Brussels, 17 September 2010
Commission sets out measures to improve rail services
The European Commission today adopted a proposal to provide better rail services for passenger and freight users by: increasing competition on the railway market; strengthening the power of national regulators; and improving the framework for investment in rail. The proposal for a Directive establishing a Single Rail Area is an exercise in legislative simplification and consolidation with the merger of the three directives in force and their successive amendments into one coherent text. It also aims to tackle key problem areas undermining the effective functioning of the railway market.
Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Transport said: "Europe is at the forefront of railway technology. We are in the top tier of modern rail networks. But, and it is a big but, Europe needs and deserves better rail services. We need to deliver better quality, better reliability, more choice and more innovation to passengers and freight users. That's what this package is designed to do. My aim in all of this is more competition in passenger and freight services. That will be good for passengers, good for freight users, good for very high quality rail equipment producers and good for the environment."
Three key problem areas addressed in the Directive:
1. Competition issues
The proposed Directive aims to increase competition on the rail market through more transparent market access conditions and providing easier access, for example by:
2. Strengthening regulatory supervision
The proposal strengthens the power of national rail regulators, including proposals for measures such as:
3. Strengthening the framework for public and private investment
The new rules on infrastructure financing and charging aim to develop a harmonised "financial architecture" to encourage investment. Measures proposed include:
What happens next?
Together with this proposal, the Commission adopted today a Communication presenting its strategy to complete the development of the Single European Railway Area, outlining additional initiatives that the Commission could launch in the next five years. A consultation will take place on this basis. A detailed study on opening the market for domestic passenger traffic is also published.