Council’s work on the Fourth Railway Package goes in the right direction

- Brussels, Belgium, EU
Council’s work on the Fourth Railway Package goes in the right direction

Tomorrow, the EU’s Transport Ministers are set to adopt a progress report on the Fourth Railway Package at the June Transport Council. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) appreciates the momentum kept up on this file under the Latvian Presidency, which has enabled it to proceed gradually in the right direction – with some improvements still to be adopted.

Ahead of the Transport Council, CER would like to thank all Member State delegations and the Latvian Presidency for the progress made on the Fourth Railway Package. The input of many delegations has considerably improved the Commission proposal from a number of aspects, recognizing the complexity and respecting the unity of the rail system.

The current balance of positions suggests that the Council will be able, in the coming months, to agree on the framework for a stronger single European railway area. While ensuring better market access for current and future players, the Council seems to acknowledge that different governance models can coexist without detriment to fair competition between rail undertakings.

Nonetheless, a better look should be taken at Directive 2012/34/EU establishing the single European railway area, in particular at those provisions regulating financial interlinks between rail actors and the use of revenues by infrastructure managers. The Council must strive to carve out articles that forbid any illegitimate financial relations, but without limiting infrastructure managers’ capacity to attract private investments and pursue non-publicly-funded activities.

Moreover, the revised text of Regulation 1370/2007/EC on passenger services must ensure that efficient social measures are in place when domestic markets open up. It must further provide that market entry barriers such as access to rolling stock are regulated in a way that does not overcharge public budgets but, at the same time, incentivises new entrants to bid for public service contracts.

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “The Latvian Presidency has done an excellent job on the whole Fourth Railway Package. We look forward to having a final agreement between the Institutions on the Technical Pillar soon: the next trialogue will focus on the definition of implementing powers in a number of key areas and, if we want to find an agreement, the institutional prerogatives of each of the three actors should be respected. We are confident that the Presidency will make a proposal in the right direction. And of course we look forward to contributing to finding optimal solutions for the Market Pillar – this will certainly be the core of the Luxembourg Presidency’s work on rail, and we will continue to support the Council’s efforts.” 

About the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER)

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER)The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) brings together more than 70 members - European railway undertakings, their national associations as well as infrastructure companies. The membership is made up of long-established bodies, new entrants and both private and public enterprises. CER members represent about 61% of the rail network length, more than 84% of the rail freight business and about 99% of rail passenger operations in EU, EFTA and EU accession countries.

For more information, see www.cer.be or follow us via Twitter at @CER_railways

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