Brussels, 29 June 2006
Greece, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia were sent a reasoned opinion for failing to notify the Commission of any transposition measures for a Directive, which opens the market for international and national rail freight services. The transposition of this directive into the national legal framework should enable more efficient and on-time international and national services by rail, which are particularly important to make rail more competitive. The Commission will fully play its role in ensuring an open internal market for rail freight services.
European Commission Vice-President in charge of Transport, Jacques Barrot, said: ‘The implementation of this Directive is essential to creating a truly integrated railway network in the European Union. The conditions it defines will ensure better use of rail transport and infrastructure. There should be transparent and fair conditions for access to rail infrastructure’.
The Directive had to be implemented into national legislation by 31 December 2004. It aims to open the market for international freight transport by rail as of 1 January 2006 and the market for national transport by 1 January 2007 at the latest.
It is one of the measures adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in the framework of the Second Railway Package. This package aims to guarantee and improve access rights to the European rail network for national and international railway services. It also includes a Directive on railway safety and requests Member States to set up an independent rail safety authority. The package also contains the Regulation on the European Railway Agency, located in Valenciennes, France.
Once adopted in national law, legislation implementing the package will be
subject to further examination to ensure that it conforms to European
legislation and that it transposes it in full.
 Except France, which was requested to open its national market from 31 March 2006 within the framework of the Commission’s Decision on State Aid to restructure SNCF Fret, N386/2004 (See: http://ec.europa.eu/community_law/state_aids/transports-2004/n386-04.pdf ).