The Fourth Railway Package is the European Commission's legislative proposal to increase the efficiency of the European Rail System. UNIFE is heavily focused on the Technical Pillar of the package which would bring major cost and time savings for the rail supply industry.

On 30 January 2013 the European Commission published the proposal for the Fourth Railway Package. The package consists of the so-called political pillar (Directive on the Single European Railway Area and the governance of the infrastructure, Public Service Obligation Regulation) and the technical pillar (Interoperability and Safety Directives, ERA Regulation). The objective of the Fourth Railway Package is to increase the efficiency of the rail system in Europe by both introducing and facilitating competition in the railway sector and lowering administrative, technical, and operational barriers to improve efficiency.

For the European rail industry the technical pillar is of extreme importance. It will reform the way authorisations are issued in Europe and help create an internal market for rail products. With the Fourth Railway Package, the authorisation process in Europe would become more centralised, ensuring that common European procedures are followed across the EU. The European Railway Agency would become a one-stop-shop for multi-country authorisations, issuing authorisations for the entire intended area of use. In this process, the National Safety Authorities would continue to play a role. For the rail industry it is however important that the Agency will take the final decision to avoid a deadlock in case of disagreement between a National Safety Authority and the Agency.

The technical pillar also brings other benefits for the entire rail sector. One is the reduction and eventual elimination of unnecessary national rules which would reduce the cost of authorisation significantly and bring Europe closer to a Single European Railway Area.

The rail sector in Brussels has for several years requested such a reform of the authorisation and safety certification system in Europe. The rail industry expects that the technical pillar of the Fourth Railway Package will bring significant cost reductions for the sector at large and alleviate unnecessary administrative burden. For this reason, the rail industry hopes for the adoption of the technical pillar as soon as possible and a swift implementation of the new system.


For more information, please contact:
Nicholas Schrimpton
Technical Affairs Manager
+32 2 626 12 69