Railway vehicle authorisation – sector welcomes new report

Railway vehicle authorisation – sector welcomes new report

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

On 12 July 2012, the task force on railway vehicles authorization published the final report of its work undertaken over the past 10 months. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE), the International Union of Wagon Keepers (UIP) and the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) welcome the main outcomes of the task force, which is an improved common understanding of the problems and possible solutions across the sector, including the European Commission. 


The task force was founded as a follow up of meetings being held in 2010 between European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas and the main stakeholders of the railway sector in order to discuss the progress in building a Single Railway Area. The aim of this ad-hoc short-term task force, consisting of Member States, National Safety authorities, Notified Bodies and rail sector associations (CER, EIM, ERFA, UNIFE, UIP and others), was mainly to discuss the difficulties mentioned/experienced by the stakeholders. This was done through the presentation and analysis of concrete recent cases.
The task force report which was published today summarises the conclusions of the work of the task force between September 2011 and June 2012. The document will be submitted to DG MOVE for consideration in view of possible further actions in this field.
31 recommendations have been elaborated around the following issues: 
     A. Implementation of EU law
     B. Roles and responsibilities
     C. Rules
     D. Processes


The recommendations range from: requests for implementation of the European framework by the stakeholders, enforcement of European legislation by the European Commission, need for changes of the EU legal framework by the EU institutions, provision of common understanding and dissemination by the European Railway Agency (ERA), to provision of transparency by Member States as well as harmonization and rationalisation of rules and processes by ERA and the Member States.


However, the sector associations regret that no responsibilities and deadlines are yet attributed to the individual recommendations. The sector associations, assisted by the ERA, will propose such an action plan during the summer 2012.


The vision of CER and UNIFE, recently joined by UIP and ERFA, for the future role of the ERA in European vehicle authorization is included in the recommendations.


CER Executive Director Libor Lochman added: “We welcome the task force’s recommendation that ERA acting as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for vehicles should be tested as soon as possible in voluntary pilot projects, in particular for cases of parallel authorisations and corridors. Heading for a single railway authority in Europe will finally lead to a competitive and transparent European railway market supported and supervised by a lean, competent and effective European administration.”


UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën highlighted: “UNIFE welcomes the task force results and wants to congratulate the European Commission for the good achievement. The report shows how heavily a non harmonised authorisation is impacting the railway industry on a financial basis. UNIFE strongly believes that, while the implementation of current legislation must speed up, the 4th Railway Package, with its amendments of the current regulatory framework, will bring the basis for a truly European Authorisation process in the very near future.”


UIP Secretary General Holger Segerer stated: “The recommendations of the task force confirm the sectors point of view, that in the future, a special focus must be put on the seamless and fully harmonized implementation of European regulations on rail in all European member states, without different interpretations or additional national rules. The future ERA must play a key role in this effort!”


ERFA Secretary General Pierre Tonon concluded: “CER, UNIFE, UIP and ERFA have several common interest in the European railways development. At least they strongly worked together with the Viareggio accident immediately looking for improvement and solutions through the JSG (the Joint Sector Group) approach face the European Commission, National Safety Authorities and Member States representatives. We got successes and we developed this joint approach in several other fields. An empowerment of ERA does not only mean more safety but above all more interoperability within an economic reality. ERA works could also benefit of an institutionalized relation with the clients (railway undertakings, wagon keepers, industry, infrastructure managers etc.) through a representing committee where feedback and return of experience would be exchanged and communicated.” 
The joint CER/UNIFE/UIP/ERFA position paper is available here.