EU rail reform
EP votes to improve regulation of rail sector
"The EP has today voted to ensure rail can fulfil its potential and guarantee sustainable, cheap and safe transport for EU citizens. Strong, independent regulators are a necessary precondition for a healthy rail sector and we welcome that the EP has adopted a number of measures aimed at promoting this. Crucially, MEPs voted to ensure regulators are independent and sufficiently staffed and funded. Railway operators will be given the option to appeal to the European Commission if a national regulator does not deliver a timely response.
"MEPs also supported Green proposals aimed at dealing with some of the social and environmental problems of rail transport. Noise-dependant route prices and EU funding for retrofitting of older, noisy trains would help ensure quieter railways. The EP also supported proposals to ensure railway operators have choice as regards their energy supplier in order to avoid discrimination through higher electricity prices for private competitors."
Green transport spokesperson Eva Lichtenberger added:
"We welcome that MEPs agreed to postpone the question of unbundling until the end of next year when the Commission will present a legislative proposal on the relationship between infrastructure and railway services. Unfortunately, the EPP and S&D groups nonetheless managed to include an ambiguous new provision on the separation of financial flows that is open for interpretation. This may keep the Transport Council from concentrating on the implementation of strong and independent regulators in all member states and thereby possibly delay the creation of the Single European Railway Area."