German rail freight and passenger operators affected by COVID-19 to receive € 2.5 billion in financial support from EU

Last year, the coronavirus outbreak caused serious damage to the rail freight and long-distance rail passenger sectors in Germany. However, the two sectors will receive financial support of more than 2.5 billion euros from the European Commission, the latter having approved two schemes to help them under EU state aid rules.

A total of 2.1 billion euros, included in the first measure, will help long-distance passenger rail operators with almost 98% of infrastructure charges paid from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2022.

At the same time, a total of € 410 million will be used to cover almost 98% of the infrastructure charges paid by rail freight operators from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.

In this regard, Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, who is currently in charge of competition policy, said that such measures would help freight and passenger rail operators in Germany to overcome the difficult situation caused by the virus. deadly, reports

“The measures will help maintain the competitiveness of rail compared to other modes of transport, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal. We continue to work with all Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place as quickly and efficiently as possible, in line with EU rules ”, Vestager pointed out in this regard.

According to the statement issued by the European Commission, such programs will increase public support to encourage the transfer of freight and passenger traffic from road to rail.

“Support under these programs will take the form of a reduction in the charges paid by railway undertakings for access to rail infrastructure in the rail freight and long-distance rail passenger sectors. The measures will thus make it possible to avoid the loss of market share of rail transport compared to competing modes of transport ”, the precise statement.

In March of this year, the European Commission approved total financial support of € 511 million to compensate for the loss suffered by commercial rail operators in Italy during the period from March 8 to June 30, 2020, due to the COVID-19 and restrictions. imposed by the Italian government in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In June, the EU’s Permanent Representatives Committee agreed on a negotiating mandate on the proposal, which aims to promote a safe, environmentally friendly and innovative mode of transport.

According to Croatia’s Minister for the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, who is also President of the Council, Oleg Butković, energy efficient rail will help the bloc to become climate neutral by 2050.

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