EU transport ministers today agreed their position on the 4th Railway Package, setting out rules governing the rail sector in Europe. This paves the way for negotiations with the European Parliament to finalising the legislation. Commenting on the Council agreement, Green transport spokesperson Karima Delli said:
"It was high time that EU transport ministers finally agreed their position on the 4th Railway Package after months of delay. Negotiations with the European Parliament must begin immediately, so the legislation can be finalised. We will push for greater transparency of financial flows to make sure that public money will be used to make rail transport more efficient and environmentally-friendly.
"Today's agreement will move us closer to an agreement on the crucial 'technical pillar' of the package, which was agreed earlier in the year. We need to overcome the technical patchwork in the rail sector across Europe, so we can have a truly European rail network. This implies tackling the over 11,000 European and national rules for technical security. The authorisation of new rail vehicles can take over 2 years and cost up to €6 million. The 4th Railway Package includes crucial provisions to this end, which will improve efficiency and reduce costs by 20%. This would save €500 million for the rail sector over 5 years."