European Parliament makes the case for independent Infrastructure Managers
The European Parliament’s Transport Committee today discussed the draft report prepared by Ms Serracchiani on the European Commission’s proposal for a Recast of the First Railway Package. EIM, the representative organisation for independent Infrastructure Managers in Europe, welcomes the conclusions of the report which are in line with EIM’s belief that rail Infrastructure Managers should be made independent from operators, while rail regulators need to be strengthened for the rail industry to become truly competitive for the benefits of all users.
The First Railway Package was designed to liberalise international rail freight, to establish a transparent regulatory regime for the allocation of capacity and charging for access to rail infrastructure across the EU and to create a framework for the licensing of train operators in each member state. The package, adopted in 2001, thus forms the legal framework for the rail sector in Europe today. However, the European Commission feels that the First Railway Package has not fulfilled all its objectives and last year proposed a far reaching revision in order to streamline and clarify a the current legislation.
The rapporteur appointed by the European Parliament to work on this dossier, Ms Debora Serracchiani, wrote in her report that “the lack of independence of infrastructure management prevents the true transnational integration of the rail networks which continue to be managed along national considerations that are often dominated by the interests of incumbent railways undertakings. This limits in turn the attractiveness of the railway for new operators, new services and eventually customers.”
EIM fully supports this conclusion and has long argued that enhanced independency between operation and infrastructure is an efficient instrument for ensuring competition in the rail market. The essential functions fulfilled by the Infrastructure Manager are necessary for a truly open and competitive railway market and must therefore be made independent from railway undertakings.
Hendrik Abma, EIM Executive Director, said: “EIM firmly believes that independent Infrastructure Managers can bring benefits in terms of efficiency, transparency, neutrality and competition, all key elements of the EU’s rail policy. The Recast is the ideal opportunity to ensure that Infrastructure Managers are able to operate in an independent and non-discriminatory manner.”