May 11
2021
Anjum Shabbir
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19th April 2021
Competition & State Aid Covid-19

Norwegian State aid to local businesses suffering due to COVID-19 pandemic approved by ESA

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has approved a Norwegian umbrella scheme that allows municipalities to financially support – with up to a maximum of 198 million euros in State aid (Article 61(1) EEA Agreement) – local businesses of all sizes that are suffering a shortage of liquidity, increased costs, and lost revenues due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme allows municipalities to meet specific local needs that are not covered by other national schemes. They can offer support in the following ways:

(i) in the form of de minimis aid under the de minimis Regulation;

(ii) in the form of aid under the General Block Exemption Regulation(GBER);

(iii) to entities which are not undertakings within the meaning of State aid rules;

(iv) through schemes that the municipalities can notify individually to ESA; and

(v) through the notified measure that is the subject of today’s approval.

The ESA decided not to raise objections and granted its approval in line with the European Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak, finding it to be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of an EEA EFTA State.

Read the ESA’s decision here, made three days after notification of the measure on 16 April, and access the press release here.

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