EU Approves Another Italian Scheme to Support Rail Freight Operators & Commercial Passengers Affected by COVID-19
The European Commission has approved a €130 million Italian scheme to support the rail and passenger transport sectors affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The news was announced through a press release issued by the EU Commission last Friday, which also revealed that the scheme follows another measure aimed at reducing track access charges, approved on March 24, 2021, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“The measure will enable Italy to relieve rail freight and rail commercial passenger operators of part of the costs related to track access charges (i.e., the charges that railway companies have to pay for the use of the rail network) during the period from January 1 to March 31, 2022,” the statement reads.
According to the EU Commission, the purpose of this measure is to support railway operators by maintaining their competitiveness as well as shifting traffic from road to rail to the levels achieved before the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The Commission assessed the measure under EU state aid rules, in particular Article 93 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the 2008 Commission Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings, in conjunction with Regulation (EU) 2020/1429,” the statement clarifies.
As the Commission explains, in addition to supporting an environmentally friendly form of mobility, such as rail transport, the measure is proportionate and essential to achieving the objective pursued, which means to facilitate the modal passage from road to rail without leading to unnecessary distortions of competition.
On June 17, the authority also approved an Italian scheme of €5 million to support tourism bus operators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This measure will also help bus companies authorized to perform tourist transport services with covered buses that are not subject to public service obligations.
In addition, the aim of the scheme is to address the liquidity needs of beneficiaries and assist them to continue their activities during and after the pandemic.
Previously, the EU Commission gave the green light to another Italian scheme of €60 million in support of companies engaged in the sectors of tourism and thermal baths that have been economically affected in the context of the COVID-19.
The program aims to reduce labor costs being addressed by private employers in the tourism and spa sectors but also to encourage and maintain employment levels.
Moreover, the scheme will exclude all new employees who are temporarily or seasonally employed for three months, with the possibility of assistance being extended for up to six months.
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