EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision No 218/03/COL of 12 November 2003 with regard to state aid in the form of regionally differentiated social security contributions — Norway


Published: 2003-11-12

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9.6.2005   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 145/25


EFTA SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY DECISION

No 218/03/COL

of 12 November 2003

with regard to state aid in the form of regionally differentiated social security contributions — Norway

THE EFTA SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY,

Having regard to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (1), in particular to Articles 61 to 63 and Protocol 26 thereof,

Having regard to the Agreement between the EFTA States on the establishment of a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice (2), in particular to Article 24 and Protocol 3 thereof,

Having regard to the Authority’s Guidelines (3) on the application and interpretation of Articles 61 and 62 of the EEA Agreement,

Having regard to the Authority’s decision to propose appropriate measures to Norway (4),

Having regard to the EEA Joint Committee Decision No 88/2002 of 25 June 2002 (5) incorporating into Annex XV to the EEA Agreement Commission Regulation (EC) No 69/2001 of 12 January 2001 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the EC Treaty to de minimis aid (6),

Having called on interested parties to submit their comments pursuant to the provisions cited above (7),

Whereas the Norwegian authorities by letter dated 26 March 2003 notified to the Authority a three-year transitional period for the regionally differentiated social security contributions as well as a new direct transport aid scheme,

Whereas the present decision only concerns the notification of a three-year transitional period for the regionally differentiated social security contributions, and not the notification of a new direct transport aid scheme,

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

1.

The State aid which Norway is planning to implement in form of the notified transitional period for the regionally differentiated social security contributions in zones 3 and 4 is authorised under Article 61(3)(c) of the EEA Agreement.

2.

This decision is addressed to the Kingdom of Norway.

3.

This decision is authentic in the English language.

Done at Brussels, 12 November 2003.

For the EFTA Surveillance Authority

Einar M. BULL

President

Hannes HAFSTEIN

College Member


(1)  Hereinafter referred to as the EEA Agreement.

(2)  Hereinafter referred to as the Surveillance and Court Agreement.

(3)  Procedural and Substantive Rules in the Field of State Aid (State Aid Guidelines), adopted and issued by the EFTA Surveillance Authority on 19 January 1994. Published in the Official Journal of the European Communities L 231 of 3 September 1994, p. 1. The Guidelines were last amended 5 November 2003 (not yet published in the Official Journal).

(4)  Decision of the EFTA Surveillance Authority No 172/02/COL (OJ C 52, 6. 3.2003, p. 16) and EEA Supplement No 13, 16.3.2003, p. 1.

(5)  OJ L 266, 3.10.2002, p. 56 and EEA Supplement No 49, 3.10.2002, p. 42.

(6)  OJ L 10, 13. 1.2001, p. 30.

(7)  EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision No 141/03/COL of 16 July 2003 (OJ C 216, 11. 9.2003, p. 3) and EEA Supplement No 45, 11.09.2003, p. 1.

(8)  EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision No 141/03/COL of 16 July 2003 (OJ C 216, 11.9.2003, p. 3) and EEA Supplement No 45, 11. 9.2003, p. 1.

(9)  EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision No 228/99/COL (OJ C 3, 6.1.2000, p. 3) and EEA Supplement No 1, 6.1.2000.

(10)  OJ L 244, 14. 9.2001, p. 32.

(11)  Decision No 172/02/COL.

(12)  The Standing Committee of the EFTA States decided on 1 July 2003 (No 2/2003/SC) that the present scheme in zone 5 is compatible with the functioning of the EEA Agreement due to the exceptional circumstances in this zone (see point 1 above).

(13)  ‘En analyse av regionale virkninger av omlegging av differensiert arbeidsgiveravgift’. Møreforskning, arbeidsrapport M 0309, see website: www.mfm.no

(14)  EFTA Court Case E-6/98, The Government of Norway v EFTA Surveillance Authority [1999] Report of the EFTA Court, p. 74.

(15)  EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision No 228/99/COL (OJ C 3, 6. 1.2000, p. 3) and EEA Supplement No 1, 6.1.2000.

(16)  Commission Regulation (EC) No 69/2001 of 12 January 2001 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the EC Treaty to de minimis aid (OJ L 10, 13.1.2001, p. 30), as incorporated into the EEA Agreement by Decision No 88/2002 of 25 June 2002 of the EEA Joint Committee (OJ L 266, 3.10.2002, p. 56 and EEA Supplement No 49, 3.10.2002). Cumulation rules ensure that overall de minimis aid will not exceed the threshold of EUR 100 000 in the course of three years (see Commission Regulation (EC) No 69/2001).

(17)  See for example Articles 8(3), 20 and Protocols 3 and 9 to the EEA Agreement, as well as Article 24 of the Surveillance and Court Agreement.

(18)  The Authority noted that the Commission also authorised transitional arrangements. See for example Commission Decision No 88/318/EEC of 2 March 1988 on Law No 64 of 1 March 1986 on aid to the Mezzogiorno (OJ L 143, 10.06.1988, p. 37); State aid No 586/2002 — Italy — Aid measures in favour of cableway installations introduced with L.R. 9/98, Regione Lombardia.

(19)  Case C-24/95 Land Rheinland-Pfalz v Alcan Deutschland [1997] ECR I-1591.

(20)  As regards the Norwegian Government’s argument that the Authority had sent ‘no clear signals’, the Authority maintains its view as expressed in its Decision of 16 July 2003 in point 3.1.

(21)  State Aid Guidelines, Chapter 25.4.


ANNEX

GEOGRAPHICAL ZONES AND CURRENT (2003) TAX RATES

—   Zone I: 14,1 % tax.

This zone includes all municipalities not mentioned below under zones II to V.

—   Zone II: 10,6 % tax.

This zone includes:

in Nord-Trøndelag county, the municipalities of Meråker, Frosta, Leksvik, Mosvik, Verran,

in Sør-Trøndelag county, the municipalities of Ørland, Agdenes, Rissa, Bjugn, Rennebu, Meldal, Midtre Gauldal, Selbu,

in Møre og Romsdal county, the municipalities of Vanylven, Sande, Herøy, Norddal, Stranda, Stordal, Rauma, Nesset, Midsund, Sandøy, Gjemnes, Tingvoll, Sunndal, Haram, Aukra, Eide,

in Sogn og Fjordane county, all municipalities,

in Hordaland county, the municipalities of Etne, Ølen, Tysnes, Kvinnherad, Jondal, Odda, Ullensvang, Eidfjord, Ulvik, Granvin, Kvam, Modalen, Fedje, Masfjorden, Bømlo,

in Rogaland county, the municipalities of Hjelmeland, Suldal, Sauda, Kvitsøy, Utsira, Vindafjord, Finnøy,

in Vest-Agder county, the municipalities of Åseral, Audnedal, Hægebostad, Sirdal,

in Aust-Agder county, the municipalities of Gjerstad, Vegårshei, Åmli, Iveland, Evje og Hornnes, Bygland, Valle, Bykle,

in Telemark county, the municipalities of Drangedal, Tinn, Hjartdal, Seljord, Kviteseid, Nissedal, Fyresdal, Tokke, Vinje, Nome,

in Buskerud county, the municipalities of Flå, Nes, Gol, Hemsedal, Ål, Hol, Sigdal, Rollag, Nore and Uvdal,

in Oppland county, the municipalities of Nord-Fron, Sør-Fron, Ringebu, Gausdal, Søndre Land, Nordre Land,

in Hedmark county, the municipalities of Nord-Odal, Eidskog, Grue, Åsnes, Våler, Trysil, Åmot.

—   Zone III: 6,4 % tax.

This zone includes:

in Nord-Trøndelag county, the municipality of Snåsa,

in Sør-Trøndelag county, the municipalities of Hemne, Snillfjord, Oppdal, Røros, Holtålen, Tydal,

in Oppland county, the municipalities of Dovre, Lesja, Skjåk, Lom, Vågå, Sel, Sør-Aurdal, Etnedal, Nord-Aurdal, Vestre Slidre, Øystre Slidre, Vang,

in Hedmark county, the municipalities of Stor-Elvdal, Rendalen, Engerdal, Tolga, Tynset, Alvdal, Folldal, Os,

—   Zone IV: 5,1 % tax.

This zone includes:

in Troms county, municipalities not included among those listed below under zone V,

in Nordland county, all municipalities,

in Nord-Trøndelag county, the municipalities of Namsos, Namdalseid, Lierne, Røyrvik, Namsskogan, Grong, Høylandet, Overhalla, Fosnes, Flatanger, Vikna, Nærøy, Leka,

in Sør-Trøndelag county, the municipalities of Hitra, Frøya, Åfjord, Roan, Osen,

in Møre og Romsdal county, the municipality of Smøla.

—   Zone V: 0 % tax.

This zone includes:

in Finnmark county, all municipalities,

in Troms county, the municipalities of Karlsøy, Lyngen, Storfjord, Kåfjord, Skjervøy, Nordreisa and Kvænangen.