ANNOUNCEMENT 20 Jan 2017
On 21 December 2016, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against the continuation of a national scheme of the German government to aid the construction, extension and reactivation of private railway sidings with direct grants. The scheme will be in effect from 1 January 2017 until 31 December 2020 with an annual budget of 14 million EUR.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
European Commission case summary (SA.46720)
Letter from the European Commission to Germany
According to Germany, "The present scheme is a re-introduction from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2020 of the scheme authorised by the Commission on 27 November 2012 (SA.35363 (2012/N)) and which expired on 31 August 2016." The aim is "[...] to restore competition between road and rail transport, increase environmental protection and improve transport safety. [...]The total budget of the scheme is € 56 million, with an annual budget of € 14 million. [...] Beneficiaries are private companies. [...] The aid is granted in the form of direct grant." (para. 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 12.01.2017)
Based on the findings of the European Commission, "[...] the objective of the measure is to reduce imbalances between rail transport and road transport. The Commission considers that in pursuing that objective the aid does not lead to distortions of competition to an extent contrary to the common interest and that the measure concerning the coordination of transport through the use of railway sidings should be considered compatible under Article 93 TFEU." (para. 38 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 12.01.2017)
However, the European Commission stated in this findings: "The aid was granted by the German authorities for an investment resulting in the production of Africa damask. Since this product can be traded between Member States and the measure strengthens the competitive position of Getzner Textil Weberei GmbH, it is likely to affect trade between Member States and has the potential to distort or threaten to distort competition."
In the GTA database the determination of whether a policy instrument discriminates against foreign commercial interests turns on whether it creates or alters the relative treatment of domestic firms versus foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory because the state aid is not available to competing firms outside of the implementing jurisdiction.