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State Aid

State Aid Scoreboard: Slight reduction of state aid expenditure in the EFTA States



In 2013, all three EFTA States moderately reduced their state aid expenditure. On the whole, aid for regional development covered the largest proportion of total state aid, followed by aid for environment and energy saving purposes. Less than one percent of the aid was granted for sector-specific objectives.

These are among the main findings in the EFTA Surveillance Authority's State Aid Scoreboard for 2013 for the EEA EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The report was published today.

State aid is economic assistance provided by public bodies to commercial undertakings and can consist of support measures in numerous forms. The scoreboard, published annually, is a benchmarking tool for measuring trends in state aid expenditure by the EFTA States as well as across the EEA more generally.

The scoreboard published today comprises aid expenditure made by the EFTA States before 1 January 2014. The data is based on annual reports submitted to the Authority by the EFTA States. The scoreboard covers all existing aid measures approved by the Authority or pre-dating the entry into force of the EEA Agreement in 1994 as well as aid falling under the General Block Exemption Regulation, but measures under investigation are not included.

While revealing divergent patterns, a majority of the EFTA States' aid expenditures focuses on horizontal objectives. Sector-specific aid has largely been phased out. This provides an opportunity for the EFTA States to adjust their aid schemes in order that a growing portion can fit under the new General Block Exemption Regulation.

Iceland reduced its overall state aid expenditure mainly due to a large reduction in financial crisis aid. However, when financial crisis aid is excluded, Iceland increased its state aid expenditure, due to an increase in aid to research, development and innovation, and in aid for cultural objectives.

Excluding crisis aid, Iceland granted most of its aid for research, development and innovation. A comparison with the EU Member States shows that Iceland's aid expenditure relative to GDP remained low, and well below the EU average.

Norway reduced its overall state aid expenditure mainly due to a reduction in aid for environment and energy saving purposes, and in aid for regional development. This outweighed a slight increase in aid to research, development and innovation. Still, in 2013 Norway granted most of its aid to regional development and environmental objectives.

Until 2013, Norway was the only EFTA State granting aid under the block exemption regulation. Norway continued to increase its use of block exemptions, with block-exempted aid accounting for 21 percent of Norway's total state aid in 2013.

Norway's aid expenditure remained high compared to the EU Member States – well above the EU average.

Liechtenstein exclusively granted aid for cultural heritage preservation in 2013, with a small reduction from last year's spending. Liechtenstein's aid expenditure relative to GDP was the lowest of all of the EEA States.

State aid expenditure in the EFTA States. All amounts in million euros, in constant 2013 prices:

EFTA STATE 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Iceland 27.95 854.56 2,104.96 359.48 33.71 120.48 70.12
Liechtenstein 0.88 1.10 1.19 1.33 1.48 1.50 1.49
Norway 2,132.10 2,390.04 3,014.31 2,688.94 2,853.41 3,149.34 2,970.03

Total state aid –

EFTA States

2,160.93 3,245.70 5,120.46 3,049.75 2,888.60 3,271.32 3,041.65
Iceland - crisis aid - 834.18 2,078.11 332.60 4.58 84.22 27.71
Iceland - excl. crisis aid 27.95 20.38 26.85 26.88 29.13 36.25 42.41
Norway  - transport aid 597.08 554.93 488.57 228.11 234.35 401.99 401.16
Norway - excl. transport 1,535.02 1,835.11 2,525.74 2,460.83 2,619.06 2,747.35 2,568.87

See the full State Aid Scoreboard for 2013 here


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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