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Disputes over Eurotunnel charges will be resolved: CFO

Arguments between Eurotunnel and the European Commission over the fees it charges for operators to use the tunnel will be sorted out, Emmanuel Moulin, chief financial officer of Eurotunnel, told CNBC.


Eurotunnel, the channel tunnel operator linking the U.K., France and Brussels, is currently embroiled in a battle with train operator Eurostar over the level of charges to use the tunnel.

In June, the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, requested lower charges from Eurotunnel for passenger and freight trains, saying that excessively high track-access charges had resulted in higher ticket prices for Eurostar.

The Commission threatened the U.K. and France, which regulate Eurotunnel, with legal action if it did not cut costs. However, Eurotunnel said in a statement last month that it had commissioned its own independent report in an attempt to prove that that the current access charges were "highly competitive."

"We need to explain to the European Commission that as a company which is 100 percent privately financed we need to recover our cost and the cost of our investment, that is why we have set the tariff –which are not very high but it's obvious that between us and Eurostar there are always some discussions over tariff but clearly they are set at a reasonable rate for a private company."

"We are explaining this to the European Commission. The U.K. and French governments are supporting us in this, and we are convinced we will convince them," Moulin told CNBC.

He added that the tunnel operator was confident of a continued recovery in the region, with the U.K., "leading the way in Europe."

"I think that we are witnessing a gentle recovery," Moulin told CNBC on Thursday. "Eurotunnel is mostly exposed to the U.K. market and we see in the U.K. economy a strong recovery."

He added, however, that the euro zone crisis was still taking its toll on the continental economy and contributing to a high level of debt in the region.

CNBC Global CFO Council

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