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Parliamentary questions
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19 June 2015
E-006536/2015(ASW)
Joint answer given by Ms Vestager on behalf of the Commission
Written questions :E-006722/15 , E-006536/15
Question references: E-006536/2015, E-006722/2015

On 23 May 2015 the European Commission adopted a decision to open an in-depth investigation to examine whether the public financing of the Test Centre for Railway High Technology (CEATF) near Malaga, in Spain, constitutes state aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU and, if so, whether it is compatible with Article 107(3)(c) in the light of the rules set out in the R&D&I Framework(1) .

At this stage, the Commission cannot exclude that the envisaged public support may fall under Article 107(1) and has doubts that it meets all the compatibility conditions under Article 107(3). In particular, the Commission has doubts that the project pursues a genuine objective of common interest which cannot be achieved without state aid due to a market failure. Current projections indicate that the CEATF project will remain vastly loss making. It is doubtful that the envisaged public support will incentivise private investors to provide additional private funding and share the risks of the project. The lack of any involvement of private investors implies that the measure may not have the required incentive effect and, furthermore, may fail to comply with the maximum aid intensity provided for under the R&D&I Framework in respect of aid for R&D&I infrastructures.

In this phase of investigation, the Commission is asking Spain and third parties, including competitors and potential users of the CEATF facilities, to comment on the doubts expressed in the opening decision. This step of the procedure does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

(1)See the framework for state aid for research and development and innovation (‘the R&D&I Framework’), Official Journal C 198 of 27.6.2014, p. 1.

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