The EU plans state aid for companies impacted by sanctions

European Commission headquarters.

The EU is coming up with a new state aid mechanism to help those affected by the sanctions, said Kristian Schmidt, director of land transport in the EU Commission. European companies suffer losses due to the sanctions, and the rail freight sector is no exception. Rail freight operators report an 80 per cent drop in Eurasian volumes and express concerns about the future.

Schmidt and apparently the EU acknowledge that the impact of the voted sanctions can be heavy for European companies. In fact, the financial losses can be substantial. “With regard to the impact of the sanctions, the EU Commission has issued several decisions allowing state aid and allowing member states to compensate the companies and undertakings that are suffering due to the sanction packages that have been adopted”, explained Schmidt.

EU support on the way

Schmidt shared this news during the RailFreight Summit Special Edition in Brussels on 6 April. During a live interview, he discussed the impact of sanctions on European businesses. “There is no doubt that sanctions cut in both ways. European transport, the supply chain and companies are also impacted”, commented Schmidt. “However, there is a way to help those affected”, he added.

“The state aid isn’t specific to rail or transport but certainly covers transport and rail. So yes, there is a way to support companies that have experienced the negativity of the sanctions”, he continued. This is some positive news for the rail freight industry since, just like with Covid, financial losses can be at least partially compensated. In a period when the pandemic’s aftermath is still visible, energy prices are surging, and war and sanctions create unprecedented conditions, business as usual is not possible, and such measures can prove critical for the future.

On top of enabling state aid, the EU Commission also has a rail focused approach to help companies struggling with alternative routes. As Schmidt highlighted, the EU follows the developments in the Middle Corridor and is willing to help make a better alternative for companies. “We see that it is growing, and we think it should be studied and help make improvements where possible. The EU speaks with the countries in the Middle Corridor, focusing on generating investments in the route. We are well aware that this is not a solution for tomorrow but the long-term”, he concluded.

Watch the interview

You can watch the interview with Kristian Schmidt below.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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