The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway until the end of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA approves increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway until the end of 2021*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the renewal of a support scheme to compensate losses incurred by operators of long-distance bus and passenger boat services due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The renewed scheme is valid until 31 December 2021 with an additional NOK 100 million added to the budget.

The scheme will now be approved under the European Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support the economy during the current COVID-19 outbreak. Previously, the scheme was approved according to the EEA rules that permit state aid to remedy effects of exceptional occurrences.

While society is gradually opening up and restrictions are being lifted, people in Norway are still recommended to avoid unnecessary trips on public transport. Strict social distancing and public safety measures will continue to be in place. The Norwegian authorities therefore consider it necessary to continue the scheme in order to ensure the continuation of long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway.

ESA first approved the compensation scheme on 20 July 2020. Amendments were approved on 25 November 2020. On 17 December 2020, ESA approved an increase in the budget and a prolongation until 15 August 2021.

The budget will now be increased by NOK 100 million to a total budget of NOK 300 million (EUR 29.4 million).

*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 increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway until the end of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 6 July 2021, e-Competitions July 2021 - II, Art. N° 101461

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