UNIFE welcomes agreement on 3rd Railway Package
Brussels, Belgium – The European Parliament and the Council have finally agreed on a compromise on the 3rd railway package on 20 June 2007. This compromise still needs to be confirmed by the plenary of the Parliament (in September) and by the Council of Ministers, but this is usually a purely formal step.
The agreed package includes three pieces of legislation:
- Proposal for a Directive amending Council Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community’s railways. This text opens up the market for international passenger services by rail as of 2010. The Commission will make an assessment of the situation no more than two years after the directive enters into force, to see if further liberalisation to include domestic services, should be envisaged;
- Proposal for a Directive on the certification of train crews operating locomotives and trains on the Community’s rail network. Train drivers will have to hold a certificate stating that they meet minimum requirements relating to medical fitness, basic education and general professional skills. These conditions could be later extended to other train staff performing safety-critical tasks;
- Proposal for a Regulation on International Rail Passengers’ Rights and Obligations. All train passengers (both on domestic and international journeys) will enjoy basic rights such as company liability for luggage or the right to travel of people with reduced mobility, from 2009. Extended rights such as compensations for delays will be granted for international services. Member States may exempt long-distance domestic rail services from these extended rights for 5 to 15 years, whereas urban, suburban and regional services may be granted an indefinite exemption.
UNIFE welcomes this agreement that will speed up the integration of railway networks, reinforce safety and improve quality of services and interoperability. These elements will enhance the competitiveness of rail passenger operations, and create new opportunities for operators to develop their international business and optimise their fleets.
Additional background information (provided by Infrasite’s Editorial Staff)
EU Transport Council endorses 3rd Railway Package (2007-06-25)