On 19 April, negotiators for the EP and the Council reached an informal agreement regarding the remaining elements of the 4th railway package. The package is a set of 6 norms and it covers technical, as well as “market” and governance elements. Agreement on technical issues has already been reached, the recent deal on the governance matters clears the way for swift adoption of the whole package. The package further liberalizes rail transport services in the EU. The technical part provides for a strengthened role for the EU body responsible for type approvals of rail vehicles. Once the package is in force, only a single type approval issued by the European Railway Agency will be needed for operators to do business in the whole EU. By harmonizing several other elements, a true single railway area will be created. The governance part of the package on the one hand strengthens the principle of independence of infrastructure operators from train service providers. On the other hand, it mandates gradual liberalization of all remaining domestic services across the EU – as of 2020, any EU railway operator will be allowed to open a “commercial” service anywhere in the EU. Starting from 2023, member states will be required to tender all public rail service contracts in transparent competitions opened to all EU rail operators.
Provided that the EP and the Council approve the informal deal and officially adopt the corresponding pieces of legislation, the whole package should be in place by autumn 2016.
26th February 2018
9th March 2018