EFTA Surveillance Authority invites comment on state aid elements in Norway's Unpaid R&D Labour Scheme, for which tax relief is allowed, and on four projects for development of Turborouter software (O

October 27, 2006

Brussels, 26 October 2006

Invitation to submit comments pursuant to Article 1(2) in Part I of Protocol 3 to the Surveillance and Court Agreement on a newly proposed scheme in Norway on the grant of financial support to unpaid labour in research and development activities, the Unpaid R&D Labour Scheme (OJ C258/28 26.10.2006).
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[...] The Unpaid R&D Labour Scheme was proposed because the Norwegian authorities considered that unpaid labour in research and development activities could not be supported under the existing 'Skattefunn Scheme' (approved by the Authority in its Decision No 171/02/COL of 25 September 2002 and Decision No 16/03/COL of 5 February 2003). Under the Skattefunn Scheme aid is granted in the form of a tax deduction. However, the Norwegian authorities considered it incompatible with general tax legislation in Norway to deduct, in the taxable amount, an amount which is based on unpaid labour costs which have not been incurred nor paid in reality. [...]

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Invitation to submit comments pursuant to Article 1(2) in Part I of Protocol 3 to the Surveillance and Court Agreement on state aid granted by the Research Council of Norway in connection with the software programme Turborouter (OJ C258/42 26.10.2006).
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[...] The [Research Council of Norway] had granted aid to four projects related to the development of the software programme Turborouter within the framework of the aid scheme Industrial R&D Programme. The Authority had assessed this programme, together with other existing aid schemes, and adopted Decision No 217/94/COL in December 1994 proposing appropriate measures to Norway. The Norwegian authorities accepted the appropriate measures. Accordingly, thereafter, any granting of aid under this scheme had to be done in accordance with the State Aid Guidelines on R&D aid adopted by the Authority in 1994.

On the basis of the information available, the Authority has doubts whether the granting of aid to the concerned research projects complied with the provisions of the R&D Guidelines. It is questionable whether the projects were correctly classified. This is in particular the case regarding the three projects considered as pre-competitive research projects, which could be too close to the market to be eligible for aid. [...]

Official Journal of the EU, No. C258 26.10.2006

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