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State Aid

State Aid: New guidelines for regional aid

23.10.2013

PR(13)79

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today adopted new guidelines on national regional aid, corresponding to similar guidelines adopted by the European Commission [1].

«I am pleased that we now have new guidelines in place for the approval of state aid for regional development for the period 2014–2020. On this basis, Norwegian and Icelandic support schemes can be notified to the Authority where they will be assessed accordingly.» said President of the Authority, Oda Helen Sletnes.

The purpose of regional state aid is to support economic development and employment in less advantaged regions. The guidelines set out the rules under which the states can grant state aid to support investments in new employment opportunities and development in regions threatened by depopulation.

The Authority shall also assess regional aid maps drawn up by the EFTA States, designating the geographical areas where companies can receive regional state aid, and according to which intensities.

For regional investment aid, the guidelines provide that aid may be granted to firms in regions representing up to a maximum of 25.51% of the population in Norway and 36.6% of the population in Iceland.

Other key features of the new guidelines:

  • The possibility to grant operating aid in very sparsely-populated areas is maintained.
  • A stricter approach for regional aid to large undertakings has been adopted. This is due to evidence which shows that large companies' decisions to invest in a given region are prompted by other factors than state aid. Yet, regional aid may be granted to large undertakings for initial investments that create new economic activities, or for the diversification of existing establishments into new products or new process innovations.
  • To promote transparency and accountability, the EFTA States will have to publish on the internet how much regional aid they grant and to whom.

The new regional aid guidelines are part of a broader strategy to modernise state aid control. They will apply from 1 July 2014 until 31 December 2020.

The current guidelines, which expire at the end of 2013, will be extended until 30 June 2014. Schemes approved on the basis of the current guidelines also expire at the end of 2013. Any prolongation of such schemes must be notified to the Authority in due time.

 

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66

mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187





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