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Brussels, 26th June 2008

Commission calls on Member States to ensure correct implementation of the First Rail Package

The European Commission sent letters of formal notice to 24 Member States today, regarding their failure to implement the First Railway Package legislation properly. As part of its duty to monitor the transposition of EU legislation into national law, the Commission came across failure or improper implementation of the legislation in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. The creation of an integrated railway market will be a key factor in boosting its efficiency and competitiveness, as well as a further step in ensuring sustainable mobility in Europe.

"Proper transposition of the first railway package is essential for creating competition in the European railway markets and increasing the competitiveness of railways in relation to other modes of transport," said Commission Vice-President in charge of Transport, Mr Antonio Tajani.

In May 2006, the Commission found[1] that, although Member States had introduced the necessary legislation, some countries needed to take further measures to ensure an effective regulatory framework as well as the satisfactory functioning of the railway markets. The deadline for implementation of the First Package was March 2003.

Following a detailed analysis of the conformity of national legislations, the Commission mainly noted shortcomings such as:

  • Lack of independence of the infrastructure manager in relation to railway operators;
  • Insufficient implementation of the rules of the Directive on track access charging, such as the absence of a performance regime to improve the performance of the railway network and the lack of incentives of the Infrastructure Manager to reduce costs and charges;
  • Failure to set up an independent Regulatory Body with strong powers to remedy competition problems in the railway sector.

[1] Report on the implementation of the First Railway Package, COM(2006)189 final of 3 May 2006

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