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Brussels, 5 May 2010

Rail transport: Commission warns Bulgaria over lack of implementation of the 'first rail package'

The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria today regarding its failure to properly implement the 'first railway package' legislation. Bulgaria will need to solve important issues relating to its system of railway track access charges.

The EU rules

The directives of the first railway package foresee that charges for railway track access should be set, in principle, at the cost that is directly incurred as a result of operating the train service.

The reason for today's action

After the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria in June 2008, the country made a number of modifications to its national rules in order to comply with EU law. However, there are still shortcomings in relation to the implementation of the rules on track access charging. The Bulgarian infrastructure manager did not implement a methodology for the calculation of charges which would comply with the railway directives.

The practical effect of non-transposition

The EU rules on track access charges aim to encourage an optimal use of the rail infrastructure. A lack of transposition may lead to access charges which would exclude segments of the market which may at least pay the cost directly incurred as a result of operating the train service. It may also lead to unjustified discrimination between market segments.

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