EU has in recent years decided to increase competition in rail transport. Finland opened the domestic rail freight to competition in early 2007 in accordance with EU requirements.
During the year 2010 international passenger services were opened to competition in the EU. The changes have not yet had any immediate impact on Finland, since it is not possible to travel by train from Finland directly to another EU country.
The EU Commission announced in January 2013, a proposal for the EU's so called fourth railway package, a draft Act on the rail market and interoperability and safety of the railway system. Under this package, Finland planned to open up the domestic passenger services to competition 2019.
However, the Finnish traffic Ministry and VR-Group Ltd, decided recently to extend the VR Group's exclusive rights to domestic railway passenger services in Finland until the year 2024.
Previously, exclusivity agreement applied only until 2019.
The decision is motivated by “that Finnish rail network does not offer opportunities for real competition, as well as to the rules for the opening of competition are not fully accomplished yet at the European level”.
In return VR undertakes comprehensive vehicle investments. The VR Group agreed to run so-called mandatory operational traffic worth up to EUR 20 million per year until the end of 2019 and not exceeding 21 million per year by the end of 2024.
Source: Finnish Communications Ministry
(Photo: Wikipedia, Credit: JIP)
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