State Aid: Spain should recover those granted for high–speed trains

On September 2013, Spain presented a plan worth about 385.6 billion euros for the construction of a high–speed train test center in Andalusia (“Centro de Ensayos de Alta Tecnologia Ferroviaria”, CEATF). According to the plan, the funding was awarded to the railway operator “Administrator de Infraestructura ferroviaria” (“ADIF”).

The Commission has found that such funding constitutes an illegal State aid to be recovered by Spain. In particular, the Commission has observed that on 2011 Spain already granted 140.7 million euros to ADIF. Moreover, the aid at stake is not justified by a common interest, as there is neither demand in the market for trains that run at such high speed (up to 520 km/h), nor an interest of private investor, provided that it was calculated that the operation would have generated only losses.

Finally, the aid does not contribute to the objective of sustainable development of Andalusia, provided that the only – limited – effects of the funding would have been in the occupation field, with the creation of temporary jobs during the construction of the infrastructure.

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