Europe demands more transparency on railwaysFeb 24th, 2012 | Category: Articles, Current Issue ID, February 12, Policies & Strategies
The national regulatory body should be completely independent and ensure an open and transparent railway transport market. This body should act on its own initiative, to investigate disputes and monitor the market evolution. These are the requirements expressed at European level for the consolidation of railway transport.
“National regulatory bodies should create, under the auspices of the Commission, a network to consolidate the cooperation between them by elaborating joint principles and through the exchange of good practices and information. In particular situations, these bodies should also coordinate the principles and practices based on which a potential risking of the economic balance of a public service obligation is evaluated. In Europe, they should progressively develop joint guidelines based on their own experiences”, is stated in the amendments submitted to the approval of the European Parliament by rapporteur Debora Serracchiani, amendments which underline the need to set up railway regulatory bodies as soon as possible. The objective is to consolidate the role and independence of the regulatory body and cooperation between national regulatory bodies. Based on the experience of the regulatory body network, the Commission should submit a draft law for the establishment of an European regulatory body.
To ensure loyal competition between railway undertakings, a difference has to be made between delivering transport services and operating service infrastructures, which are essential for the delivery of transport services by railway undertakings. In this situation, it is necessary that these two types of activities should be managed independently, as distinct legal entities, as well as in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner. This independence does not entails the set up of a separate body or company for every services infrastructure. The amendment justification refers to the fact that railway-related services, essential for transport operators should be delivered transparently and in a non-discriminatory manner so that railway undertakings will benefit from a fair access to those services. For an improved transparency in the railway sector, the European Commission has to monitor the exploitation of the networks and the evolution of framework conditions in the railway sector, especially the track charging system, distribution of capacities, railway infrastructure investments, the evolution of prices and quality of railway transport services, as well as the railway transport services included in public service obligations.
Moreover, national regulatory bodies will exchange information on the activity, principles and decision practices and collaborate in other areas as well in order to benefit from joint decisions all across the Union. For this purpose, these bodies collaborate within a network which holds frequent meetings at the invitation of the Commission and under its chair. The Commission also ensures the active cooperation between regulatory bodies.
[ by Elena Ilie ]