European Parliament backs railway sector reform along with the new “Zīle-Matīss Regulation”

Apr 28, 2016


New legislation approved by the European Parliament on Thursday regarding Europe’s railway reform will allow improvements to security and interoperability of railways in the European Union and cut costs. The new law enables the industry to authorise new rolling stock and get security certification with the EU Railway agency.

The Regulation of the European Union Agency of Railways, that repeals the previous law, has been steered through the European Parliament by Latvian ECR member Roberts Zīle- coordinator in the Transport and Tourism committee. The new act – a component of the adopted technical part of the so-called 4thRailway Package- is also cited as ‘the Zīle-Matīss Regulation’ for the reason that the informal agreement with Council on this technical part has been reached during the Latvian presidency in June 2015 while Matīss was Latvian Minister of Transport.

Speaking after the adoption of the act, the rapporteur Roberts Zīle MEP said:

“The ECR in the European Parliament has always been the strongest promoter of the Single Market and now thanks to our mutual effort and hard-fought agreement the railway market in the EU will be much more open, more competitive and friendlier to market players, moving towards a single European rail area.”

“It goes without saying that in terms of the Single Market there is always a way towards improvement, nevertheless this is a very good progress.”

Based on this three-dossier legislation together steered by three rapporteurs, one important aspect is that rolling stock manufacturers and railway companies which provide their services across the European rail network will not have to authorise their rolling stock with 28 national agencies separately. Instead, authorisation of rolling stock, as well as safety certification of undertakings, will be provided by one European Railway Agency. But if the vehicles will be used in only one country, operators and manufacturers will have a choice of submitting applications to either the ERA or the respective national authorities.

The new regulation will also bring improvement of the technical capability of railway infrastructure including signaling and other parts of the rail system, as the ERA will be given a stronger role to pre-authorize European Railway Traffic Management System trackside projects.

Coming from Latvia Roberts Zīle also emphasizes the historical aspects of rail networks with different track gauges, saying that: “Baltic States and Finland are much better integrated in 1520 mm gauge system which covers Russia and CIS countries than in the European rail network. The 4th Railway package will help to gradually integrate these countries in the European network as well.”
These changes won’t happen by tomorrow but with the years to come there will be significant improvement in the railway market, said Zīle.