Olatz Hernández / Edurne Martínez
Friday, 5 May 2023, 13:58
The European Commission has opened a formal investigation into whether Renfe has "abused" its position as a rail giant and refused to provide data to rival train ticketing platforms.
Brussels was "concerned" that the state-owned rail operator may have violated European competition rules.
The EU executive stated that Renfe's alleged refusal to provide information such as the range of tickets, discounts and real-time data to other online ticketing platforms "could prevent other platforms from competing" with the company.
"If proven, the behaviour under investigation may infringe EU competition rules, which prohibit abuse of a dominant position (Article 102 TFEU)," a European Commission statement said.
The Commission will now carry out its investigation "in depth as a matter of priority", although it detailed that the opening of the investigation did not indicate Renfe had actually infringed the regulations.
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "Competition in the market for rail tickets is crucial to ensure customers' access to affordable rail services and to promote environmentally friendly means of transport."
According to sources at Renfe, the investigation is not unique to Spain, but is also occurring in Germany and other countries. "The global regulatory framework is changing with the liberalisation of passenger transport," they said.
The same sources said that Renfe had always worked with public authorities on all regulatory matters and, in this specific case, they were cooperating "intensively" with the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition and hoped to reach a "consensual solution".
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