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PR(00)13: The EFTA Surveillance Authority has decided to open formal investigation procedure with regard to regional aid in Iceland

13.9.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority decided yesterday to open an investigation with regard to regional aid in Iceland.

According to State aid Guidelines which the Icelandic authorities have accepted, a map  of  areas eligible for regional aid as from 1 January 2000, should have been notified to the Authority by 1 May 1999. A  formal notification has still not been received. The Authority has on several occasions reminded the Icelandic authorities of their notification obligation and warned that the Authority would be obliged to open the investigation procedure if the Icelandic authorities failed to fulfill their obligations.

While the Authority has not received any notification, it has observed that new legislation has been implemented concerning the Institute of Regional Development in Iceland.

As no aid map has been notified to, and approved by the Authority, any regional aid granted in Iceland after 1 January 2000 is unlawful.

The Authority’s decision requests the Icelandic authorities to refrain from applying regional aid and to submit full details on the application of regional aid in Iceland and any other information relevant to the assessment of the case, within 20 working days. The Icelandic authorities are also reminded that the Authority can order Iceland to recover any monies which have been disbursed in infringement of the State aid rules. Any failure on the part of the Icelandic authorities to suspend aid payments may oblige the Authority to bring the matter directly before the EFTA Court.

Other EFTA States, EC Member States, and interested parties are informed by the publishing of the main part of the decision in the EEA Section of the Official Journal of the European Communities and the EEA Supplement thereto, inviting them to submit comments within one month from the date of the publication.

For further information please contact Mr. Amund Utne (Tel. (+32) 22 86 18 50) or Mr. Rolf Egil Tønnessen (Tel. (+32) 22 86 18 56).

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