A reserved Mr. Støre in Brussels
Monday 23rd of May 2011 could have been a historic day if this was the day Norway after 17 years of EEA membership used the agreements right to reserve is self from implementing a EU directive.
The question at hand is whether Norway will implement EUs third postal directive or not. As members of the European Economic Agreement (EEA) Norway is obligated to implement EU directives that is EEA relevant. But there is a clause in the agreement that gives Norway the possibility to reserve it self from implementing a directive. This right has never been used before by the 3 EEA countries. But this was all about to change when the Norwegian foreign minister this week was on a mission to Brussels to tell the EEA-Council that Norway will use it right to reserve it self from implementing EUs third postal directive.
This didn’t happen because the Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre is a man of dialogue. Instead he accepted the EU invitation to discuss the issue further. In it self this wasn’t very surprising either since the EEA agreement article 102-3 states that the parties of the agreement will seek to find common solutions in areas that is relevant for the EEA. The first discussion will find place in June. Norway is putting three demands on the table. Norway want distribution of mail six days a week, a universal postage fee and working conditions equal to that of Posten Norway, the state owned company.
How long this process will take no one knows as long as the process is left out side the EEA committee. Its when the question is raised in the committee that the clock starts running. The committee will then have six months to find a solution before Norway uses it right to reserve it self from implementing the EU directive. If the committee doesn’t find a solution within the timeframe the EU can signal countermeasures and in fact set a side parts of the EEA for a time period of six months. During this time period Norway can decide whether it still wants to use the right to reserve it self.
During the same meeting Gahr Støre also raised Norway’s concerns about the deposit guarantee schemes. The EU solution has so far set a level of guarantee to 100 000 Euro. Meanwhile Norway has a level of guarantee close to 250 000 Euro. Both the Norwegian finance and foreign minister have talked to several EU officials trying to explain why this is important to Norway.
Maybe we are more concerned about our savings in Norway or do we have to much money? Who knows!
If you thought the question of Norway reserving it self from EUs third postal directive was a big issue outside of Norway you might want to read the EU conclusions from the EEA meeting where the issue is not addressed at all. Read the conclusions here.
Published: 31.05.2011 Updated: 31.05.2011
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