The Spanish government has been ordered by the EU to recover funding given to infrastructure manager ADIF to construct a new high-speed rail test track near Malaga.
An investigation conducted by the European Commission (EC) concluded that the Spanish government had fallen foul of state aid funding rules by providing €140.7 million for the construction of a 55-kilometre high-speed test track near Malaga before it had notified the EU of its plans in 2013.
The Commission said the project did not have “an objective of common interest” and that the temporary jobs created by its construction would not contribute to the sustainable development of the region.
The Centro de Ensayos de Alta Tecnología Ferroviaria (CEATF), which was expected to cost €358.6 million to build, was designed to test very high-speed trains up to 520 km/h.
Announcing its findings, the commission said there appeared to be no commercial interest in developing vehicles above 320-350 km/h and that the test centre in Andalusia would end up carrying out the same functions as other test facilities around Europe. As a result, the public subsidy would have given CEATF an unfair advantage over its competitors.
No private investors had shown an interest in the project, said the EC, and the site was predicted to have generated “losses throughout its entire period of operation”.