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PR(03)16: EFTA Surveillance Authority does not raise objections to public funds allocated to the Norwegian Work Research Institute

17.7.2003

The EFTA Surveillance Authority decided on 16 July 2003 not to raise objections to the amendment to the existing aid scheme to the Norwegian Work Research Institute (WRI) (“Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet”).

WRI was originally established as a central administrative agency. As from 1 July 2002, the institute was reorganised as a state owned limited liability company. All the shares are held by the Norwegian State, represented by the Ministry of Labour and Government Administration.

WRI carries out fundamental research on a non-profit making basis, but it also carries out, on a commercial basis, industrial research projects commissioned by organizations, companies, government agencies and other public bodies. The funds transferred to WRI consist of three different allocations: core funding for the non-profit making part of the institute, an equity capital injection related to the reorganisation and, for the same purposes, an additional grant for reimbursement of establishment expenses. Means for the core funding are to be granted on an annual basis in the fiscal budgets. The budget for core funding in 2002 was NOK 11 million (approximately EUR 1.3 million).

The core funding is granted to the non-profit making part of WRI, and is therefore not considered to involve State aid. The grant of equity capital (NOK 4 million (approximately EUR 488.000)) and the additional grant for reimbursement of establishment expenses (NOK 4 million) are not funded on terms more favorable than a private investor would accord in a comparable situation, and do therefore not involve State aid.

Based on this, the Authority concludes that the reorganisation of and the transfer of public funds to WRI do not constitute State aid in the meaning of the EEA Agreement.

For further information, please contact Mr. Amund Utne on tel. +32 2 286 18 50, or Mr. Rolf Egil Tønnessen on tel. +32 2 286 18 56.

17 July 2003




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