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State Aid

PR(07)18: Newly updated and user-friendly version of the State Aid Guidelines available

3.5.2007

Since the Agreement of the European Economic Area (EEA) entered into force on 1 January 1994, the EFTA Surveillance Authority has issued a series of guidelines for the assessment of different state aid measures. These guidelines, which are based on similar guidelines issued by the European Commission, indicate how the Authority will interpret and apply the State aid rules of the EEA Agreement.

The Authority has updated the so-called State Aid Guidelines to give them a more user friendly structure. Obsolete Chapters have been deleted and the annexes reorganised. A new structure has been given to the Chapters grouping them into seven Sections: procedural rules (including complaint forms); horizontal rules which covers aid to SMEs, regional aid or aid for research and development and innovation amongst others; sector specific rules such as aid to maritime transport; specific aid instruments like state guarantees or short-term export credit insurance; and the rules on state ownership of enterprises, aid to public enterprises and services of general economic interest. The last Section of the Guidelines contains provisions regarding in particular the reference and discount rates and interest rates to be applied for the recovery of unlawful aid.

The Authority has also adopted, today, a new Chapter to the State Aid Guidelines on the rules applicable to the assessment of unlawful state aid. Unlawful aid is any aid measure that was not notified to the Authority for its approval before it was granted to the beneficiary undertakings.

The new and more user-friendly version of the State Aid Guidelines will be available soon on the Authority's website: www.eftasurv.int. In order to facilitate access to the different Chapters of the Guidelines, the Authority will not only publish on its website a full version of the whole text of the State Aid Guidelines, but also each Chapter independently.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Amund Utne,Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate,
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 50; or

Ms. Maria Segura, Senior Officer, Competition and State Aid Directorate,
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 23.

3 May 2007




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