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Brussels, 8 October 2009

Commission warns Member States over lack of implementation of the 'first rail package'

The European Commission has sent reasoned opinions to 21 Member States today, regarding their failure to implement properly the legislation called 'first railway package'. Important issues remain to be solved for opening up the railway markets to competition in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia .

After sending letters of formal notice to 24 Member States in June 2008, a number of them have modified national rules in order to comply with Community law. The Commission entered into dialogue with all Member States. This dialogue was aimed at identifying possible solutions in a constructive way. More than one year after the letters of formal notice, despite the progress made by most of them, the majority of Member States still does not fully comply with the relevant EU Directives 1 . Following the reasoned opinions sent today, Member States should go further in the reform of their railway systems, for the benefit of both railway undertakings and consumers.

In the reasoned opinions, the Commission highlights shortcomings such as:

  • the lack of independence of the infrastructure manager in relation to railway operators;

  • insufficient implementation of the provisions of the Directive on track access charging, such as the absence of a performance regime to improve the performance of the railway network, the lack of incentives for the infrastructure manager to reduce costs and charges and of tariff systems based on the direct costs of rail services;

  • the failure to set up an independent regulatory body with the necessary powers to remedy competition problems in the railway sector.

1 :

Directives 91/440/EEC as amended, 95/18/EC as amended and 2001/14/EC

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