Recast of the First Railway Package: the Parliament’s plenary endorses the agreement with the Council

Recast of the First Railway Package: the Parliament’s plenary endorses the agreement with the Council

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Today, the European Parliament approved the compromise text – previously agreed with the Council’s Coreper - on the recast of the first railway package. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) acknowledges the decision of the Strasbourg plenary sitting and looks forward to the final acceptance of the Council.

  

This is the second-last formal confirmation of the agreement reached by the EP and the Council in their trialogue negotiations. There are a number of points which CER certainly welcomes: all proposals which tried to insert new separation requirements between infrastructure managers and railway undertakings have been rejected, while at the same time provisions enhancing the transparency of accounts and possibilities for monitoring them have been approved; Multi Annual Contracts between governments and infrastructure managers are compulsory and may last not less than 5 years; regulatory bodies shall have the necessary organisational capacity in terms of human and material resources; non-discriminatory access to essential facilities and essential services must be granted, while at the same time there are no hyper-binding requirements for having legal entities service facilities established as separate legal entities; the application of noise differentiated track access charging is optional; derogations from charging principles are allowed for non-1435mm infrastructure managers. 
 
At the same time CER regrets that adequate financing of infrastructure managers lies under a “may” clause in the final text; also, ETCS differentiated charging have not been properly treated and are likely to penalize the majority of railway undertakings running on non-ETCS-equipped lines. Moreover the EP did not support few essential exemptions from the application of the directive (or parts of it), like in the case of the amendment tabled to the plenary by Kuhn, Zasada and Marcinkiewicz on behalf of the EPP group and regarding the broad-gauge line connecting the Polish territory to the Belarusian border. 
 
Mr Lochman added: “All in all CER welcomes the agreement. At the same time, we have to say that in many cases the text could have been improved even further if only more attention had been paid to details. In fact, the will to come to an agreement and avoid the conciliation committee did not help the institutions in reflecting always with clear minds on several among the issues at stake. Time pressure is never a good adviser. Anyhow, I want to launch an optimistic message: I believe that all stakeholders can learn some good lessons from these negotiations and I wish we will be able to find a better way of law-making with the upcoming fourth railway package. I look forward with confidence to the next discussion rounds on future legislation”.