Step back in the fragmentation of state railway monopolies from the EU
The European Commission announced its final plans for the integration of railway services and took a step towards reconciliation with countries such as France and Germany. In this context, the traditional state companies will be able to maintain the railway infrastructure as well as passenger and cargo services.
The Commission has stepped back in its plans to create a more competitive market and to further separate railway operations, giving flexibility to EU countries on the road to transporting passengers and goods to railways.
The offers allow countries with the dominance of traditional state rail systems such as Germany and France to have companies that offer infrastructure, cargo and passenger services, provided that they allocate financial and management operations. Britain, Sweden and some other countries prefer a system in which infrastructure is managed separately from trains.
The German Deutsche Bahn (DB) company provides services in the fields of infrastructure, passenger and cargo and is aggressively competing in Europe in the field of high-speed services. The DB campaigned against the complete separation of operations.
Kallas: Reforms 'radical'
Siim Kallas, the Commission's Vice President in charge of transport, said the EU's Fourth Railway Package was 'quite radical' and said they found a 'satisfactory balance' between those wishing to open the market more and those who favor 'vertical' systems like the WB's. .
Allas If you propose [laws] to change things in Europe, you are facing tremendous pressure from all sides, K Kallas said at a press conference.
Allas Germany is a very large country on transport issues, and Germany always has its own opinion, K Kallas said. But in general, we all finally cooperated. There are some different opinions about the company structures, but we have done a very good cooperation on other issues' he said.
Building on previous initiatives, the package calls for full passenger competition by 2019 and strengthening its role by paving the way for the European Railway Agency (ERA) to issue safety certificates for trains operating in the EU.
The package also aims to improve inter-country operations by building a network of infrastructure managers who build and maintain railways. This issue is considered to be one of the obstacles to expanding and modernizing routes spread across the continent.
There are more roads to the common market
25 years have passed since the introduction of the first legislative package to bring more competition to the European market and to create uninterrupted travel and cargo connections in the 12 EU country with railway. Malta and Cyprus do not have a railway.
Many countries continued to protect existing railway companies from competition, and technical problems prevented progress in this area, as was the case for failures in areas such as airlines and roads.
Railways are seen as the most advantageous way to overcome the traffic intensity experienced by aviation in automobiles and pollution caused by vehicles. However, the demyels continue to have a relatively low market share with 6 for passenger services and 10 for cargo services.
In the EU, there are 212 million kilometers of highways and 5 thousand 42 inland waterways versus 700 thousand kilometers of railways.
In the process of preparing the new proposals, there was increasing disagreement over the options for the Commission to divide integrated companies, such as in Germany, or to move towards a model similar to that in the UK where infrastructure and railway operators were separated.
Germany pressed the Commission to follow its own model, which was also used in Austria, the Czech Republic and France. Germany's approach was also supported by a European Court of Justice's decision, 6, issued in September.
In the UK, the 1990s have broken down the UK Railways system to allow competition from the private sector, while separating infrastructure operations from all other rail services. The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and some other countries followed similar paths.
The German Mofair group, representing private railway companies, called on the Commission to adhere to its separation plans.
Wolfgang Meyer, the chairman of the group, wrote in a letter to the Commission: 'If the Commission deviates from the first proposals it offers in the fourth railway package, the common market issue in the railway sector in Europe will be a thing of the past. Given the superiority of Deutsche Bahn, we think that other member states will face the following alternatives: reuniting the railways and closing their markets to other railways; to support railways with state resources and thus start a race for subsidies; or to transfer the railway companies to Deutsche Bahn.
François Coart, President of the European Railway Cargo Association, urged the Commission not to step back from its plans to separate railway and infrastructure operations to encourage competition in the EU. Coart, in a letter to Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso prior to the announcement, called on the Commission to adhere to its initial plans for 'financial, economic and legal independence of infrastructure managers'.
The letter, 'No regulation or regulatory organization, the market can not open as a model separated' said.
The Commission's proposals do not prevent companies such as the DB or the French SNCF from continuing their operations as long as they separate their management and finances. The offers also allow countries after 2019 to prevent companies from entering their markets if they do not comply with the Commission's competitiveness guidelines.
Before the Fourth Railway Package, which had to go through the legislative process, the following proposals were submitted:
- 2001: The first railway package that forms the basis for the liberalization of cargo transport and interoperability.
- 2004: The second railway package that sets 2007 as the deadline for competitive rail freight and develops a common approach to railway safety.
- 2007: The third railway package calling for the liberalization of international passenger services at 2010 and presenting a passenger rights declaration.
- 2012: Parliament adopted a modified version of the first package, which combines the regulations of 2001, 2004 and 2007 and strengthens the control of regulations and the performance of infrastructure operators.
Source : http://www.euractiv.com.tr