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PR(94)28: Surveillance Authority authorises amendments to regional transport subsidies in Finland

15.10.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority today authorised an amendment of the regional transport subsidy in Finland and an amendment of the grant for transportation costs in Åland (Finland).

The objective of the regional transport subsidy scheme is to partially compensate for the additional cost of transport within Finland of goods manufactured in the areas eligible for regional aid when the transport begins from the place where the products are processed. The scheme is administered by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It applies to transport by rail and road as well as by ship. The subsidy is given in the form of a grant. The amount of aid is determined by the length of transport, the means of transportation used and the location of the place of processing of the goods to be transported.

The current maximum aid intensities are proposed to be lowered from their present level of 31 % to 12,4 % of eligible costs for firms not qualifying as SMEs. Therefore, the scope of aid shall be restricted as a result of the amendments. The prolongation of the period of validity of the scheme shall apply for 1995 and 1996.

In the Åland islands the objective of the transport aid is also to partially compensate for the additional cost of transport of goods manufactured in the Åland islands. The aid is given to transports of goods within the Åland islands and to transports to the mainland. The maximum amount of aid, which is lowered from the present rate of 40% to 23% of eligible costs, is determined by the length of transport and the means of transportation used. In Åland the prolongation of the period of validity of the scheme shall apply for 1994‑1996.

The criteria for regional transport aid were decided by the European Commission on 1 June 1994 and subsequently by the Surveillance Authority on 20 July 1994. The Authority states that by virtue of these criteria, the Finnish authorities have a transitional period until the end of 1996 to bring the schemes fully in line with the rules on regional aid. According to these criteria, any plans to amend existing schemes of assistance to transport should contain a limitation in time and should never be more favourable than existing schemes in the relevant EFTA State. As these conditions were satisfied in the present cases, the Authority decided to authorise the amendments under Article 6 1 (1)(c) of the EEA Agreement.

For further information please contact Maria Blässar (State Aid and Monopolies Directorate) on tel. 22 66 853.




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