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Brussels, 23rd July 2008

Commission gives go-ahead to Austrian environmental incentive promoting inland waterway transport

The European Commission has decided not to raise objections to plans to extend a scheme piloted by Austria's federal government and aimed at promoting a modal shift to inland waterways. Under the pilot scheme, new inland navigation services on the Danube are eligible for an environmental premium.

The aim of this measure is to stimulate a modal shift from the country's roads to the Danube by encouraging innovative solutions.

The Austrian pilot scheme will run from 2008 to 2014 and have a budget of €1 million a year. It will be targeted at new, high-quality intermodal services for international navigation on the Danube. Aid will be granted in the form of an environmental premium of between €18 and €34 per container transported, depending on the size of the loading unit. The premium will be granted upon presentation of a business plan showing that the intermodal inland navigation service in question will be of a high quality and regularly accessible.

The scheme is compatible with Article 3(1)(b) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 concerning aid which meets the needs of coordination of transport. Aid is limited to 30% of the total cost of the service. Additionally, aid of up to 50% of total costs may be granted for preparatory studies and analyses relating to intermodal services covered by the scheme.

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