06 Oct 2014


On 8 October, EU Transport Ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss the Fourth Railway Package. In view of this important meeting, UNIFE and CER and the European Rail Industry Association (UNIFE) reiterate the European rail sector´s concerns on the lack of action on the Package’s Technical Pillar (i.e. the revision of the Regulation establishing a European Railway Agency, the Directive on rail interoperability and the Directive on rail safety).

Broad consensus has long been reached on this part of the Package and, thus, the sector urges the Italian Presidency and the Council to begin trialogues on the Technical Pillar between the Council, Parliament, and the Commission to expedite its adoption.

The adoption of the Technical Pillar will enable the rail sector to realise the benefits of more efficient procedures for vehicle authorisation and safety certification, both in terms of time and cost. Currently, it often requires months and years before new vehicles can enter into service and market entrants still face huge administrative burdens when applying for the required safety certificates. The Technical Pillar provides a new legal framework that will enhance the free and safe movement of passengers and freight on the European railway network, and help create a more competitive and fair market for rail products. This is why the Technical Pillar, and its promotion of true European processes for authorisation and safety certification is urgently needed to overcome the current cumbersome situation, and to ensure that the railway sector regains competitiveness in Europe.

The Italian Presidency has an opportunity to negotiate the Technical Pillar during its term and the European railway sector hopes that the Presidency will seize this chance to support the competitiveness of the European railway operators and the European rail industry.

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “The rail market opening is an important challenge. However it will not deliver if the technical and operational means are not available for a reasonable price within the reasonable time. Therefore, the first part in this process is to proceed with the Technical Pillar as quickly as possible. It is high time to dedicate all resources available and to open trialogue discussions right away. We cannot wait any longer!”

UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën asserted, “There has been widespread agreement throughout the sector on the reforms set forth in the Technical Pillar of the package. In order to continue to push modal shift and make railways more competitive and attractive, the efficiencies that would be created by the Technical Pillar are desperately needed and I urge the European institutions to split the Package and swiftly initiate the trialogues!”

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