News 04 May 2022

Help - not hinder - public transport's ability to deliver Green Deal Goals!

In a joint statement on the proposal by the European Commission for a revision of the Interpretative Guidelines on Regulation (EC) No 1370 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road (‘PSO Regulation’), the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), together with a broad coalition of transport stakeholders, calls on the Commission to take into account the critical issues raised and to consult the sector in the further drafting process.

The PSO Regulation sets out the conditions under which transport operators can be compensated or given exclusive rights by public authorities to provide public transport services in the general interest. The Interpretative Guidelines concerning the PSO Regulation are therefore of great importance for the railway sector as they ensure coherent application of the Regulation's provisions. The coalition, composed of CCRE-CEMR, CER, EMTA, Eurocities, Polis, SGI Europe and UITP, welcomes the Commission’s initiative to revise the Interpretive Guidelines, which is needed to provide consistency and a clear framework at EU level. However, the coalition cannot support the current version of the text as it would create substantial uncertainty for the sector.

While the Guidelines can only be qualified as a soft law instrument, the revised text as its stands suggests new legal concepts and obligations which go beyond the provisions of the PSO Regulation and established judicial practice, limiting the discretion of the Member States and public transport authorities to provide, commission and organise public transport services, and affecting the well-functioning organisation of public transport in Europe.

In the joint statement, the coalition calls on the Commission not to hinder the public transport sector’s ability to deliver on Green Deal goals and to avoid undermining the respective legal framework, especially at a time when the sector’s efforts are focused on sustainable recovery from the pandemic and a just transition to a climate-neutral, resilient Europe for all.