In line with the EC Treaty (and the current Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), the EEA Agreement generally prohibits any measures that can be identified as state aid, including grants, soft loans and tax concessions, which may distort trade. However, certain political, environmental, economic and social considerations may lead to exceptions to this prohibition. The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) plays a crucial role in gathering information on existing and proposed aid schemes developed by the EEA EFTA States. As the European Commission can deal with aid schemes in the EU Member States, ESA can order aid schemes within the EEA EFTA States to be altered or abolished. ESA must also approve any new aid schemes before they are implemented.
The EFTA Working Group on State Aid meets when required. The Working Group follows all EU actions in the field of state aid and attends multilateral meetings with the European Commission and the EU Member States’ experts when new state aid guidelines are being drawn up.
Articles 61-63 and Annex XV of the EEA Agreement cover state aid.
DG Competition (DG COMP) - State aid