The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a Norwegian State aid scheme to help the event industry adjust to prolonged restrictions

COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves scheme to help the event industry adjust to prolonged restrictions*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a Norwegian scheme to help event companies overcome pandemic-related challenges.

The event industry continues to be strongly impacted by measures aimed to halt the spread of COVID-19. The measures have led to wide-scale cancellation or downscaling of in-person events. As a consequence, the lack of clients and income has left companies in the event industry in a precarious situation.

In response, Norway has launched an aid scheme to help companies in the event industry restructure and develop their activities and business models. To qualify for aid, a key criterion is that the activities must contribute to the companies’ long-term financial profitability.

The target groups for the scheme include small, medium-sized and large companies across Norway that are involved in the organisation of business-oriented events. These include closed and open congresses, fairs and exhibitions, conferences and seminars.

Companies – which have to demonstrate that the bulk of their activities are conducted in Norway – must be able to document an average loss in turnover of at least 30 percent in the last five months of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. Newly established companies must document a loss for the period August-December 2020 compared with January and February 2020.

Today, ESA has found the scheme to be compatible with the EEA rules, and in line with the European Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The total budget for the scheme is NOK 50 million (EUR 4.8 million). Each beneficiary can receive maximum NOK 3 million (EUR 300 000). The aid will be granted by Innovation Norway, and the deadline to apply is 7 April 2021.

ESA’s decision can be found here.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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EFTA Surveillance Authority, The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a Norwegian State aid scheme to help the event industry adjust to prolonged restrictions, 18 March 2021, e-Competitions February 2021, Art. N° 99720

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