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IP/11/296

Brussels, 14 March 2011

Rail safety: Commission asks Austria, Estonia, Germany and the UK to transpose EU rules on rail safety indicators

The European Commission has asked Austria, Estonia, Germany, and the United Kingdom to notify their national implementing measures regarding Common Safety Indicators for railways. These four Member States are the only ones not to have notified the Commission on their national legislation complying with a directive on Common Safety Indicators for railway safety and common methods to calculate accident costs. The directive will make it possible to compare railway safety performances across the EU and to spend public money more efficiently to increase safety. This could significantly help to protect rail passengers better in the future. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If these countries fail to inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure full compliance with the directive, the Commission could refer the case to the Court of Justice.

The EU rules

Commission Directive 2009/149/EC amending Directive 2004/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards Common Safety Indicators and common methods to calculate accident costs was adopted on 27 November 2009. In accordance with Directive 2004/49/EC, information on Common Safety Indicators has to be collected to facilitate the assessment of the achievement of the Common Safety Targets. The Common Safety Targets should be accompanied by an assessment of the economic impact in terms of society's acceptance of risk.

The main purpose of Common Safety Indicators is to measure safety performance and to facilitate the economic impact assessment of Common Safety Targets. Therefore, it is necessary to move from indicators related to costs of all accidents borne by railways to indicators related to the economic impact of accidents on society. This makes it easier to allocate resources more efficiently. In addition, common definitions for the Common Safety Indicators make it possible to make comparisons between different Member States, which was not possible in the past, as definitions varied from country to country.

The practical effect of incorrect implementation

Not implementing the Directive would make it difficult to assess the impact of accidents and to compare railway safety in different Member States, which could even result in a lower level of railway safety. In addition it could mean that resources are not allocated in the most efficient manner and that consequently public funds are being wasted.

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/162


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