you're reading...
PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Fourth railway package still divides Member States

Written by Ivana Katsarova

The fourth railway package was proposed by the Commission in January 2013. This is the latest in a series of reforms over the past 15 years that have led to deep-seated changes in the rail sector aimed at improving the quality of services, cutting their cost and creating greater interoperability within the European railway area, while provoking a radical rethink of public monopolies in the rail sector. Spurred on by the EU, European railway companies have gradually opened up to competition. Freight transport has been fully liberalised since 2007 and passenger transport has been partially opened up (for international connections only) since 2010.

Fourth railway package still divides Member States

© Alain Besancon / Fotolia

With the fourth railway package, the Commission wants to take the process a step further. It proposes that, by December 2019, rail companies must be granted access to domestic passenger services in all EU Member States. In addition, it requires the functions of owning/operating the infrastructure to be separated from that of providing train services to customers, whether through institutional separation, or through a vertically integrated (holding) company, to ensure the necessary legal, financial and operational separation.

Furthermore, public service contracts will no longer be excluded from competitive tendering. This obligation will be subject to a value threshold, however, below which there can be a direct award if the costs of tendering would exceed the expected savings in public funds. Lastly, the procedure for vehicle authorisation and certification, from now on to be done on EU-wide scale by the European Railway Agency (as ‘a one stop shop’), would be simplified, cutting costs and shortening administrative deadlines.

While the Council of the EU is far from a common vision on the proposal, the Parliament adopted its first-reading position in February 2014. However, the plenary did not follow the Transport Committee, drawing criticism from various stakeholders.

This briefing updates an earlier one of March 2013.

Read the whole Briefing here

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Download the EPRS App

EPRS App on Google Play
EPRS App on App Store
What Europe Does For You
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,302 other followers

RSS Link to Members’ Research Service

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy.

For a comprehensive description of our cookie and data protection policies, please visit Terms and Conditions page.

Copyright © European Union, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: