Written by Damiano Scordamaglia,
Put forward by the European Commission in 2013, the fourth railway package comprises six legislative proposals to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of rail across the European Union.
It aims to remove the remaining institutional, legal and technical obstacles, and create a truly integrated European Railway Area.
The legislative process on technical proposals (known as the technical pillar) presented few difficulties, and the measures were adopted in April 2016.
Negotiations on the liberalisation of rail markets and governance structures (known as the market pillar) proved more complex. After a provisional agreement reached by the Parliament and the Council in April 2016, the European Parliament is scheduled to confirm the agreement in a vote at its December plenary session (second reading).
Once adopted and implemented, the fourth railway package is expected to give a new impetus to rail services across the EU, support economic growth and contribute to meeting the objectives of the Commission’s 2011 White Paper on Transport.
See two relevant EPRS publications on the topic:
- Topical digest on Railway policies in the EU
- At a glance note on Fourth railway package: Market pillar
Listen to podcast ‘The Fourth Railway package [Policy Podcast]‘