MEP Zile: More choice in the railway sector

Dec 14, 2016


The European Parliament has today adopted new rules to further liberalise Europe’s rail market and improve its governance. The European Commission had introduced the so-called fourth railway package in January 2013, yet it was finally adopted today by the house in Strasbourg.

The railway package consists of two segments: the technical pillar (voted in April 2016) and the market pillar (adopted today). The new rules aim to drive competitiveness and the quality of rail services by removing administrative costs while at the same time introducing more competition in domestic passenger services and ensuring a level playing field for operators.

European Conservatives and Reformists transport coordinator Roberts Zile from Latvia, who also was a rapporteur for the regulation on the European Railway Agency part of the package – adopted in the summer – welcomes the definitive deal that finally concludes the work over the course of almost four years.

“Among the many benefits introduced by this new approach I would emphasize the importance of choice. Choice is good. More choice is even better. A more competitive environment will lead to better quality rail services that has to improve the environmental aspect as well,” explains Zile.

The MEP further underscores that these rules and better choice in particular are not designed only to benefit customer needs, but also to improve a number of other aspects of great importance such as public service contracts, non-discriminatory access to tracks for new railway companies, financial transparency in order to remove the risk of cross-subsidisation between infrastructure managers and transport operators.

With the opening of domestic rail passenger service markets, the 4th Railway Package will complete the internal market for rail transport, with more competition and more market players (railway companies). This would also help the rail sector to become more attractive for passengers and more competitive amongst other modes of transport.