Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2004 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM (98) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 711 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1754 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1410 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1209 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]
In its Opinion of July 1997 the Commission expressed the view that Slovakia had made progress in adopting the Community transport acquis, but that considerable progress was still required with regard to road haulage (market access, safety standards and taxation) and railways, where the effective implementation of the acquis would have to be monitored. Provided the situation in those two sectors improved, the Commission did not consider that the transport sector should pose serious problems as regards adoption of the internal market acquis. The Slovak Republic needed to take steps to ensure that the basis was laid for extending the future trans-European transport network to include the acceding countries, and to reinforce administrative structures at all levels, including supervisory bodies.
The November 1998 Report emphasized that Slovakia had to make further efforts to harmonise legislation in the fields of air, road and rail transport and with regard to the safety of road transport and combined transport.
The November 2000 Report stressed that despite limited progress, much remained to be done in most areas of transport, notably rail and road transport. Considerable adaptation and strengthening of the administrative structures was also necessary.
The November 2001 Report stated that in spite of an improvement in the overall level of alignment with the acquis, major efforts were still required in this connection.
The October 2002 Report notes that Slovakia has made further progress in the transport sector. Nonetheless, major improvements are still required in relation to road haulage (particularly market access, safety standards and taxation) and rail transport, where the effective adaptation of legislation needs to be monitored.
The 2003 Report concludes that Slovakia needs to complete the alignment of its legislation in the areas of rail, inland waterway, air and maritime transport. Slovakia needs to reinforce its administrative capacity in the rail sector and to prepare for the significant investments which will be needed in transport infrastructure
Community transport policy consists of initiatives in three fundamental areas.
The Europe Agreement provides for harmonisation of Slovak 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.
Regarding horizontal issues, in January 2000 the Slovak Government approved the "Updated Principles of the State Transport Policy" which take account of EC (European Community) principles on the development of trans-European transport networks (TEN), the interoperability of the trans-European high-speed rail system and the financing of TEN. Slovakia has 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 Slovakia. At present, 40% of the planned corridor motorways are completed. However, harmonisation with the acquis on TEN and interoperability will require further regulatory measures beyond the level of Government resolutions.
Regarding road transport, new legislation to align with the acquis was adopted concerning vehicle road worthiness tests. Partial alignment was achieved in respect of driving licences (training of drivers and instructors) and dimensions and weights of vehicles. As regards fiscal issues, partial legislation has been achieved through amendments to the Road Tax Act which entered into force in January 2000. In July 2000, the Slovak Government approved a concept for the transformation and privatisation of state-owned bus companies. However, substantial efforts to accelerate transposition and implementation are needed on many parts of the road transport acquis, for example in the field of fiscal harmonisation, social rules, safety and the environment (including weights and dimensions) of vehicles. The multilateral INTERBUS agreement on the occasional carriage of passengers by bus, was signed by Slovakia in 2000. New legislation on vehicle registration and corresponding certificates entered into force in 2001.
In 2002, the Road Law came into force, harmonising vehicle taxes. New regulations entered into force aimed at aligning Slovak legislation on admission to the occupation of road transport operator. Transport licences will now be granted for a maximum period of 5 years. However, further efforts are required in order to ensure enforcement of legislation, in particular as far as the social and technical acquis are concerned. Administrative capacity is in place, but further strengthening should continue, especially by increasing the number of staff and training specialised staff in key supervisory and control functions.
With regard to trans-European transport networks, in 2001 the Slovak Government approved the national regional development plan for 2001-2006. This sets out in detail the development plans for transport infrastructure in different regions of Slovakia.
In 2002, the Slovak Government approved the construction project connecting Viedenska Cesta and Pristavny Most, which is intended to improve the quality of the transport corridor in Bratislava and reduce the heavy traffic on the existing roads in the area. However, administrative capacity needs to be reinforced in the road and rail sectors in order to prepare for the significant investments that will be needed.
In relation to rail transport, in 2000 the Slovak Government approved a project for transforming and restructuring Slovak Railways (ZRS), and putting in place the conditions for liberalising the rail transport sector. In accordance with the 1999 restructuring plan, Slovakia needs to adopt and implement new legislation in order to achieve further alignment to the acquis; notably as regards management independence for railway undertakings, access to the rail infrastructure and transit rights, a sound financial basis for undertakings, separation of accounts for infrastructure and operation services, as well as licensing and allocation of infrastructure. It also needs to establish the Railways Regulatory Authority.
As regards inland waterways, further alignment has been carried out through the adoption in September 2000 of a new Inland Waterways Act. The Act, which transposes provisions on access to the profession and mutual recognition of qualifications, entered into force in 2001. Legislative alignment was still not complete in 2003, in particular as regards safety advisors for the transport of dangerous goods, reciprocal recognition of navigability licences, technical requirements for inland waterway vessels and systems of chartering and pricing.
In the field of air transport, negotiations between the EU and Slovakia on the multilateral agreement to establish a European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) led to the signing of a bilateral protocol at the end of 1999. However, Slovakia will have to accelerate the establishment of an independent air traffic accident investigation body and also reinforce air safety.
The new Civil Aviation Act, which entered into force in 2002, introduces the conditions for independent investigations of civil aviation accidents, the conditions of access to the ground handling market at Community airports, and common rules on the allocation of slots. Full membership of the Joint Aviation Authorities remains to be achieved through the implementation of an action plan.
As regards maritime transport, though Slovakia is landlocked, its legislation needs to be fully aligned with the maritime acquis and incorporate provisions concerning the "Erika" package.
Overall administrative capacity in the transport sector should be strengthened through an adequate clarification of tasks and proper coordination between the various ministries involved in the legislative process. The necessary independent bodies should be established, legislation should be applied correctly by the competent bodies and the administration should be provided with sufficient qualified human resources and information technology to carry out the tasks deriving from the acquis in the proper manner.
This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.