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Italian Presidency makes partial contribution to Fourth Railway Package and adopts conclusions on transport infrastructure

4 December 2014  •  Author: CER

On 3 December, European Transport Ministers adopted a set of Council conclusions on transport infrastructure and the Trans-European Transport Network, in the context of the upcoming review of the Europe 2020 strategy as well as a Progress Report on the Political Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcomes these steps as they address fundamental market drivers which will contribute to the growth of the European rail sector.

CER welcomes the adoption of the Council conclusions on transport infrastructure and the Trans-European Network, which feed into the upcoming review of the Europe 2020 strategy. The conclusions rightly stress the role that investments in transport infrastructure and networks play in boosting growth and creating jobs in Europe. In this context, CER is closely following ongoing discussions about finding sustainable and cost-effective ways of funding and financing infrastructure projects, with a particular focus on the completion of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Nonetheless, CER believes that the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) remains the most appropriate instrument to fund infrastructure investments in the context of TEN-T projects, and is therefore of the opinion that any other new initiatives in this area should not lead to a reduction in the commitments that are contained in the CEF Regulation.

CER also notes the Progress Report that the Council adopted on the so-called Political Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package. This report provides a solid basis for further discussions which will continue in the course of 2015. Market opening is supported by most delegations, while the award mechanisms in place for Public Service Contracts will demand further detailed discussions. In the same dossier, most national delegations share concerns over the definition of Public Transport Plans as well as on the way in which fair access to rolling stock has to be guaranteed by local Competent Authorities. The re-establishment of the notion of “essential functions of the infrastructure manager” is backed by many delegations and it was asked that different governance models be put on an equal footing.

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “The Italian Presidency has conducted several discussions on the Political Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package over the past months. The national delegations used these opportunities to voice their opinions on the Commission proposal. Many of the concerns expressed reflect those of the European rail sector. We want a single European open market for rail, with a legislation that offers balanced conditions for all types of services. CER is ready to contribute to carving out the most accurate and efficient legislative solution“.

He added: “We are now looking forward to the Latvian Presidency giving priority to the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package as the instrument that will enable significant cost reduction in railway technologies”.

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