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Norway comments on the EU proposal for Regional Aid Guidelines

The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development has in a letter to the EU Commission expressed its concerns over the EU proposal for regional aid. Norway is calling for flexibility to address the challenges of disadvantaged rural areas.

15/02/2006 :: If the current guidelines stand “all municipalities in the counties of Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal, Hordaland, Rogaland, Vest-Agder and Buskerud will be excluded from regional aid,” the Director General of Local Government and Regional Development, Jan Sandal, stated in a letter to the European Commission on 8 March.

The Norwegian government agrees with the EU that state aid should be reduced and that providing regional aid to particular disadvantaged areas should be prioritised, but further calls on the Commission to demonstrate flexibility towards some of its disadvantaged regions that are excluded from the current EU guideline proposal.

Many of these regions in Norway have a remote location with poor transport infrastructure and often harsh climates, which, consequently, lead to a weakened economic and social development.

“The government is pleased that regional state aid still will be allowed in regions with a low population density, but I am not pleased with the EU proposal’s lack of flexibility towards areas with decreasing economic activity,” replied Erna Solberg, the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, to the EU Commission’s proposal on Regional Aid Guidelines.

Solberg has urged the Commission to pursue a continuation of previous practices where it has allowed stronger regions in counties that satisfies EU criteria, to be replaced with weaker regions in counties that are excluded from receiving regional aid due to their low population numbers.

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Minister Erna Solberg put forth Norway’s views on the EU’s Regional Aid proposalPhoto: Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, CF-Wesenberg