secondary law of EEA and cross-links to EU law. Moreover, the commentary involves the current status of EEA law in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, taking legislation and jurisprudence into account.

The commentary focuses on the EEA rules on free movement of goods, movement of persons, services, capital, transport policy and competition law. In addition, the commentary intensively discusses the responsibilities and procedures of both the European Surveillance Authority and EFTA Court and the complementary agreement between Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Most helpful

The commentary offers a detailed overview

on the effects of EEA law in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

on the status and effects of EEA law in the EU

on the specific situation of Switzerland

on the international agreements accompanying the EEA, giving a full picture of the legal relations within the EEA

on today's legal reality and changed legal environment through the Treaty of Lisbon and other EU agreements.

The editors and authors represent the international approach and professional expertise of the commentary. They are international experts in the field of science and practice, especially in dealing with EEA law.


Die Regelungen des Abkommens über den Europäischen Wirtschaftsraum (EWR)

bestimmen die Beziehungen der EFTA-Staaten Norwegen, Island und Liechtenstein mit der EU und ihren Mitgliedstaaten. Auf seiner Grundlage nehmen diese drei Staaten weitgehend am Binnenmarkt teil. Der EWR wird auch als mögliches Modell für die Beziehungen der EU und des Vereinigten Königreiches nach dem Brexit diskutiert.

Der neue Kommentar

lotet Artikel für Artikel die Bedeutung des Abkommens für die juristische Praxis aus. Dabei werden die umfangreichen Anhänge und Protokolle zum Abkommen mit einbezogen, das wesentliche sekundäre EWR-Recht erschlossen und Querverbindungen zum EU-Recht hergestellt. Der aktuelle Stand des EWR-Rechts in Norwegen, Island und Liechtenstein wird anhand von Gesetzgebung und Rechtsprechung resümiert.

Der Schwerpunkt der Darstellungen

liegt in der Kommentierung der EWR-Regelungen zur Warenverkehrsfreiheit, zum Personen-, Dienstleistungs-, und Kapitalverkehr, zur Verkehrspolitik und zum Wettbewerbsrecht. Die Aufgaben und Verfahren der beiden zur Überwachung und zur Streitschlichtung eingesetzten EWR-Organe European Surveillance Authority und EFTA-Court werden durch die Kommentierung der EWR-Vorschiften und des ergänzenden, zwischen Norwegen, Island und Liechtenstein geschlossenen Abkommens erklärt.

Besonders hilfreich

Das Werk bietet

einen umfassenden Überblick über die besondere Lage der Schweiz

jeweils übergreifende Darstellungen zu den Wirkungen des EWR-Rechts in Norwegen, Island und Liechtenstein sowie zu den Wirkungen des EWR-Rechts in der EU

wichtige Hinweise auf die den EWR begleitenden internationalen Abkommen

eine umfassende Analyse des veränderten rechtlichen Umfelds, u.a. durch den Vertrag von Lissabon und andere europäische Verträge

Nahe an der Beratungswirklichkeit

erscheint der Kommentar in englischer Sprache und erschließt das wenig bekannte EWR-Recht vollständig.

Die Herausgeber und Autoren

sind in Wissenschaft und Praxis, gerade im Umgang mit dem EWR-Recht, ausgewiesene Europa- bzw. EWR-Rechtler der drei EWR-Staaten und Deutschlands und stehen für den internationalen Zuschnitt und die fachliche Fundiertheit des Werkes.