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PR(94)03: Surveillance Authority decision on state aid guidelines

14.10.2002

In its first decision on State aid, the EFTA Surveillance Authority today adopted guidelines for the execution of its tasks in this field. These guidelines correspond to frameworks, communications, guidelines etc., presently applied in the European Union. For the sake of transparency, their content is now compiled in one single document.

The Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) prohibits States from aiding enterprises in a way that may distort competition in the EEA. In order to achieve this, the Authority will monitor the compliance of EFTA States with the State aid rules, whereas the Commission assures their application in the European Union Member States. To ensure homogeneity of State aid practices throughout the EEA area, the two bodies shall co‑operate closely and apply State aid rules in a uniform manner. The State aid guidelines now adopted by the Authority will provide a level playing field for all enterprises operating in the EEA market.

The guidelines include the procedures to be followed by the Authority when reviewing State aid schemes and handling individual cases. They also lay down substantive rules that the Authority will apply when dealing with regional aid and aid to specific industrial sectors such as textile and clothing, synthetic fibres, automobile and steel. The guidelines also include rules to be applied when aid is granted to small and medium‑sized enterprises, research and development, environmental protection and rescue and restructuring purposes. Finally, they establish rules for the Authority to apply when assessing guarantees given by an EFTA State or aid granted to public enterprises.

The present guidelines apply equally to the assessment of new aid plans and existing aid schemes in force in the EFTA States. The Authority has already requested the EFTA States to provide information on all existing State aid schemes in order to monitor their compliance with the new rules.

The guidelines will be published in all EEA languages in the EEA Section of and the EEA Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The document on State aid guidelines can be obtained from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (Ingrid Nimberger, Tel. 22 66 85 1). For further information please contact:

Klaus Pendl
Press and Information Officer
Tel. 22 66 882




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