The European Commission recently concluded that several measures to support Greece’s OSE and TrainOSE, include debt cancellations, are within the European Union’s (EU) state aid rules.
OSE is a nationally owned company that manages Greece’s railway infrastructure, according to a press release. TrainOSE, which was separated from OSE in 2008, is also nationally owned and provides Greece’s passenger and freight rail services.
Greece’s efforts to restructure the companies include debt cancellations, annual grants and an equity increase. The commission found these efforts were in line with the EU rules governing state rule, with an eye to the Greek railway sector’s importance to the country’s economy and the difficulties it is facing. The commission also found that the efforts were legitimate in their goal of avoiding serious harm and disruption to Greece’s economy and the single market.
“The measures will help the two public rail companies become more efficient and provide better service to Greek passengers and business customers,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who manages competition policy, said in the release. “This fits into the wider context of Greece's efforts to restore its economy's competitiveness and achieve significant growth. The aid will also facilitate the future privatization of the companies and the opening of the Greek railway sector to competition."