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Organised by Transport Area of the Florence School of Regulation (FSR-Transport), RSCAS, European University Institute in collaboration with European Commission – Directorate-General for Competition

Background

Rail transport and Inland Waterway are crucial for achieving the objectives outlined in the Green Deal agenda. These goals include a 55% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and attaining climate neutrality by 2050. The Railway Guidelines have been playing a fundamental role within this context, enabling support for the transition to more sustainable transport modes. They aimed at endorsing Member States investments necessary for the completion of the single transport area, the green and the digital transitions (together with other State aid Guidelines).

Since their adoption in 2008, around 75 measures were found compatible with the Treaty based on the Railway Guidelines, particularly concerning State aid for the coordination of transport, with a total budget of over EUR 9 billion aimed at encouraging a modal shift from road to rail freight transport. The main objective of the Railway Guidelines upon their adoption was to accompany the sectorial policy towards full liberalisation of the rail sector and the completion of a Single European rail market in which full interoperability is ensured. Further, the Railway Guidelines were established with the aim of facilitating the restructuring of a sector marked by significant indebtedness.

In 2020, however, the fitness check of these guidelines showed that they are outdated. EU policy priorities in the context of the Green Deal put more emphasis on a modal shift to modes of transport which are less polluting than roads, such as rail and inland waterways. This modal shift should contribute towards meeting the emissions reduction target set for 2050. Parallel to this, rail markets have now been fully liberalised following the adoption and implementation of the 4th Railway Package (which was not the case when the 2008 Railway Guidelines were adopted). Hence, the Commission launched the revision of the State aid rules applicable to rail transport to bring them into complete alignment with the Union’s key priorities. It aims to support the shift towards more sustainable transportation modes and implement additional procedural facilitations for aid measures in the field of greener land and intermodal transport via block exemptions. The Commission also aims to protect the level playing field within the railway market. In pursuit of these goals, the European Commission is also considering adopting block exemption regulations in the field of Land transport, in line with Article 93 of the Treaty.

The Forum, co-organised by the Transport Area of the Florence School of Regulation together with the European Commission’s DG COMP, will tackle the following questions:

(1) Operating aid: How do we support modal shifts, both in passenger and freight, new services, new connections, and innovation in transport organisations?

(2) Investment aid for infrastructure: How to promote new infrastructure, in particular supporting service facilities (multimodal terminals, terminals in ports, maintenance facilities and beyond), addressing both the funding gap and maximising available resources while ensuring proportionality?

(3) Investment aid for mobile equipment: How do we support access to mobile equipment, the modernisation and greening of such equipment, and interoperability while ensuring a level playing field?

Please kindly note that participation at this Forum is by invitation only.

download the programme (PDF)
Venue
Theatre – Badia Fiesolana, Via dei Roccettini 7 – San Domenico di Fiesole (Fiesole, Florence)
50133
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Scientific organiser
Juan Montero

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