The EEA state aid rules and the role of ESA

ESA monitors state aid granted by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in order to facilitate fair and an open internal market in the European Economic Area. 

What is state aid?

IStock-524726526State aid is public support to commercial activities. It can take many forms, for example cash grants, tax breaks or favourable loans. As a rule, the EEA agreement prohibits state aid to prevent negative effects on trade, but exemptions are made for purposes such as environmental protection, regional support and research, innovation and development. The state aid rules in the EEA Agreement are broadly equivalent to the state aid rules that apply across the European Union.

The role of ESA

IStock_000068471937_Medium_Icelandic_NatureThe general prohibition on state aid that applies in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway is enforced by ESA. It is also ESA's role to decide how the exceptions to the prohibition are to apply. 

In this, ESA plays the same role as the European Commission. ESA works closely with the Commission to ensure that the rules are applied the same way all over the EEA.  You can find ESA's decisions here.

Other EEA Institutions

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