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PR(95)03: Surveillance Authority investigates planned tax exemption for glass packaging in Norway


The EFFA Surveillance Authority has decided to open an investigation procedure with regard to Norwegian plans for state aid to PLM Moss Glassverk A/S in the form of an exemption for glass packaging from the basic tax ("grunnavgiften") on non‑reusable beverage packaging. The estimated financial advantage of the tax exemption to PLM Moss Glassverk is NOK 13 million per annum.

Although the planned tax exemption notified to the Authority by the Norwegian Government will apply to domestically produced as well as imported glass containers, the primary objective of the aid is to ensure continued production at PLM Moss Glassverk. The owner of this company (PLM Group of Sweden) had initially decided to close down production in Norway due to non‑profitability.

PLM Moss Glassverk is the only Norwegian producer of glass packaging and the main user of glass waste collected and processed for recycling. The Norwegian Government emphasised that alternatives for processed waste were very limited and that the Norwegian glass recycling system would be seriously threatened if PLM Moss Glassverk were to be closed down.

However, as the company is facing competition within the EEA from close substitutes for glass packaging (e.g. PET-bottles), the Authority came to the conclusion that the aid threatens to distort competition and to affect trade within the EEA. It therefore considers that the proposed measure constitutes aid prohibited under Article 61 of the EEA Agreement, unless it can be justified under its exemption clauses. Such measures must not conflict with other provisions of the EEA Agreement, and in particular those relating to the free movement of goods.

As it cannot at present be established that the aid proposed by the Norwegian authorities would be compatible with these provisions, the Authority is obliged to initiate the investigation procedure provided for in the Surveillance and Court Agreement in respect of the scheme in question. Norway must not put its proposed measure into effect until this procedure has resulted in a final decision.

The Norwegian government was invited to submit its comments within a period of one month. Other EFTA States, EU States, the European Commission and interested parties will be informed by the publication of a notice 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 publication.

For further information please contact Jorma Pililatie (State Aid Directorate) on tel. 2266850 or Gudlaugur Stefansson on tel. 2266854.


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