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State Aid

State Aid: Exemption rule in Norwegian regional aid scheme to be re-assessed




Following a judgment of the EFTA Court, the EFTA Surveillance Authority decided today to open a formal investigation into an exemption rule in Norway's scheme on differentiated social security contributions. The rule in question concerns ambulant services only. Apart from that rule, today's decision has no bearing on the scheme as such.

The system of differentiated social security contributions aims to reduce or prevent depopulation in the least inhabited regions in Norway. In certain remote areas, employers are granted a reduction in the rate used for calculating their compulsory contribution to the national social security scheme.

In general, businesses are entitled to this reduction only if they are registered in one of those areas. However, under an exemption rule, also businesses registered outside those areas have been granted a reduced rate when their employees carry out work in an eligible area. It is this rule for ambulant services that is the subject of the Authority's formal investigation.

Norway's system of regionally differentiated social security contributions was approved by the Authority in June 2014. In September 2015, the EFTA Court partly annulled this approval, insofar as the exemption rule for ambulant services is concerned. As a consequence, the Authority has decided to conduct a formal investigation into this rule.

The decision to open the formal investigation is without prejudice to the final decision of the Authority. By a letter of 15 October 2015, the Authority had already asked the Norwegian authorities to suspend the application of the exemption rule. The Authority will now call for comments from the Norwegian authorities and third parties with an interest in the case.



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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