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.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:
- the support measures contribute to the development of a better coordinated and more sustainable transport system;
- the aid 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.
- 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 therefore 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.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be available under the case number SA.45997 in the State Aid Register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the EU Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.