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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 20 November 2013

Commission takes Germany to Court for failure to separate financial flows between train operators and rail track managers

The European Commission has decided to take Germany to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with EU rules on financial transparency in the rail sector. The current arrangements in Germany do not exclude that public funds can be used to cross subsidise passenger and freight train services open to competition.


The Commission considers that Germany has failed to comply with key provisions of the 2001 First Railway Package on financial transparency (Directives 91/440/EEC and 2001/14/EC now replaced by the Rail Recast 2012/34/EU).

1) by failing to ensure that the accounts for the two areas infrastructure and transport operation are kept in a way which reflects the prohibition to transfer public funds for the infrastructure to transport activities.

2) by failing to ensure that track access charges for the use of infrastructure may only be used to fund the business of the infrastructure manager.

3) by failing to ensure that public funds paid for the provision of passenger transport services, under PSO (public service obligations) are shown separately in the relevant accounts.

Overall, the current arrangements in Germany do not exclude the possibility to use public funds, intended for infrastructure and public services under (PSO) public service obligations, to cross subsidise passenger and freight trains services open to competition. This could distort competition, potentially giving an unfair competitive advantage to those receiving the public subsidies. This is contrary to existing EU rules, which aim at establishing an efficient, non-distorted and competitive EU internal market for rail.

For more information

On the November infringement package decisions, see MEMO/13/1005

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12

More information on infringement procedures

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Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)

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