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4th Railway Package: removing barriers for better passenger service and more jobs

Date

26 Feb 2014

Sections

Transport
The European Parliament has adopted a legislative package that will make domestic railway markets more efficient. Dubbed ‘the Fourth Railway Package’, these 6 legislative proposals should ensure efficiency and achieve technical harmonisation by removing costly national rules.
 
While the markets for freight transport by rail and international passenger services have already been opened, national domestic passenger markets still remain closed. With domestic rail passenger services accounting for more than 94% of the EU rail passenger market, this means huge untapped potential for growth. Unlocking the domestic markets could lead to 250 000 new jobs and a better service for passengers.
Only 6% of passengers opt for travelling by rail, while this is one of the least polluting modes of transport
Mathieu Grosch MEP
 
Mathieu Grosch MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the European Parliament's Transport Committee and Rapporteur on the amended Regulation on opening the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail, is glad that many of the hurdles that hamper the competitiveness of Europe's railways are cleared with the adoption of the 4th Railway Package. Grosch: “Only 6% of passengers opt for travelling by rail, while this is one of the least polluting modes of transport. To make rail travel more reliable and attractive, passenger service needs to be improved with more efficient connections and more choice. The key to achieving this is to ensure better cross-border transport by eliminating a great part of the national rules that make rail transport unnecessarily expensive and cumbersome.”
Currently, there are over 11 000 different national technical and safety rules in the 28 Member States, which greatly hampers competition and leads to excessive administrative costs
 
The Fourth Railway Package aims to solve the problems of fragmentation and closed markets by:
 
    Guaranteeing operators the freedom to provide domestic passenger transport services across Europe
    Ensuring the transparency of the financial flow between infrastructure management and network operations
    Improving public service obligations by establishing mandatory efficiency criteria (such as the number of passengers, punctuality, frequency and customer satisfaction) instead of making all public service contracts subject to mandatory tendering procedures (as was originally proposed by the European Commission)
    Establishing harmonised European technical standards: currently, there are over 11 000 different national technical and safety rules in the 28 Member States, which greatly hampers competition and leads to excessive administrative costs. Establishing a single EU-wide authorisation for railway vehicles and locomotives and enhanced cooperation between the national safety authorities and the European Railway Agency will put an end to these problems. The single certification system will save operators time, since certification should be finalised in three months (as opposed to the current duration of two years) and it will save around 2 million Euro. 
 
Mathieu Grosch concludes: “Those who complain about the current situation in the railway sector and about insufficient service and expensive tickets, forget all too quickly that this sector is 90% governed by national rules. It is too easy to blame Europe – the Member States also have to take on their responsibility."
  
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
 
MEP Contacts
Mathieu GROSCH
BRU - Tel: +32 (0)2 2845229 Fax: +32 (0)2 2849229
STR - Tel: +33 (0)3 88 175229 Fax: +33 (0)3 88 179229
 
Press Contacts
Greet Gysen
Phone: +32 497 02 80 54

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