With Brussels’ new EFTA (European Free Trade Area) building is the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA); the body that oversees how the EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) comply with the EU via the EEA agreement.
The Director of State Aid and Competition in ESA, Gjermund Mathisen, believes that there will be more — and more larger — state projects to investigate. Six Norwegian cases are currently lined up for inspection, including a hydrogen project from Enova and the new CO₂ compensation for energy-intensive industry.
Norway seems to be more affected: In the last four year, the ESA has made 19 rulings regarding energy and climate; 14 relate to Norway.
Why the interference in state spend? Mathisen points out that while the EEA agreement allows for state support for e.g. climate measures. But it stipulates that no more public money than necessary must be used for respective measures.
The ESA is also obliged to investigate complaints about proposed projects or measures. These may come from environmental organizations and local authorities, but the predominant provenance is companies.
ESA avgjør hvor mye Norge kan bruke på klimatiltak, Dagsavisen, 2021-11-30