Rail transport: competitors turn to the EU for rail subsidies

Rail transport: competitors turn to the EU for rail subsidies

Rail transport competitors turn to the EU for rail subsidies The DB competitors fear that they will be short on the billions in funding for Deutsche Bahn – and lament a distortion of competition. Of the billions set for the German Federal Railways in the climate package, the state-owned company should not benefit exclusively from the point of view of its competitors. The Network of European Railways (NEE) and the association Mofair therefore want to inform the EU Commission about this. In their view, the additional financing for the federal enterprise is an “inadmissible aid because it distorts competition in the area of ​​rail transport companies for the benefit of Deutsche Bahn”. This is the conclusion of a commissioned legal opinion, which the DB competitors of the European Commission want to submit in the coming week and the German Press Agency is present. In order to make rail transport more reliable and attractive to more people, the federal government, as the owner of Deutsche Bahn, intends to raise a total of eleven billion euros in equity – distributed over one billion to 2030 per year. “This will enable society to invest additional capital in the modernization, expansion and electrification of the rail network and the rail system,” says the climate change package adopted a few weeks ago. This would also benefit competitors as they use the same infrastructure. Mofair and NEE welcome investment in infrastructure. But they fear that the money could not be used for this purpose. It is not a question of an economic investment by the federal government, but of a state aid that would have to be approved by the EU, argue the lawyers in the report for the associations. Instead of donating the money to the group, they ask as an alternative a dedicated fund, or another performance and financing agreement (LuFV), which must be launched in addition to the existing one. “This would ensure that funding goes exclusively and directly to the competitive infrastructure sector,” the report said. In the German Aviation Act, the railway and the federal government determine how much money is to be invested in rail traffic over a certain period of time and who has to bear how much of it. The German Bahn rejects the concerns of the competitors: Everything will be implemented compliant, said a spokeswoman. The railway was able to look forward to several financial commitments of the federal government. The recently negotiated LufV envisages a total volume of around 86 billion for the next ten years. That’s a lot more money than before. According to the Federal Court of Auditors, the federal government intends to take on a total of about 58 billions of euros. The Bundestag still has to agree to the agreement. Added to this is the climate package, which in addition to the equity increase also provides for a lower VAT rate of 7 percent for long-distance transport. In local transport, this tax rate has been valid for some time. It applies to all railway companies. © Handelsblatt GmbH – All rights reserved. Acquire usage rights?
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