COVID-19 and rail transport: Council extends measures adopted in 2020

(Source: Council of the EU and European Council)

Given that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the level of rail traffic, the Council extended until 30 June 2022 the emergency measures put in place in October 2020 to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the sector. The measures give member states the possibility to provide relief from certain infrastructure charges for rail companies while ensuring a timely refund for infrastructure providers.

Due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 outbreak, the decision was also taken to prolong until 31 December 2023 the powers of the Commission to adopt delegated acts, so that it can extend the measure if necessary, for a maximum period of six months each time.

Member states will continue to inform the Commission of any measures they take, and the Commission will make this information publicly available.

Next steps

The legal act is set to be signed by both institutions today and to be published in the EU Official Journal on 28 February. It will enter into force the day after its publication in the Official Journal and will be applied retroactively from 1January 2022.

Background

On 7 October 2020, the Council and the European Parliament adopted a temporary derogation from existing rules on levying charges for the use of railway infrastructure, which was applied retroactively from 1 March 2020 until 31 December 2020 with a possibility of extension if necessary. The European Commission, having been given the power of delegation by the two co-legislators, extended this period until 14 April 2022. The Parliament voted on the extension of the measures on 16 February 2022 in Strasbourg.

REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Regulation (EU) 2020/1429 as regards the duration of the reference period for the application of temporary measures concerning the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure

COVID-19 rail transport measures adopted by Council (press release, 2 October 2020)

Regulation establishing measures for a sustainable rail market in view of the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 – transport measures: Council agrees its position on temporary derogations in support of the rail sector (press release, 9 September 2020)

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