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State Aid

State Aid Scoreboard: Slight reduction of state aid expenditure in Norway and increase in Iceland and Liechtenstein



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In 2014, state aid expenditure increased in Iceland and Liechtenstein, while Norway slightly reduced its spending. On the whole, aid spending continued to decrease. 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 2015 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 2015. 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 yet to be approved by ESA are not included.

The majority of the EFTA States' aid expenditures focuses on horizontal objectives, that is, aid with a broad scope, such as promoting R&D&I, environmental protection, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as employment and training. Sector-specific aid (which targets one or more specific industrial sectors, e.g. the maritime sector or the aviation industry) has largely been phased out. This provides an opportunity for the EFTA States to adjust their aid schemes to increase the portion of cases that fit under the new General Block Exemption Regulation.

Iceland increased its state aid expenditure in 2014, mainly due to an increase in aid for research, development and innovation and aid for cultural objectives. Aid for research, development and innovation accounted for the highest proportion of aid granted by Iceland in 2014. Iceland approved one block-exempted scheme under the revised GBER in 2014. A comparison with other EEA countries shows that Iceland's aid expenditure relative to GDP remained low and well below the EU28. Iceland did not grant any aid related to the 2008 financial crisis in 2014. 

Norway reduced its overall state aid expenditure in 2014, mainly due to a reduction in aid for research, development and innovation and aid for regional development. This outweighed an increase in aid for environmental and energy-saving purposes. Aid to regional development and for environmental objectives, however, remained the largest categories of expenditure in Norway in 2014.

Norway's aid expenditure relative to GDP remained high, but only slightly above the EU28 level in 2014. Norway continued to increase its use of block exemptions, with block-exempted aid accounting for 29% of Norway's total state aid in 2014. 

Liechtenstein granted aid for cultural heritage preservation in 2014 and, for the first time, for environmental and energy-saving purposes as well. This resulted in a marked increase in state aid spending, compared to 2013. Liechtenstein's aid expenditure relative to GDP was still the lowest of all of the EEA States.

Total state aid granted by the EFTA States (millions of Euro, in constant 2014 prices)


EFTA STATE 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Iceland 760.89 2,022.15 119.97 32.74 36.87 44.10 51.07
Liechtenstein 1.11 1.19 1.33 1.47 1.49 1.48 2.33
Norway 2,062.15 2,384.99 2,578.02 2,931.09 3,303.45 3,007.89 2,894.06

Total state aid –

EFTA States

2,824.16 4,408.33 2,699.31 2,965.30 3,341.81 3,053.47 2,947.46
Iceland - crisis aid 746.36 1,998.82 96.03 4.54 0.00 0.00 0.00
Iceland - excl. crisis aid 14.53 23.33 23.94 28.20 36.87 44.10 51.07
Norway  - transport aid 542.44 490.91 249.90 204.22 406.33 326.26 282.46
Norway  -  excl. transport 1,519.71 1,894.08 2,328.12 2,726.87 2,897.12 2,681.63 2,611.59

See the full State Aid Scoreboard 2015 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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