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PR(06)04: The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves amendments to Norwegian transport aid scheme

8.2.2006

The EFTA Surveillance Authority today approved certain amendments to the Norwegian national direct transport aid scheme. The aim of the scheme is to offset competitive disadvantages resulting from extra transport costs for firms located in peripheral areas and within sparsely populated regions and thus situated long distances away from their markets. The Authority concluded that the amendments comply with the Authority’s Guidelines on Regional Aid.

The Norwegian authorities notified three amendments to the scheme in December 2005 and January 2006. Firstly, the cumulation rules of the scheme will be adjusted in order to allow undertakings to receive aid both under the national direct transport aid scheme and the regional direct transport aid scheme within the same calendar year. Thus, on top of the national transport aid, an undertaking might be eligible for aid under the regional direct transport aid scheme up to the maximum aid intensity under this scheme, which is 35% of the extra transport costs.

Secondly, the Norwegian authorities have proposed to implement the national direct transport aid scheme in four new municipalities in addition to the municipalities already covered by the scheme. The four municipalities, Stor-Elvdal in Hedmark county and Nord-Fron, Sør-Fron and Vang in Oppland county, are all within the scope of the regional aid map.

Thirdly, the Norwegian authorities have notified an increase of NOK 175 million (approximately Euro 22 million) in the budget of the national direct transport aid scheme. As the original scheme had a budgeting limit of NOK 200 million (approximately Euro 25 million), the total budget for the amended national direct transport aid scheme is NOK 375 million (approximately Euro 47 million) for 2005 and 2006.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Amund Utne
Director, Competition & State Aid
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 50

Ms. Marie Wiersholm
National Expert, Competition & State Aid
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 65

8 February 2006




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