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State Aid

PR(10)18: New guidelines on regional aid to large investment projects


The Authority has adopted a new Chapter in the State Aid Guidelines setting out criteria for the in-depth assessment of regional aid to large investment projects. The new Chapter outlines the kind of information required by the Authority for its detailed assessment, which is based on the balancing of the positive and negative effects of the aid. The new Chapter is in line with the European Commission's economic-based approach to analysing state aid, based on the principles set out in the Commission's 2005 State Aid Action Plan.

The adoption of the new Chapter is a useful and practical step to help public authorities and companies to understand how best to present regional aid projects involving large investments with a view to faster and better decisions.

The Regional Aid Guidelines 2007-13 foresee that large investment projects above certain thresholds need to be individually notified to the Authority because they may carry a greater risk of distorting competition.

For projects where the aid beneficiary has a market share of more than 25% or the production capacity created by the project exceeds 5% of the market, the Authority is obliged to open a formal investigation procedure. Regional aid to such large investments entails a higher risk of distorting competition. The new Chapter is a further guidance on how the Authority will carry out this in-depth assessment.

The new Chapter is based on the principles of the European Commission's State Aid Action Plan, in particular the balancing test that weighs the positive effects brought about by the aid against the negative impact of a potential distortion of competition which the aid might entail. The EFTA States should therefore provide information on the positive effect of the aid as well as its appropriateness, proportionality and incentive effect. The Authority will base its overall evaluation of the aid on these criteria.

The full text of the Guidelines is available at:


For further information, please contact:

Mrs. Sif Konradsd├│ttir
Competition and State Aid Directorate
Tel.: (+32)(0)2 286 18 55


Brussels, 24.03.2010

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