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Latvia

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2005 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 704 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 506 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 706 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1749 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1405 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1203 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

In its Opinion of July 1997, the Commission expressed the view that Latvia had made notable progress in assimilating the acquis in the transport field, particularly as regards air transport. Provided efforts were made in the road haulage (access to profession, weights and dimensions, road tax), shipping (safety) and rail (public service and standardisation of accounting procedures) sectors, the transport industry was unlikely to pose any major difficulties with the assimilation of the acquis with regard to the internal market. However, Latvia would be advised to improve its administrative structures, including inspection bodies (for example those responsible for safety), as soon as possible.

The November 1998 Report stated that Latvia had continued its ambitious programme of transposing and implementing the transport acquis effectively in the transport sector and had also set clear targets for the next few years. It also highlighted that the administration had developed satisfactory enforcement capacities.

In 1999 the Commission found that Latvia was continuing its ambitious programme to transpose and apply the acquis in all transport-related areas, particularly the railways. The administration had been further reinforced with the establishment of new institutions necessary for the successful implementation of the acquis. Further attention needed to be paid to the enforcement of maritime safety, where it appeared from figures that both the flag State administration and the port State control mechanisms needed to be improved, and to establishing an independent investigation authority for civil aviation accidents.

The November 2000 Report highlighted the fact that progress had been made on alignment with the acquis in the fields of road and maritime transport. An independent authority for the investigation of civil aviation accidents was established in order to meet the requirements of the acquis regarding administrative structures. A first set of measures was taken in order to improve the performance of the administration in the field of maritime safety.

The November 2001 Report stated that Latvia was well advanced in aligning with the acquis. Several areas still required particular attention however, such as the interoperability of the Trans-European Networks high-speed railway system.

The October 2002 Report noted Latvia's efforts to align its legislation on the acquis, particularly with regard to road transport. In the area of maritime safety, the detention rate of Latvian-flagged vessels continued to improve. However, Latvia needed to focus its efforts on completing its transposition and implementation of the fiscal, social and technical acquis in the road transport sector, aligning its rail and maritime legislation and stepping up its administrative capacity in the field of maritime transport safety.

The 2003 Report noted that Latvia was essentially meeting the commitments and requirements in the areas of trans-European transport networks, road transport, rail transport, inland waterway transport and maritime transport.

COMMUNITYACQUIS

Community transport policy consists of initiatives in three fundamental areas.

The Europe Agreement provides for harmonisation of Latvian legislation with Community law, cooperation aimed at restructuring and modernising transport, improvement of access to the transport market, facilitation of transit and achievement of operating standards comparable to those in the Community. The White Paper focuses on measures for the accomplishment of internal market conditions in the transport sector, including such aspects as competition and legislative harmonisation.

EVALUATION

As regards trans-European transport networks, Latvia has continued to take into account the objectives and priorities of Community guidelines regarding investments into the priority road and rail infrastructures in North-South (Via Baltica) and East-West direction. Implementation of the first stage of the project has been completed.
In 2001, Latvia established an institutional structure to supervise infrastructure investments. After accession, this will be transformed into a body responsible for monitoring the implementation of trans-European network projects. However, administrative capacity needs to be stepped up in preparation for the significant investments that will be needed in transport infrastructure.

With regard to land transport, Latvia has continued to harmonise its legislation on the transport of dangerous goods. Legislation on roadworthiness tests was issued in February 2000. However, Latvia should continue to improve market access, pricing, fiscal harmonisation, safety, environment, and social legislation. Administrative capacity needs to be further strengthened, in particular regarding regulatory work by the Ministry of Transport.
The Road Traffic Law was amended in 2001. This law provides the basis for future secondary legislation to align with the acquis requirements concerning social legislation and recording equipment.
In 2002, Latvia also aligned with the rules on driving times and rest periods, and provided for the installation of tachographs. Latvia has ratified the INTERBUS Agreement on the international occasional carriage of passengers by coach and bus. As regards roadside checks and roadside enforcement, Latvia still has to implement its concept on control in road transport. In particular, the staffing structures and coordinating role of the Ministry of Transport need to be clarified, and adequate numbers of specialist roadside units put in place.

In the railways sector, the restructuring of Latvian railways has continued, and competition is being introduced to the sector with the granting of freight transport licences to two private companies. In October 2000, the law on public service regulators was adopted, which provides for the establishment of a regulatory authority covering rail transport. As a result, the railway sector is already largely aligned with the acquis, with only a few issues such as the transport of dangerous goods by rail remaining to be settled.
A law on carriage by rail was adopted in 2001. It regulates relations between operator and client, terms for the carriage of various goods and procedures for filling out freight consignment papers.
As part of the restructuring of the joint stock company "Latvian Railways", a separate passenger transport operator for inland transport, the subsidiary joint stock company "Passenger Train", was set up in 2002. The interoperability acquis still has to be transposed and existing legislation needs to be modified regarding charges, cross-subsidy and licensing.

As regards inland waterways, the Latvian authorities decided not to transpose the legislation as Latvia considers that its inland waterways cannot, in principle, be used for navigation. However, Latvia will, upon accession, be obliged to transpose all inland waterway directives, with possible exemptions. In 2002, legislation was adopted to ensure recognition of boatmasters' certificates. In 2003, legislative alignment was completed and administrative structures in this area were in place and satisfactory.

In the field of combined transport, no legislation was adopted. The situation regarding State aids in the transport sector remains unchanged. As concerns public service obligations, legislation on concessions in public transport was adopted in November 1999.

With regard to air transport, Latvia continued the effective harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures according to JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities) requirements. It continued to prepare for membership of Eurocontrol. Negotiations between the EU and Latvia on the multilateral agreement to establish a European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) have concluded with the signature of a bilateral protocol. In 2002, Latvia adopted amendments to the Law on Aviation transposing the computerised reservation system requirements. Full membership of the Joint Aviation Authorities still has to be achieved through implementation of the Action Plan. Enhanced efforts are needed in order for Latvia to become a full member of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Concerning maritime transport, the process of restructuring the Maritime Administration has started. In accordance with legislation adopted in May 2000, several of the functions previously carried out by the Maritime Administration have been transferred to port authorities. However, further efforts are needed regarding maritime safety, in particular strengthening both flag State and port State control. Latvia needs to reverse the trend regarding the still high detention rate of its own fleet and should ensure that a sufficient number of trained inspectors is available.
All International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions relevant to the application of the acquis have been ratified.
In the field of maritime safety, Latvia has already aligned, in full or in part, the provisions applying to ships carrying dangerous goods, passenger ship safety and port State control. However, the adoption of implementing legislation has still to be completed, notably as regards flag State and port State control, the Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS), the system of mandatory surveys for the safe operation of regular ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft services, marine equipment and fishing vessels.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

 
Last updated: 26.01.2004
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