22 May 2013

CLECAT calls on European Parliament to support proposals for a Single European Railway Area

In anticipation of the debates on the 4th Railway Package taking place in the Transport Committee of the European Parliament next week, CLECAT has briefed MEPs on its position on the Commission proposals. CLECAT calls on the EP not to tackle any of the elements of the Package separately, but to ensure that they will be implemented as a package, to create the real internal market for rail services that will bring greater efficiency and a greater degree of innovation.

Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT said: "We welcome the package, because it closes gaps left by the previous three packages and finalises the arduous way towards a single European railway area. To save time and costs, trains and rolling stock should be built to a single standard and certified once to run everywhere in Europe. However, a technical approach only will not do the job. On market governance, it is very clear that in order to provide fair and transparent access to the tracks the two functions of managing the tracks and running the trains should be kept separate. CLECAT supports the extension of the Infrastructure Manager's functions to development, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure and the requirement relating to the independence of the IM. CLECAT has, however, reservations regarding the possibility for Member States to maintain vertically integrated structures and is of the opinion that separation remains the best way to enhance equal access to infrastructure, as it provides for a simple, clear and transparent basis for a single market for rail services.

Ms van der Jagt continued: "Our members have a growing interest in exploring the opportunities of rail freight today and in the future. However, we do believe that the success in achieving an increased share of rail freight in the future depends on fair competition and open access in the rail freight market through the development of sound business models and efficient internal management that must be achievable within the framework of a modern rail market legislation. This can be best achieved by separating the ownership and management of the network from the operation of services.

In order to compete with the road sector many of the solutions rest in the hands of the industry and customers themselves. It is also very clear that nothing will work without the full implementation of the Recast of the First Railway Package and the adoption of the 4th Railway Package. In the end, this can either save rail freight and make it more attractive to the industry, or otherwise lead to a further decline. Therefore CLECAT calls on the European Parliament and Council to support the 4th Railway Package as an integrated and holistic approach to revitalise rail freight without delay."

The CLECAT position paper is available here.

For more information, please contact:

Nicolette van der Jagt

Director General