ESA welcomes information from interested parties concerning potential infringements of the EEA state aid rules, in the form of market information or formal complaints.

Formal complaints are an important source of information. Formal complaints may be lodged by any interested party, including competitors and trade associations. The role of ESA is not to address the individual concerns of complainants, but to ensure that the EFTA States comply with the state aid rules. Therefore, complainants are not parties to the state aid procedures. To have individual concerns addressed, complainants have the option of bringing cases of unlawful aid before the national courts. Economic operators or their legal representatives are welcome to contact ESA informally with a view to discussing whether there are grounds for making a formal complaint.

Formal complaints can be drafted in any of the official languages of the EFTA States or of the EU. However, the working language of ESA is English, therefore, the use of languages other than English may delay the handling of a complaint. Complainants can have their identity kept confidential by ESA. 

ESA occasionally forward complaints to the EFTA States for comments. In case a complainant wishes to have their identity kept confidential by ESA, or in case a complaint contains other confidential information, providing a non-confidential version of the complaint helps ESA process it more efficiently. 

All complaints should be accompanied by the complaint form and be sent in to ESA in electronic form only by email to Please submit any annexes also in electronic form only, and in a searchable format. Should you wish to submit a complaint by other means, please contact ESA first.

After a preliminary assessment of a formal complaint, ESA will decide whether or not to take further action. ESA may also decide to take further action, but assign a low priority to the complaint. The priority may depend on factors such as the scope of the alleged infringement, the size of the beneficiary, the economic sector concerned or the existence of similar complaints. 

ESA will normally inform the complainant of the status of the case within two months. Complainants will also be informed of the closure of the complaint, and may be contacted during the processing of the case. ESA aims to process complaints within 12 months.

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