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$10.7 billion Fehmarn Belt tunnel between Germany and Denmark gets approval

Christian Fernsby |
Public funds from the European Commission for the Fehmarn Belt tunnel between Germany and Denmark has been approved, but for less than hoped.

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Danish authorities will provide €9.30 billion ($10.7 billion) in state loans and guarantees for the first 16 years of operation, instead of €55 billion as initially decided.

The EC decision effectively gives the green light for the immersed road and rail tunnel, part of the major infrastructure project called the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link to connect the German island of Fehmarn with the Danish island of Lolland. The tunnel will cross the 18km-wide Fehmarn Belt, or Fehmarn Strait, in the Baltic Sea.

Completion of the €8.7 billion project had been set for 2028. However, the project’s approval process has been bogged down over environmental issues, especially within the German state of Schleswig-Holstein in which the southern end of 18km immersed tunnel will surface.

Denmark is completely responsible for financing the project that will replace a ferry service. Ferry operators Scandlines and Stena Line which provide services between Europe and the Scandinavian peninsula, had been arguing that the grant level to be given to whichever company operating the toll structure is based on unrealistically high traffic volume predictions.

The Fehmarnbelt link will be user-financed. Revenues from the link will go to repay the loans that financed its construction; the same model that financed the Storebælt and Øresund links. Denmark’s Parliament will decide the tolls and the operator Femern says there likely will be discounts such as weekend tickets, as is the case on the Øresund and Storebælt links.

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