Austria referred to European court over rail safety concerns

Austria has been referred to the European Court of Justice for failing to bring its national rail safety standards into line with EU legislation.

The European Commission said that the country was “denying the safety authority the right to revise safety certificates or authorisations following changes to the regulatory framework” and “failing to ensure proper investigation of accidents and incidents – specifically those which under slightly different conditions might have led to serious accidents”.

The EU originally set a deadline of April 30, 2006, to implement a new directive requiring all member states to “establish a safety authority, to establish accident and incident investigation bodies, and to define common principles for the management, regulation and supervision of railway safety”.

In June 2013, the Commission told Austria it needed to take action to comply with the new rules.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: “One of the EU’s key roles is to ensure equal safety standards for the well-being of rail passengers in all Member States. These standards also ensure fair competition within the internal market among all railway undertakings.”