Boosting Europe’s railways: new harmonised procedures across EU will make rail more attractive and competitive

As of Saturday 31 October, the European rail sector will benefit from new harmonised procedures reducing costs and administrative burdens. These new rules complete the Fourth Railway Package, a series of measures to make European railways more efficient and competitive. Commissioner for Mobility and Transport Adina Vălean said: “Tomorrow marks an important day for the European rail sector – the transposition deadline for the rail safety and interoperability directives. The full implementation of Fourth Railway Package across the whole EU is key to boost rail transport. Therefore, I count on the Member States which haven’t transposed it yet to do their outmost to fulfil this obligation very soon. The implementation of its technical pillar will significantly simplify procedures and reduce costs for railway undertakings operating across Europe. We are making rail more efficient, safe, affordable and thus more competitive vis-à-vis other modes of transport. This is a big step on our way to decarbonise Europe’s transport sector and to make rail more attractive ahead of 2021 – the European Year of Rail.” The new rules will contribute to higher levels of interoperability, greater reliability and network capacity of the European rail sector. For example, the new simplified processes will create more competitiveness and innovation in the sector by making it easier for rail companies and manufacturers to operate or sell innovative technology in more than one Member State. Additionally, it foresees a stronger role for the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), which will become Europe’s single certification body for rail vehicles and railway traffic operators as of 31 October. Within its new role, the Agency will take responsibility for vehicle authorisation, safety certification, and European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) trackside approval across all Member States. More information is available here.