Eurostar-Thalys merger on course, EU gives approval – POLITICO

The European Commission on Tuesday authorized the merger of the railway companies Eurostar and Thalys, paving the way for the creation of a cross-border railway company serving five countries.

The combination of the two brands, both controlled by French state railways SNCF, will form a passenger rail company that will link the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The new company, called Eurostar, will be headquartered in Brussels.

The merger plan was first announced in September 2019, before the pandemic curtailed ticket sales and nearly forced Eurostar out of business. At the time, SNCF estimated that the combination of Eurostar and Thalys would increase passenger numbers from 18.5 million annually to 30 million by 2030.

The EU competition watchdog said it approved the deal “given its very limited impact on the structure of the market”.

The expansion of rail transport is part of the EU’s broader goal of curbing emissions from transport.

There are currently no competitors to Eurostar operating through the Channel Tunnel linking London to Calais. In the wider region, rail operators offer limited cross-border services due to problems operating wagons on different national networks. Eurostar-Thalys merger on course, EU gives approval – POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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