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EU approves millionaire aid to German railways

Brussels - The European Commission has approved a German aid scheme to promote the shift of freight traffic from road to rail. The scheme has an overall budget of €350 million and will run from 2018 to 2023.

Brussels - The European Commission has approved a German aid scheme to promote the shift of freight traffic from road to rail. The scheme will support rail freight operators in Germany, with overall 350 million euros form 2018 to 2023, in order to contribute to a reduction of road congestion and CO2 emissions.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in charge of competition policy, said: “Promoting the shift of freight transport from road to rail is one of many measures that Europe needs to take to help improve reduce our environmental footprint. The German aid scheme does exactly that – it supports this shift, ensures benefits are passed to customers and will contribute to meeting the EU’s environmental and transport objectives, without unduly distorting competition”.

In August 2018, Germany notified to the Commission a scheme to provide public support for freight transport by rail.

Under the scheme, rail freight operators will be compensated for up to 45% of their track access charges, i.e. the charges that railway undertakings have to pay for the use of the rail network. It is expected that the rail freight operators benefiting from the scheme will pass on the benefits of the aid to their customers, i.e., the freight shippers, through lower prices. Rail freight operators will be obliged to inform their customers of the fact that their track access charges have been significantly reduced.

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