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"Inadmissible aid": billions for the railway - competitors turn to the EU


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Berlin (dpa) - Of the billions set in the climate package for the German railway may not benefit exclusively from the point of view of competitors, the state-owned company. The Network of European Railways (NEE) and the association Mofair therefore want to inform the European Commission.

In their view, the additional financing for the federal enterprise is an "inadmissible aid because it distorts competition in the field of transport companies by rail in favor 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 which is the German Press Agency.

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 annually by 2030.

"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 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 over the next ten years. That's a lot more money than before. Of that, the federal government wants to take over a total of about 58 billion euros, according to the Federal Court of Audit. 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.

Climate Protection Program of the Federal Government

Source: zeit

News/Politics 2020-04-08T06:03:47.247Z
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