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The Czech Republic

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2009 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 708 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 503 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1746 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1402 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1200 - 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 July 1997 Opinion, the Commission considered that the Czech Republic had made notable progress in adopting the Community transport acquis and that the transport sector was unlikely to pose any major problems as regards adoption of the Community single market acquis. However, it felt steps should be taken to ensure that the necessary means were provided to lay the foundations for the future trans-European transport network extended to include the acceding countries. It also noted that the Czech Republic's administrative structures, including its supervisory bodies, needed to be reinforced.

The November 1998 Report stressed the need to make efforts in the field of road transport and civil aviation. In addition, major investment was needed to improve transport infrastructure.

The October 1999 Report called for efforts to be stepped up in all areas, particularly road and rail transport, including the restructuring of the railways. Further work was needed to improve administrative structures, particularly in the field of road safety. The upgrading of transport infrastructure appeared to be advancing well.

The November 2000 Report highlighted the fact that the Czech Republic had made progress in several areas of the transport acquis. In February 2000, the Government had approved the medium term strategy for transport, telecommunications and the postal sector which reflected the medium and short term Accession Partnership requirements. However, some key measures regarding the legislation and the administrative structures still remained to be implemented.

The November 2001 Report noted that the Czech Republic had already incorporated a good part of the acquis into its legislation, in particular on road transport. Regarding railways, substantial further legislative changes, in particular to the Act on Tracks, would be required. Most importantly, administrative capacities still had to be strengthened.

The October 2002 Report notes that the Czech Republic has made further progress, particularly in terms of land transport. However, it needs to improve the operation of its domestic road haulage market (especially market access, safety rules and tax) and increase the financial transparency of the rail sector.

The 2003 Report points out that the Czech Republic is essentially meeting the commitments and requirements arising from the accession negotiations as regards trans-European transport networks, rail transport, air transport, maritime transport and in the area of inland waterways. However, the Czech Republic needs to take urgent action to improve implementation of the social and technical acquis.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

Community transport policy consists of initiatives in three fundamental areas.

The Europe Agreement provides for harmonisation of Czech 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 horizontal issues, the Czech Government approved, by a resolution, the "proposal for the development of transport networks in the Czech Republic until 2010." However, investments in the modernisation of the transport infrastructure could be stepped up, and in particular the framework partnerships between the public and private sectors. In July 2000, the State fund for transport infrastructure, which should lead to an increase in financing for the transport infrastructure, was set up on the basis of a law adopted by the Parliament.

With regard to road transport infrastructure, some progress has been made in integrating the Czech Republic in the trans-European network by speeding up construction of the D5 motorway (from Prague to Nuremberg) and by building the D8 motorway (connecting Prague to Dresden and Berlin). The Czech Republic approved the final report on Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA) of October 1999, which should form the basis for extending the trans-European networks to the Czech Republic.

As regards the interoperability of high-speed trains, the relevant EC Directive will be complied with through the amendment to the Railways Act, which entered into force in April 2000, and a forthcoming implementing decree.

In so far as road transport is concerned, further amendments to the Act on Road Transport entered into force in January and in July 2000, with the aim of adapting the Czech provisions on access to the profession. A new system of road user charges, providing for annual, monthly and 10-day vignettes, entered into force in January 2000. In April 2001, the Government approved the INTERBUS agreement on occasional bus services. Its implementation will result in partial alignment with road passenger transport acquis. However, the Act on Road Transport should be adapted concerning fiscal and social regulations and safety requirements in particular.
Moreover, a new Act on Road Communications, regulating rights and obligations of road traffic participants, and the Act on Obtaining and Upgrading Professional Competence for Motor Vehicle Driving, came into force in 2001.

Alignment with the fiscal acquis is not yet completed as regard the rules on charges for the use of infrastructure. In the area of the social acquis, legislation is in line with commitments, but implementation remains insufficient. In the technical field, implementing legislation remains to be adopted, notably with regard to speed limitation devices, driving licences, safety advisers for the transport of dangerous goods, vehicle registration documents and roadside inspections.

Regarding railway transport, the amendment to the Railways Act sets out the legal framework for a new system for the financing of railway infrastructure and public rail passenger transport and conditions for market access. However, these provisions can only be implemented once the forthcoming Act on the transformation of Czech railways has entered into force. The significant lack of progress in restructuring, in both legal and institutional terms, continues to hamper the developing acquis in this sector and also the strengthening of administrative structures and improvements in competitiveness. The Czech Railways Restructuring Act was adopted in 2002, under which the current rail operator, Czech Railways, will be divided into two entities: the joint-stock company Czech Railways and a Railtrack Administration.

In air transport, an amendment to the civil aviation Act entered into force in June 2000 which is expected to implement both the Joint Aviation Requirements (JARs) and the Eurocontrol standards. Restructuring of the Civil Aviation Authority and Air Traffic Control was started in April 2000. Negotiations between the EU and the Czech Republic on the multilateral agreement to establish a European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) were concluded at the end of 1999 and a bilateral protocol has been signed. However, independent bodies for the investigation of air accidents and the allocation of slots still have to be established. The Czech Republic became a full member of the JAA (Joint Aviation Association) in 2000. In this context, administrative capacity has been strengthened and air traffic control has been reorganised.
In 2002, an amendment to the Civil Aviation Act was adopted, providing inter alia for the establishment of an independent air accidents investigation body.

Regarding inland waterways, an amendment to the Act on inland waterways was adopted in January 2000 which aims at transposing the EU acquis on access to the occupation of carrier of goods by inland waterways.
Apart from the Inland Waterway Fund, which was still to be established, administrative structures in this area were in place and satisfactory in 2003.

As regards maritime transport, a new Act on maritime navigation entered into force in July 2000. The Act provides for further harmonisation with the acquis in areas such as cabotage, the investigation of maritime accidents and the professional competence of the crews of sea-going ships. However, the necessary secondary legislation has yet to be approved.
In 2003, the adoption of implementing legislation remained to be completed, in particular in relation to the acquis adopted under the "Erika" packages relevant to the Czech Republic.

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

 
Last updated: 08.03.2004
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