The European Commission (EC) has approved state aid for the Fehmarn Belt fixed link.
The project would connect Germany and Denmark via and undersea tunnel from Puttgarden in Germany and Rødby in Denmark. The tunnel would consist of an electrified, double-track railway as well as a four-lane motorway.
The decision by the EC allows for Denmark to continue with the public financing of the project due to the qualification of the project as an Important Project of Common European Interest.
“Following an in-depth investigation, we concluded that the Danish measures to support this project of common European interest are in line with EU State aid rules, as the positive effects of the project clearly outweigh any potential distortion of competition,” said executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager.
Once complete, the Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link will go towards the finalisation of the North-South route connecting central Europe and the Nordic countries.
“The Fehmarn Belt fixed link will contribute to the cross-border integration of the two regions it will connect. It will be key to complete the main North-South route connecting central Europe and the Nordic countries to the benefit of the European economy,” said Vestager.
The 19km long tunnel will be owned by Denmark and would be the world’s longest road and rail tunnel.
Rail connections between Hamburg and Copenhagen would drop from almost five fours to three hours and 15 minutes. The tunnel will also carry freight traffic.
The decision by the EC followed an appeal made by ferry lines Scandilines and Stena Line that sought to overturn the Commissions’ 2015 decision approving the public financing model.