EU agrees on Fourth Railway Package Technical Pillar

Europe’s Transport Ministers have reached agreements on three texts of the Fourth Railway Package which are designed to remove the administrative and technical barriers that hinder the development of European rail networks.

The texts made up the package’s Technical Pillar which focuses on the harmonisation of technical standards across Europe in order to improve interoperability and open up more opportunities for the supply chain.

Over a four-year period, the technical pillar will take away the responsibility of certification from national safety authorities and move to having a single safety certificate issued by the European Railway Agency.

European rail supply chain body UNIFE welcomed the announcement, stressing the magnitude of the problem the legislation is aiming to fix.

In a statement it said: “The differing authorisation processes in Europe lead to inefficiencies, lengthy procedures, double testing and administrative burden, which all impose high costs for the rail sector and make the authorisation process unpredictable in a number of member states.”

The agreement marks another milestone in the package’s progress though the European Parliament. As well as the Technical Pillar, the Fourth Railway Package aims to liberalise closed markets and break up monopolistic national structures.

Philippe Citroën, director general of UNIFE, said: “We would like to use the occasion of this positive development on the Package to once again urge the European institutions to adopt the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package during the Italian Presidency – as this legislation would lead to major cost savings for the industry as well as massive improvements to rail transport throughout the Union.”