Norwegian Regional Aid Area expands from 2007

Today, Norway notified a revised regional aid map to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA). Norway intends to increase the assisted area to include 24 more municipalities from 1 January 2007.

12/06/2006 :: “We make use of the scope of action set by the guidelines and include 24 new municipalities in the area eligible for regional investment aid. All the municipalities within the current assisted area will remain in the area,” Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Åslaug Haga says.

The current regional aid map was approved by the ESA in 1999, and comprises approximately 24.5 per cent of the population. Subject to approval from ESA, the population coverage will increase by 3 percentage points, to 27.5 per cent.

“Through this, we will have increased our ability to carry out a regional policy that can actively meet the challenges that industries in rural areas will face in the coming years,” the Minister stated.

Norway is the only country in the European Economic Area (EEA) that increases its regional aid area under the new regional aid guidelines for the EU/EEA. The new assisted area will be in effect during the period 2007-2013. At this stage, only the assisted area is notified for approval. After this framework is approved, ESA can process notifications of schemes within the assisted area. The regional aid map delimits e.g. the use of regional risk loans and regional development grants to business administered by Innovation Norway.

The scheme of regionally differentiated social security contributions, including geographical delimitation and tax-rates is a separate issue and is treated by ESA on the basis of different criteria in the regional aid guidelines than the regional aid map. The two notifications were sent ESA at the same time.

(Published: 12.06.06.)

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Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Åslaug HagaPhoto: Bjørn Sigurdsønn, Scanpix