Bloomberg News

EU Investigating France, U.K. on Channel Tunnel Access Rules

September 29, 2011

(Updates with comment from U.K. government in fifth paragraph.)

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The European Commission is investigating whether France and the U.K. properly implemented measures to “open the market” for rail services through the Channel Tunnel.

The commission sent the two countries letters setting out concerns that the rules may not have been fully applied, the regulator said in a statement on its website. It has given them a two-month deadline to respond.

The U.K. and France must ensure fees for providing services through the tunnel are “non-discriminatory” and that an independent regulator is set up to “remedy competition problems,” the commission said. Failure to address the concerns within 2 months “will result in further measures against these two countries,” it said.

Governments across the European Union were supposed to implement rules to open rail service markets in the 27-nation region by March 15, 2003. Failing to apply the requirements in the case of the Channel Tunnel could “prevent the creation of an internal market for rail services in Europe,” the commission said. Groupe Eurotunnel SA operates the tunnel.

“We will consider the issues raised by the commission and respond appropriately,” the U.K. government’s office in Brussels said in an e-mailed statement.

The French government offices in Brussels declined to comment.

--Editors: Christopher Scinta, Christopher Jasper

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at jbrunsden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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