The European Commission has approved GBP 5.169 billion of State aid for the high speed rail link service between London and the Channel (HS1) and the restructuring of Eurostar (UK) Limited (EUKL). The operation notified by the United Kingdom involves public support mainly in the form of debt cancellation and puts in place a sustainable financial structure for the high speed rail link.
The operation entails reorganising the financing of the HS1 infrastructure by assuming all of London & Continental Railways’ debts. The operation will involve the consolidation of all infrastructure activities into a single entity. This will then be sold, resulting in the unbundling of infrastructure and transport activities and a significant reduction of access charges.
It also involves the restructuring of EUKL by recapitalising the company, in particular allowing for fleet replacement. All guarantees benefiting to EUKL will be removed and relations with the infrastructure activities will be established on a commercial basis at market rate. The Commission made sure that the restructuring involves sufficient compensatory measures in favour of possible competitors. Proper independent monitoring of the whole process will be guaranteed and the United Kingdom commits itself to the “one time last time” principle.