Commission wants to make state aid for rail easier, what does this mean?
The EU Commission has proposed a new regulation allowing the Member States to provide state aid to specific transport modes more easily. Rail, inland waterway and multimodal transport will benefit directly with the objective to promote green transport.
“The Commission’s proposal will enable us to simplify procedures for state aid supporting green transport modes, such as rail, inland waterway and multimodal transport, which are less polluting and more sustainable than road-only transport. The proposal not only streamlines the rules applicable to state aid but is also in line with the objectives of the EU Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy,” commented executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.
No need for approval
By simplifying the state aid provision rules, the Commission basically allows the Member States to define and choose the projects or sectors in need of funding and subsidising without “the obligation of prior notification to the Commission of aid measures.” “This will provide legal certainty, simplify procedures and cut red tape for Member States while allowing the Commission to focus its state aid control on the potentially most distortive cases. In addition, this will enable the transport sector to embrace the green and digital transition in line with the EU’s strategic objectives,” added the Commission.
The proposal is the product of long policy processes that include the 2020 “state aid fitness check,” which concluded that the existing rules on transport need adaptation, as the Railway Guidelines are outdated and do not reflect significant regulatory and market developments. As a result, railways’ competition was problematic and needed a direct revision. The proposed state aid rules aim to change this and allow “certain types of aid in favour of rail, inland waterway, multimodal transport, and their coordination, that have a limited potential of distorting competition.”
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