Written by Jaan Soone,
In the first weeks of the coronavirus crisis, the lockdown and border closures halted most passenger services in road and rail transport and left road hauliers to face uncertainty and very long waiting times at many border crossings.
With the pandemic easing, some passenger services resumed in certain EU countries from late April onward, and with the introduction of ‘green lanes’ the situation at border crossings stabilised allowing smoother passage for road hauliers. Nonetheless, the initial estimates of the costs to the transport sector are immense and the impact is expected to continue well beyond 2020.
The EU took a number of steps in the early stages of the crisis to alleviate the situation and to provide relief to the transport sector. As the situation progressed, the European Commission introduced further measures to help coordinate the exit from confinement and safely restart transport services. The Commission has also tabled a European recovery plan with a number of new instruments, which will allow the provision of assistance to key sectors, including the transport sector. The European Council reached a political agreement on the recovery fund on 21 July.
To support their economies, EU governments have introduced a number of economy-wide measures, but also sector-specific measures, including for transport and tourism, as well as support for individual transport companies. The Commission has further enabled governments to use State aid to help firms in difficulty by putting in place a temporary framework for State aid.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Road and rail transport and coronavirus: Mapping the way out of the crisis‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.