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State Aid

State aid scoreboard: Different exposure to financial crisis




Iceland increased state aid in an effort to save its banks, while Norway's and Liechtenstein's state aid expenses remained unaffected by the financial crisis.

These are among the main findings in the Authority's State Aid Scoreboard for 2010, which was published today.

The scoreboard is a benchmarking tool for measuring state aid approved by the Authority to commercial undertakings. The aim of the state aid rules is to reduce the use of such aid and make it better targeted.

The scoreboard shows that the total amount of aid granted by the three EFTA states remained fairly constant, in current prices, at approximately 2.9 billion EUR. It also confirms that while Norway and Liechtenstein were not much affected by the financial crisis, Iceland increased its aid expenditure substantially, Ms Oda Helen Sletnes, President of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, said.

State aid expenditure in Iceland almost tripled from 25 million EUR in 2009 to 72 million EUR in 2010. This increase results from Iceland granting 49 million EUR in financial crisis aid for its savings banks. These figures do not include aid for the three main Icelandic banks, which is still subject to formal investigation. Without crisis aid, Iceland would be one of the States in the EEA with the lowest aid level compared to its GDP (only 0.25% as compared to the EU-27-average of 0.60%). However, Iceland spent a relatively large share of this aid as sectoral aid to two state owned energy companies (29%).

As for Norway, state aid expenditure remained on a fairly high level with a slight increase from 2,842 million EUR in 2009 to 2,848 million EUR in 2010. Compared to other states in the EEA, Norway ranks amongst the countries with the higher aid levels in terms of their GDP (0.91%). Norway granted the vast majority of its aid to horizontal objectives, such as regional development, environmental protection or research, development and innovation (96%). Although Norway established a scheme for the recapitalisation of fundamentally sound banks in 2009 in response to the financial crisis, no aid was granted under this program in 2010.

Liechtenstein spent only a very limited amount of state aid under a scheme for cultural and heritage conservation. No aid was granted in the context of the financial crisis. In the EEA Liechtenstein is the country with the lowest amount of state aid compared to its GDP (0.04%).

“The reform of State aid rules in the recent years has aimed to reduce aid which is limited to specific sectors. I am therefore pleased to see that most of the aid in the EEA EFTA States was granted for horizontal objectives,” Ms Sletnes said.

See the full State Aid Scoreboard here.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Trygve Mellvang-Berg,
Press and Information Officer
tel. (+32) (0) 2 286 18 66
mob. (+32) (0) 492 900 187


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