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State Aid

State Aid: Norway must change the financing of safety training courses by county schools

26.6.2013

PR(13)57

The Norwegian authorities must take appropriate measures in order to bring the financing of safety training courses by county schools in line with the state aid provisions of the EEA Agreement. This is proposed by the EFTA Surveillance Authority in a decision adopted today.

In Norway, some county schools offer maritime- and offshore-related education as part of their vocational programme in upper secondary school. One of the courses proposed in those programmes is safety and emergency training. The provision of these safety training courses to students forms part of the schools' publicly-financed educational activities. Today's decision only concerns those county schools that additionally provide safety and emergency training courses on the market, for example to employees of the oil and maritime industries.

The schools in question are entitled to state funding to fulfil their national education obligation. The Authority has concluded that the current system of financing does not prevent the use of state resources in the schools' commercial activities.

To remedy this for the future, the Authority has proposed that:

  • County schools should be required to incorporate their commercial activities into separate legal entities that pay market prices for the use of the publicly financed school infrastructure and work force.
  • Alternatively, the Norwegian authorities must require the county schools to keep separate accounts distinguishing between their publicly financed education activities and their commercial activities. The schools must also ensure that the commercial activities carry a proportionate share of common costs.

The Norwegian authorities have until 26 July 2013 to decide whether to accept the measures proposed by the Authority.

A non-confidential version of today's Decision will be published in the register of state aid decisions on the Authority's website, normally within a month.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Per Andreas Bjørgan
Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate
(+32) 2 286 18 36




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