Norwayʼs obligations under the EU Citizenship Directive (2016)

Norway's first legal study on Norway's obligations under the Citizenship Directive 2004/38/EC and the EEA Agreement.


Legal study on Norwayʼs obligations under the EU Citizenship Directive 2004/38/EC (pdf, 3,8 MB)

About the study

This is a legal study commissioned by UDI of the Citizenship Directive 2004/38/EC in the EU and in the EEA legal orders. In addition to providing a general analysis of the provisions of the directive the study includes the particular EEA dimension. When the Citizenship Directive was incorporated into the EEA Agreement, the contracting parties reserved themselves specifically against Union citizenship and immigration policy not being part of the EEA Agreement.

The study discusses case law from the EEA Courts with a view to explore the possibility of ‘more room for manoeuvre’ for Norway as an EFTA state in the context of the Citizenship Directive as incorporated in the EEA Agreement. The question initially asked by UDI concerned possible consequences of the EEA Agreement lacking the Union citizenship provisions as enshrined in Articles 20–25 TFEU. The starting point for the analysis is decision No 158/2007 by the EEA Committee regarding the incorporation of the Citizens Directive in the EEA Agreement and in particular the Joint Declaration stating essentially that Union citizenship and immigration law are not part of the EEA Agreement.

Briefly on the contents of the report

In essence, it has not been possible to identify in existing case law grounds for more ‘room for manoeuvre’ regarding the interpretation and application of the Citizenship Directive as incorporated in the EEA Agreement. On the contrary, there is support for an interpretation of the directive that ensures the same right of freedom of movement for EU member state and EFTA state nationals under the EEA Agreement as for Union citizens in the territory of the EU. This observation is limited to free movement rights and is based on an analysis of existing legal sources in particular the case law from the EEA Courts. The study also includes a discussion of possible future diverging interpretation of the directive not maintaining substantive parity in the EU and the EEA legal orders.

The study examines the stateʼs specific obligations under the Citizenship Directive. Norwegian immigration law relating to nationals of EEA/EFTA states is presented separately. Further, the study analyses how the directive is implemented in five selected EU member states: Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and in one EFTA State, Iceland. In addition to separate country studies a comparative chapter is included.

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