BRUSSELS: Given that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the level of rail traffic, the European Union 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.
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.
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.