EU green lights French rail freight rescue

2nd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, March 2 (AFP) - The European Commission gave its green light Wednesday to a EUR 1.5 billion (USD 1.96 billion) rescue plan for the ailing freight arm of French railway operator SNCF.

BRUSSELS, March 2 (AFP) - The European Commission gave its green light Wednesday to a EUR 1.5 billion (USD 1.96 billion) rescue plan for the ailing freight arm of French railway operator SNCF.

The French plan, announced by Paris last year, foresees an EUR 800 million state cash injection over three years with a further EUR 700 million to be supplied by SNCF itself.

"Europe needs efficient, competitive rail freight. Today's decision will enable Fret SNCF to become viable again, in a more open market," said EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot.

"This operation shows that the changes taking place in the industry are essential if we are serious about giving rail transport a prominent place again in the European freight market," added the French commissioner.

To secure the European Union's support, the French government made a number of concessions over its rescue plan, notably including guaranteeing the autonomy of SNCF's freight business arm.

Barrot's predecessor on the EU transport brief, Loyola de Palacio, tried to secure an accord from the EU's executive branch last year, but was blocked by then EU competition commissioner Mario Monti.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article