The European Parliament's transport committee today voted on a series of legislative proposals on the European rail sector (the '4th railway package') and decided to start negotiations with the Council. The Greens welcomed the proposals on rail safety and EU-wide authorisation procedures for rail vehicles. After the votes, Green transport spokesperson and European Parliament draftsman/rapporteur on rail safety legislation Michael Cramer said:
"These new rules will ensure a common approach to rail safety, ending the current inefficient national patchwork and strengthening the safety of our railways.
"Crucially, the European Railway Agency (ERA) will become a one-stop shop for the approval of railway equipment and the safety certification of railway operators. This will end the current myriad of more than 11,000 national rules, which add costs and administrative burdens and undermine moves towards more environmentally-friendly rail transport. Currently rolling stock worth €1.2 billion is waiting for authorisation in the EU.
A broad majority of MEPs has voted to support this common-sense approach, which will ensure proper coordination among national rail authorities, overseen by the European agency.
"With trains travelling across Europe, railway safety clearly transcends borders. MEPs have today voted to recognise this in giving broad support for a European security certificate.
"We now expect EU transport ministers to endorse this common sense approach."