Sunday 18 May 2008

EU TFEU: Aids for public transport

Public funding for transport services remains allowed under the EU Treaty of Lisbon, as it currently is according to the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC).


Article 93 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is found in the consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, OJ 9.5.2008 C 115/86:

Part Three ‘Policies and internal actions of the Union’

Title VI TFEU ‘Transport’

Article 93 TFEU
(ex Article 73 TEC)

Aids shall be compatible with the Treaties if they meet the needs of coordination of transport or if they represent reimbursement for the discharge of certain obligations inherent in the concept of a public service.


In Article 2, point 71 of the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) the intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007) mentioned Article 72 TEC and in point 72 it laid out the amendments to Article 75 TEC. Thus, there are no specific amendments to Article 73 TEC (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/68).

The TFEU table of equivalences tells us that Article 73 TEC first became Article 73 TFEU (ToL), but later renumbered Article 93 TFEU in the consolidated version (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/210).


Article 73 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is found under Title V ‘Transport’ in the latest consolidated version of the current treaties (OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/71):

Article 73 TFEU

Aids shall be compatible with this Treaty if they meet the needs of coordination of transport or if they represent reimbursement for the discharge of certain obligations inherent in the concept of a public service.


We can see one horizontal amendment, when ‘this Treaty’ has been replaced by ‘the Treaties’ in accordance with Article 2, point 2(b), of the Treaty of Lisbon.


Article III-136 of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe referred to compatibility with the Constitution, but took over the rest of the text of the current Article 73 TEC (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/54).


Article III-238 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe adopted the text of the European Convention without change (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310/106).


In other words, the only changes proposed during the different stages have been technical adjustments.


We now check our modest conclusions against how others who have scrutinised the Lisbon Treaty have informed ratifying parliaments and the public.

United Kingdom

Professor Steve Peers covered the Treaty of Lisbon in a number of Statewatch Analyses. ‘EU Reform Treaty Analysis no. 3.3: Revised text of Part Three, Titles I to VI of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): Internal Market and competition’ (Version 2, 23 October 2007) includes the current Title V Transport.

Peers highlighted the differences between the current Article 73 TEC, the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, but found no need to comment on Article 73 TFEU (ToL), to be renumbered Article 93 TFEU in the consolidated version (page 21).

The analysis 3.3 and other useful Statewatch analyses are available through:


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offers a convenient source of brief annotations on Lisbon Treaty amendments in ‘A comparative table of the current EC and EU treaties as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon’ (Command Paper 7311, published 21 January 2008). The comment on Article 93 TFEU, Article 73 TFEU (ToL) in the original Lisbon Treaty, is short and to the point (page 11):

“In substance the same as Article 73 TEC.”

The FCO comparative table is available at:


The UK House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/86 ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Community’ (published 6 December 2007) wrapped up Transport in a brief comment on page 56:

“F. Transport

Title V, Articles 70-80 (Constitution Articles III-236 – 245) are on transport and are based largely on Articles 70 – 75 TEC, but with a change in the voting procedure to the OLP with QMV, except for Article 72, which replaces unanimity in the Constitution Article III-237 with a “special legislative procedure”. Other, minor, changes are Article 75(c), which adds the EP to those bodies to be consulted, and Article 78 (Constitution Article III-243), allowing the Article concerning German unification to be repealed after 5 years.

Present Articles 154 – 156 on Trans-European Networks (TENS) have been moved to Title VII and contain only minor amendments.”

The Library Research Paper 07/86 is available at:


The House of Lords European Union Committee report ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: an impact assessment, Volume I: Report’ (HL Paper 62-I, published 13 March 2008) may not have found a substantially unchanged provision like Article 93 TFEU worthy of special mention, but for the reader who wants to understand the framework, the Committee’s discussion about ‘Services of General Interest’ from page 221 to page 222 may be helpful.

The report is accessible at:



The consultation paper of the government of Sweden, ‘Lissabonfördraget; Statsrådsberedningen, Departementsserien (Ds), Ds 2007:48’ published 20 December 2007, bundled together transport and trans-European networks under the headline ‘Transporter och transeuropeiska nät’ (page 280 to 282).

The text offers an overview of the coming Title VI ‘Transport’ and mentions the fairly small amendments, but understandably has nothing specific to say about Article 73 TFEU (ToL), the future Article 93 TFEU.

The consultation paper ’Lissabonfördraget’ is available at:



Even the methodical Finnish ratification bill, ‘Hallituksen esitys Eduskunnalle Euroopan unionista tehdyn sopimuksen ja Euroopan yhteisön perustamissopimuksen muuttamisesta tehdyn Lissabonin sopimuksen hyväksymisestä ja laiksi sen lainsäädännön alaan kuuluvien määräysten voimaansaattamisesta’ (HE 23/2008 vp), is content to give only a brief explanation of Articles 73 and 74 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Articles 93 and 94 TFEU (page 206).

The Finnish ratification bill is available at:

The Swedish language version of the ratification bill ‘Regeringens proposition till Riksdagen med förslag om godkännande av Lissabonfördraget om ändring av fördraget om Europeiska unionen och fördraget om upprättandet av Europeiska gemenskapen och till lag om sättande i kraft av de bestämmelser i fördraget som hör till området för lagstiftningen’ (RP 23/2008 rd), offers the same brief explanation on page 208.

The ratification bill in Swedish can be accessed at:


From the angle of treaty change – the objective of this posting – Article 93 TFEU is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

But, in real life fundamental EU principles and great economic interests are at stake: general rules on competition and state aid (including regional and local governments), as well as services of general economic interest, form the background for adaptations to the transport sector.

Ralf Grahn

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