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Brussels, 28 January

Commission approves Czech State aid to promote the interoperability of railway transport

The European Commission adopted today a positive decision on a State aid regime notified by the Czech authorities and investing in the interoperability of rail transport.

The measure aims at gradually achieving technical and operational interconnection (interoperability) of the railway systems in the Czech Republic and those in the neighbouring countries. It also promotes interoperability among rail transport operators.

By implementing individual projects, the Czech scheme is aimed at reducing both the environmental impact of rail transport as well as the number of accidents. This scheme also seeks to expand public transport and support innovation. It would thereby increase the attractiveness of rail infrastructure so that railway transport can compete effectively with other modes of transport.

The measure will last five years. The total volume of the aid amounts to CZK 1 billion (€ 40 million). 85% of this should be covered from the Cohesion Fund and 15% from the State budget of the Czech Republic.

The Commission considers that the regime is compatible with the EC Treaty.

This is the first Commission decision adopted on the basis of the 2008 Community guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings[1].

[1] OJ C 184 of 22.7.2008, p.13.

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