ANNOUNCEMENT 25 May 2016
On 19 December 2016, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against a rail freight transport support scheme notified by the Italian government in May 2016. The scheme includes a provisional and a permanent scheme having an annual budget of EUR 55 million and EUR 100 million respectively. The scheme was prolonged for an additional period of two years, i.e. until 31 December 2019.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
European Commission case summary (SA.45482)
European Commission letter to Italy, 8.02.2017
European Commission case summary (SA.48759): http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_48759
European Commission letter to Italy, published on 04.12.2017: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases/270506/270506_1946056_102_2.pdf
According to Italy, "The notified measure is part of a global logistic plan launched by Italy to support intermodality. It is aimed at preserving and strengthening the position of rail transport by introducing subsidies. The level of these subsidies is set so as to make railway transport more attractive while being well below the value of the ensuing external cost savings (the differential with the external costs incurred when transporting goods by alternative means). [...] The duration of the transitional scheme is from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015 and of the definitive scheme from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2017. [...] For the transitional scheme, the expected payments are estimated at EUR 55 million. For the definitive scheme, at this stage, the expected payments are estimated at EUR 200 million." The transitional and the permanent scheme will be implemented in the form of subsidies. (para. 4, 11, 13, 39 and 42 letter from the EC to Italy, Brussels 08.02.2017)
Based on the findings of the European Commission, the scheme is "[...] liable to distort competition and affect trade between Member States since it concerns rail freight markets which have been liberalised by Union law." (para. 65 letter from the EC to Italy, Brussels 08.02.2017)
On 25 October 2017, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against the prolongation of the rail freight transport definitive support scheme. The scheme is extended until 31 December 2019 and sustains an annual budget of EUR 100 million (USD 120 million).
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.