Positions 11 Sep 2018

Implementation of the 4th Railway Package

This section groups together CER’s publications concerning the implementation of the Fourth Railway Package’s Technical Pillar (which entered into force in June 2016) and its Market Pillar (part of which entered into force in December 2016 and the rest in December 2017).

The Technical Pillar 

A one-stop-shop for cheaper, faster and simpler certification and authorisation processes

The transformation of the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) from an Agency drafting technical regulation to an operational European railway authority is the key element of the technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package. It is a definite milestone in the creation of a single European railway area. Especially in case of cross border operation, it will now be part of the Agency’s duties to grant safety certificates and vehicle authorisations. By harmonising the certification and authorisation processes and fostering the cooperation between ERA and the national safety authorities (NSAs), the authorisation for placing a vehicle on the market or the safety certification of a railway undertaking will become leaner, simpler, more transparent and in the end less expensive. For purely national applications, the applicant will have the choice to address its application either to ERA or to the NSA. In this case, the same processes will have to be followed except that if the applicant addresses his application to the NSA, ERA will not be involved.

Shared responsibilities between ERA and NSAs in one single work stream

As of June 2019, all applications for safety certification and vehicle authorisation will be submitted through a single electronic portal – the one stop shop – for cross border and also for national operation. In case of cross border operation, ERA will assess the part with European relevance in close cooperation with the NSA who will assess the national rules. When issuing vehicle authorisations, the authorities will continue to rely on the technical assessments carried out by the Notified Bodies, Designated Bodies and Assessment Bodies from the Common Safety Methods on Risk Assessment. This means that the applicant will not need to address the NSAs individually any longer and will benefit from a coordinated approach by ERA based on new lean, harmonised and transparent processes.

Keeping on top of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS)

For the first time, a single entity in Europe, the Agency, will have centralised oversight of the ERTMS implementation. The approval issued by ERA, before a NSA will grant its authorisation, will ensure the harmonised implementation of ERTMS trackside and the interoperability at Union level.

The Market Pillar

Getting closer to the adoption of the Implementing Regulation setting out the Economic Equilibrium Test (EET) procedure

In accordance with Article 11 of Directive 2012/34/EU, as amended by Directive 2016/2370/EU – the so-called Governance Directive of the Fourth Railway Package’s Market Pillar – Member States may limit the right of access to passenger services when public service contract(s) cover the same route, in cases where the economic equilibrium of the public service contract(s) would be compromised. In order to determine whether the economic equilibrium of the public service contract(s) would indeed be compromised, the relevant regulatory body(-ies) need(s) to carry out the Economic Equilibrium Test (EET).

As a part of the implementation of the Market Pillar, the European Commission is preparing the Implementing Regulation laying down the procedure and criteria for the application of the EET. In particular, the Implementing Regulation defines when and how the regulatory body should be notified about intended new services, the deadline for requesting the EET, the information that may be requested in order to perform the EET, the procedure, time-frame and content of the EET, the assessment criteria and possible outcomes of the EET. According to Article 10 of the draft Implementing Regulation, the economic equilibrium of a public service contract shall be considered as compromised when the proposed new rail passenger service would have a substantial negative impact on: (i) the profitability of services that the railway undertaking operates under the public service contract, and/or (ii) the net cost for the competent authority awarding the public service contract. In its analysis, the regulatory body shall refer to the public service contract as a whole, not to individual services operated under it, over its entire duration.

The draft of the Implementing Regulation was subject to a public consultation from 20 April until 18 May 2018. The updated draft of the Implementing Regulation modified based on the feedback received during the public consultation will be presented to the SERAC for voting in September 2018 following the comitology rules. According to Article 1(7)(d) of the Directive 2016/2370/EU (which amended Article 11(4) of the Directive 2012/34/EU), the European Commission has to adopt the Implementing Regulation by 16 December 2018.

Relevant position papers
CER Press releases
GRB Guide

GRB Guide to the 4th Railway Package Technical Pillar (November 2017)