Europe’s railway operators are warning transport ministers that they risk undermining efforts to create a competitive railway sector if they water down proposed legislation.
Transport ministers from the member states are to meet in Luxembourg on 16 June to discuss an overhaul of the EU’s first railway package, proposed by the European Commission in September 2010. The overhaul of legislation that dates back to 2001 aims to set out the rules for ensuring fair access to railway infrastructure, to boost the powers of national regulators and to create a favourable investment climate.
Johannes Ludewig, executive director of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), this week wrote to transport ministers and Siim Kallas, the European commissioner for transport, saying: “CER is deeply concerned about the direction the Council has taken on some crucial parts of the recast.”
Ludewig told European Voice that the Council had “emptied the whole thing of its substance”. He said the overhaul of the railway package was “of overwhelming importance” because it set out the rules for how competition was to work in practice. Ludewig singled out for criticism a proposal by the Spanish government to delay the application of detailed rules for five years after the entry into force of the recast. “We were shocked to see this proposal has large support in the Council,” he said.
At next week’s meeting, the ministers will also discuss the transport white paper that the Commission presented in March. They will also receive an update on the handling of the recent volcanic ash cloud and progress on measures to improve the security of air cargo.
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