European Commission approved €1.32 billion in state aid for rail link between Paris and Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

The European Commission has approved French support measures for the construction of an express railway line between Paris and the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. The project will improve the coordination of different modes of transport, in line with the EU’s transport policy objectives.

The Commission received from France a notification of its plans to grant state aid to a joint venture between SNCF Réseau and Aéroports de Paris, which will build and operate a direct express railway line between the Parisian train station Gare de l’Est and the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. The total estimated cost of the project is €1.32 billion, with the new 32 kilometre line expected to start operations in 2023.

France is currently bidding to hold the Olympics in 2024. The new railway line would help meet capacity needs if they were successful in their bid.

The aid will be provided in the form of a tax-free grant, to be financed by a levy imposed from 2024 on all air passengers using the Charles de Gaulle airport (except passengers in transit). In addition, a state guarantee type mechanism (known as “cession Dailly acceptée”) will guarantee payment of the concessionaire’s loans.

The Commission assessed the measures under Article 93 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which allows state aid to facilitate the coordination of transport.

The Commission reviewed the support measures and found that:

1) The support contributes to the development of a better coordinated and more sustainable transport system.

2) The measures are necessary and proportionate for the implementation of the project. In particular, the support deriving from the air passengers’ levy will not exceed the funding gap of the project. The existence of claw back mechanisms and revision clauses will ensure that the concessionaire is not overcompensated throughout the concession period.

3) The selection of the operator of the passenger transport services that will use the infrastructure will be carried out through a competitive, transparent and non-discriminatory tender.

The Commission concluded that the public support for the construction of the express line is in line with EU state aid rules. This is fully aligned with the Juncker Commission’s priorities to support investment projects by Member States, boosting growth, investment and job creation.

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Category: A Frontpage, Economy, EU, European Commission, France

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