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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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European Commission blocks proposed Siemens/Alstom merger

The proposed Alstom/Siemens merger will not take place, after it was rejected by the European Commission on February 6 on the grounds that the companies were not willing to address the EC’s concerns.

EC Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Verstager confirmed the decision in a press conference. She later tweeted: “Without remedies the merger would have resulted in higher prices, less choice and innovation, so the merger is blocked.”

In a statement confirming that the proposed merger would not take place, Siemens said that it and Alstom regretted that the remedies offered, including recent improvements, had been considered insufficient.

It added: “The remedies were extensive in scope and addressed all the concerns raised by the Commission with respect to signalling as well as very high-speed trains. In addition, a number of credible and well-established European players expressed strong interest in the remedy package, thereby fully confirming its viability.”

The company said it will now assess all options for the future of Siemens Mobility.

  • For the FULL story including reaction from the UK, read RAIL 872, published on February 13, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from February 9.

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