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State Aid

State Aid: Investigation opened into funding of Norwegian provider of digital learning material

27.3.2013

PR(13)26

Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority opened a formal investigation into potential aid to the Nasjonal digital læringsarena (NDLA).

NDLA is an inter-county cooperation body which develops and purchases digital learning material for Norwegian secondary schools on behalf of 18 county municipalities. The material is made available to Norwegian pupils on a designated website free of charge.

In 2010 the Authority received a complaint arguing that NDLA is an undertaking and that the funds attributed to it constitute illegal state aid. In October 2011 the Authority issued a decision in which it considered that NDLA was not an undertaking so that its financing did not constitute State aid within the definition of the EEA Agreement. In December 2012, the EFTA Court annulled the Authority's decision. The EFTA Court found that the Authority should have had doubts as to whether NDLA acts as an undertaking. In particular, the EFTA Court found that the Authority should investigate the change in the legal status of the NDLA between the project phase and the operational phase and the effects of these changes on the financing and the decision-making process.

In order to clarify whether the financing of NDLA constitutes state aid and, if so, whether it is compatible with state aid rules, the Authority has decided to initiate the formal investigation procedure.

The decision to open a formal investigation procedure is without prejudice to the final decision of the Authority.

The Authority will now call for further comments from the Norwegian authorities and third parties with an interest in the case. A non-confidential version of the Authority's Decision to open the formal investigation will shortly be published on the Authority's website and in the Official Journal of the European Union.

 

For further information, please contact:

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




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