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Spain to Lodge Anti-Competitive Complaint Against French Rail Operator Ouigo

 |  June 27, 2024

Spain is preparing to lodge a complaint with the European Commission against French low-cost rail operator Ouigo, citing anti-competitive practices since the liberalization of the high-speed rail network at the end of 2020. Spanish Transport Minister Óscar Puente announced on Thursday that the complaint, to be filed by Spanish public rail operator Renfe, will bypass the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) in favor of a higher authority.

“We want to go to the European Commission and have it make a ruling,” Puente stated in an interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

Earlier this year, Puente demanded “responsibility” from SNCF’s Spanish subsidiary regarding its business model, accusing the company of “price dumping.” He also criticized the Spanish-Italian operator Iryo, alleging that the practices of both operators had negatively impacted Renfe’s financial performance. Puente claimed that their French and Italian competitors were “losing a tremendous amount of money.”

Additionally, Puente pointed to a “lack of reciprocity” from French authorities, arguing that they have made it difficult for Renfe to penetrate the French market.

Meanwhile, French public rail operator SNCF announced last week that it would add an extra high-speed train connecting Barcelona and Paris during the summer months. This expansion will increase the service from two trains daily to three, running from July 6 until September 1 to accommodate the rise in passenger numbers over the summer.

The route, operated by SNCF’s TGV Inoui brand, connects Barcelona and Paris with stops in Girona, Figueres, Perpignan, Narbonne, Montpellier, and Nîmes. The journey from Barcelona Sants to Paris Gare de Lyon takes 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Source: AP News