Brussels, 5 June 2014
Rail Transport: Simplifying procedures to achieve a Single European Railway Area
The European Commission welcomes the political agreement reached today at the Transport Council on the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package. The Technical Pillar includes three proposals of a comprehensive package of measures to deliver better quality and more choice in railway services in Europe: interoperability and safety directives and a new set of rules for the European Railway Agency.
Rail is a vital part of EU transport, with a key role in addressing rising traffic demand, congestion, fuel security and decarbonisation. But the rail sector is fragmented in national markets that entail a huge variety of rules and procedures for manufacturers and railway undertakings.
The Technical Pillar of the Fourth railway package addresses reforms that simplify procedures for manufacturers and railway undertakings bringing down rail operation costs.
Vice President Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Transport said: "If we want a competitive rail sector, providing better and affordable services to the citizens in order to be able to compete at international level, we have to complete the rail internal market. This will only be possible if we remove the remaining technical barriers, increase economies of scale, decrease administrative costs, accelerate administrative procedures and avoid discrimination. I hope the success achieved today with the Technical Pillar will be followed by the other proposals of the Fourth Railway Package so that we can boost the rail sector and revitalise this declining market."
Simplification and effectiveness of procedures
The European Commission's objective is to cut the administrative costs of rail companies and facilitate the entrance of new operators into the market.
With these proposals, the European Rail Agency will become a "one stop shop" issuing EU wide vehicle authorisations for placing on the market as well as EU wide safety certificates for operators. Currently rail vehicle authorisations and safety certificates are issued by each Member State.
These measures would allow a 20% reduction in the time to market for new railway undertakings and a 20% reduction of the costs and duration for the authorisation of rolling stock. Overall, this should lead to a saving for companies of €500 million by 2025.
The Council will start the discussions on the Market Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package until a political agreement is reached. Subsequently, the negotiations between the Council and the new European Parliament will start. The European Parliament already voted on all six elements of the Fourth railway package in its plenary meeting on 26 February.
Further information on the Fourth Railway Package:
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