European Commission - Press release
Transport: New rules to establish a more competitive rail market
Brussels, 16 June 2011 - Siim Kallas welcomed the agreement today by transport ministers on new EU rules setting out how competition on the rail market must work in practice by: ensuring fair access to rail infrastructure and rail-related services; strengthening the power of national regulators; and improving the framework for investment in rail.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "These new rules aim to shut loopholes in the current laws that allow discrimination against newcomers and block operators from providing new and innovative services. They will ensure that opportunities to compete exist not just in theory but in practice – to the benefit of passengers and companies who will get more choice and better quality services. The proposals are a direct response to problems where we have a lot of complaints from companies over the last ten years. With strong political will from ministers and the European Parliament I hope we can get a final agreement early next year."
Three key problem areas addressed in the directive:
1. Competition issues – ensure access to rail infrastructure and rail-related services
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 so they can enforce the law, 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?
The proposals must still be voted on by MEPs in the European Parliament at first reading before becoming law. A vote by the European Parliament is foreseen for early Autumn 2011. With strong political will, the final text could be adopted in the first half of 2012.
Vice-President Kallas will bring forward a far-reaching package of measures at the end of 2012 to further open up the rail market.