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State Aid

The EFTA States increase state aid spending for environmental objectives



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Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway continue using state aid to support objectives such as research, development and innovation as well as environmental projects. All three increased their spending and together used EUR 3.3 billion in state aid in 2017.

This is the conclusion of the EFTA Surveillance Authority's (ESA) State Aid Scoreboard, published today. The Scoreboard comprises aid expenditure in the three EFTA States up until 1 January 2018.

  • Iceland reported spending of EUR 92 million in state aid mostly for research, development and innovation objectives. Direct grants are the main aid instrument in Iceland.
  • Liechtenstein saw an increase in aid, using EUR 5.22 million, which is almost a threefold nominal increase mostly for environmental objectives. Liechtenstein's aid expenditure remains the lowest in the EEA.
  • Norway continues to spend most on state aid out of the three EFTA states, or a total of 3.2 billion Euros. Norway granted most of its aid to environmental objectives, which accounted for 39 percent of all aid in Norway in 2017. Tax concessions were the main aid instrument used by Norway, representing more than 74 percent of all aid expenditure.

One of the biggest changes reflected in the scoreboard is that all three EFTA states are now using a simplified way of granting aid, the General Block Exemption Regulation.

“The new scoreboard confirms that the steps that have been taken to modernise state aid control are working. The states are now able to implement the vast majority of new measures without having to notify and wait for ESA's approval. Everyone benefits from this shift and simplification” says ESA's president, Bente Angell-Hansen.

Find the Scoreboard here.


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 EEA Agreement prohibits state aid in order to ensure a level playing field for companies across Europe, and to prevent protectionism. Exemptions can be made for purposes such as environmental protection, regional support and research, innovation and development. To a large extent, such aid may be granted without prior approval from ESA under the General Block Exemption Regulation. If a measure is not covered by a block exemption, the EFTA States must notify the aid to ESA before granting it. State aid received in breach of the rules must be paid back with interest.

 For further information, please contact:

Ásta Sigrún Magnúsdóttir
Communications officer
tel. +32 2 286 18 78
mob. +32 490 57 63 59

Other EEA Institutions

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