EU: “Green light” for the construction of the Patras-Pyrgos section on Olympia Odos

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THE European Commission adopted, on the basis of EU state aid rules, financing height EUR 217 million from Greek State for the construction of the department Patras-Pyrgos of Olympia Odos in GREECE.

As the construction and operation of the Patras-Pyrgos section will be incorporated in the existing concession contract with the concessionaire Olympia Odos SA, the Commission also evaluated and approved the implementation in the Patras-Pyrgos section of the existing toll sharing mechanism under the contract. , as well as the conditional extension of the concession period for 3 years.

This funding will allow part of the trans-European road network to be completed and operational, without distorting competition.

The Executive Vice President, Margaret Vestager, in charge of Competition Policy, stated that “the construction of the Patras-Pyrgos section of the Olympia Odos will contribute to the development of the relevant areas and economic activities in these areas. “This decision allows Greece to support the construction of this important infrastructure, which is part of the trans-European road network and is also expected to significantly improve road safety conditions in the region.”

Greece has notified the Commission of its plans to provide public support to Olympia Odos SA for the construction of the 74.5 km long Patras-Pyrgos section of Olympia Odos. Olympia Odos SA is also the concessionaire of the Elefsina-Patras section of Olympia Odos, which is already operating. Olympia Odos connects the region of Attica with the Western Peloponnese.

The public support will consist of: (i) A grant of EUR 216.6 million, (ii) a higher share of toll revenue for the concessionaire under the concession contract to support certain agreed and contractual maximum costs, and a return reflects the construction of the additional section and (iii) a possible three-year extension of the concession period under the contract in the event that the concessionaire does not achieve a certain return by the end of the current concession period.

The Commission has assessed the measure in accordance with Article 107 (3) (c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which allows state aid to promote the development of certain economic activities or economic zones.

The Commission found the following:

– The aid will contribute to the development of the economic areas, which are mainly served by the Patras-Pyrgos section: Western Greece and the Peloponnese. It will support a number of economic activities and support investment and job creation in these areas, improving the interoperability, accessibility and safety of the road network.

– Support measures are necessary and proportionate for the implementation of the project. In particular, Greece has shown that i) public funding, which will cover part of the construction costs, does not exceed the funding gap, ii) the amount of aid is based on reasonable cost estimates, compared to those of other highways and iii) public funding financing allows the concessionaire to return in accordance with market conditions. Therefore, the positive effects of the measure on the contribution to the development of economic areas and activities outweigh the limited negative effects on distortions of competition and the impact on trade between Member States.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the public funding provided for the construction of the Patras-Pyrgos section of the Olympia Odos is in line with EU state aid rules.

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