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EU Approves Another Italian Scheme to Support Rail Freight Operators & Commercial Passengers Affected by COVID-19

The European Commission has approved an Italian €130 million scheme to support the railway and passenger transport sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The news was announced by an EU Commission press release last Friday, which also revealed that the scheme is following another measure aimed at reducing route access fees, approved on March 24, 2021, reports.

“This measure will enable Italy to exempt rail freight operators and commercial rail passengers from part of the costs related to route access fees (that is, the fees that railway companies have to pay for the use of the rail network) during the period from January 1 to March 31, 2022.” .

According to the European Union Commission, the purpose of this measure is to support railway operators by maintaining their competitiveness as well as diverting road-to-rail traffic to levels achieved before the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Commission has evaluated the procedure under the EU state aid rules, in particular Article 93 of the EU Action Treaty and the 2008 Commission Guidelines on state assistance for railway projects, together with Regulation (EU) 2020/1429,” the statement explains.

As the Commission has made clear, in addition to supporting an environmentally friendly form of mobility, such as rail, the measure is proportional and necessary to achieve the desired goal, which means facilitating typical road-to-rail transit without causing unnecessary distortions in competition.

On June 17, the authority also approved a €5 million Italian scheme to support tourism bus operators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This measure will also help bus companies that are authorized to perform tourist transportation services with covered buses that are not subject to public service obligations.

In addition, the objective of the plan is to meet the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries and help them continue their activities during and after the pandemic.

Previously, the European Union Commission gave the green light to another Italian €60 million scheme to support companies operating in the tourism and thermal bath sectors economically affected in the context of COVID-19.

The program aims to reduce labor costs handled by private employers in the tourism and spa sectors but also to encourage and maintain employment levels.

Moreover, the system will exclude all new employees who work temporarily or seasonally for a period of three months, with the possibility of extending the assistance for up to six months.

>> Italy has officially dropped the COVID-19 entry rules for all travelers

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