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C 57/40 EN 29.2.2000Official Journal of the European Communities
Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on:the ‘Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community’s railways’,the ‘Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 95/18/EC on the licensing of railwayundertakings’,the ‘Proposal for a Council Directive relating to the allocation of railway infrastructurecapacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure and safetycertification’ andthe ‘Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community’s railways’
(2000/C 57/06)
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS,
having regard to the list of Commission proposals pending at 1 May 1999 for which the entry into forceof the Treaty of Amsterdam entails a change of legal basis and/or procedure (SEC(1999) 581 final);having regard tothe Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 91/440/EEC on the developmentof the Community’s railways and the Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 95/18/EC onthe licensing of railway undertakings and the Proposal for a Council Directive relating to the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure and safety certification [COM(1998) 480 final — 98/0265 — 98/0266 — 98/0267 (SYN)];having regard tothe Proposalfor a Council Directive amending Directive 91/440/EEC onthe developmentof the Community’s railways [COM(95) 337 final — 95-0205 COD ex(SYN)];having regard to the decision taken by the Council, announced in its letter of 3 May 1999, to consult theCommittee of the Regions on this matter under Article 265, first paragraph, and Article 71 of the Treaty establishing the European Community;having regard to the Bureau decision of 15 July 1999 to issue an opinion on this subject, and to askCommission 3 — Trans-European Networks, Transport, Information Society — to prepare it;having regard to the Draft Opinion (CdR 58/99 rev. 2) adopted by Commission 3 on 15 July 1999(rapporteur: Mr Tabakı´dis, GR, PSE);having regard to the decision of the Plenary Assembly on 16 September 1999 to refer the matter back toCommission 3;having regard to the decision of Commission 3, at its meeting on 24 September 1999, to ask therapporteur to include several amendments from Mr Bellet,adopted the following opinion at its 31st plenary session on 17 and 18 November 1999 (meeting of 18 November).1.
Introduction
every constituent part of it, i.e. every mode of transport, mustbe used to the best possible effect and developed in accordancewith its own particular characteristics, especially its comparati-1.1. Each mode of transport has its own particular role tove advantages. Such an objective is in keeping with theplay in meeting transport needs in the Community. Sometimesunanimous concern to establish a better balance between roadthe various means of transport complement one another andand rail transport for ecological and social reasons.sometimes they compete. It would be of great benefit tosociety ifthere weremorecoordinationand meansof transportwere more complementary, providing a transport system 1.2. Discussions on the various means of transport shouldbe based on common rules, both within the Member Statesworthy of the name. If a transport system is to be effective,
 
29.2.2000 EN C 57/41Official Journal of the European Communitiesand between the various sectors. Such common rules are the gradually cease to be a protected market and should operateinaframeworkwhichismorecloselytailoredtomodernneeds.principles on which pricing is based, such as the principles of non-discrimination, transparency etc. However, the necessary improvement in the performance othe rail sector must be done while maintaining at least thehigh level of safety now achieved, and with no worsening inworking conditions. Safety must be the priority of the new legal framework for railways, with an obligation to achieve1.3. The aim of the European Union is to achieve balancedcertain safety standards; each Member State would be free todevelopment of a system based on the real needs and actualchoose the means for doing so. As in the case of sea and aircharacteristics of European society, such as geographical,transport, such liberalisation should be achieved in stages, ineconomic and political conditions. Railways play a particularly conjunction with the necessary accompanying measures, butimportant role in this framework, and it is a role which shouldwithout the step-by-step approach being used to justify be increased. The continued development of rail transport isunwarranted, or even detrimental delays. Each stage of liberali-important socially (large number of jobs), economically (ex-sation of the rail sector should be followed by an assessmentports, trade) and environmentally, as it can make a substantialof the impact of the various measures on rail companies andcontribution to environmental policy in the transport sector.on society in general. The COR considers it essential, with theadoption of the three Commission directives, for impactstudies to be drawn up in each Member State and region andfor their findings to be assessed, as well as the impact of the1.4. European citizens generally are becoming increasingly directives in force. Particular attention should be paid to theaware of the need to support and promote a policy of issues of segmentation, designing a European transport areaenvironmental protection without at the same time impedingbased on north-south routes that would be liable to furthereconomic integration and progress. Priority must be given tomarginalise isolated and peripheral regions, and pressure onthe railways as a way of promoting sustainable development.the environment, etc. in a moregeneral contextof enlargementIn this sense, any political project should be aimed atinvolving the progressive entry of the CEECs into the Europeantransferring transport activities (passengers and freight) fromUnion.road to rail.1.5. In addition, one of the more important advantages orail transport is the better level of safety compared with othermodes of transport. Safety must be part of a Europeantransport policy.2.
General comments
1.6. For all these reasons the railways need to win back themarket share which they have lost in recent years. Between1990 and 1995, taking all 15 EU Member States together, railtransport dropped from 18,8 % to 14,4 % in terms of freight2.1. The European Union has already adopted three directi-tonne kilometres and from 6,8 % to 6 % in terms of passengerves on reform of the rail transport market: 91/440/EEC on thekilometres. Should divergent trends be noted in some Memberdevelopment of the Community’ s railways, 95/18/EC on theStates, the reasons for such differences in performance willlicensing of railway undertakings, and 95/19/EC on thehave to be evaluated.allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the chargingof infrastructure fees. These directives followed on from theWhite and Green Papers on the Community’s railways.1.7. Rail transportshouldbemademoreattractive,especial-ly for long-haul journeys. Its competitiveness should beenhanced through a package of measures covering all aspectsof the rail market, i.e. the quantity and quality of infrastructure,pricing for infrastructure use, reliability of service, ensuring2.2. The aim of all these measures is to open up the marketcontinuity of the rail network, agreements on customs formali-to new railway undertakings, which will be able to use theties where non-EU countries are involved etc.existing infrastructure. With this in mind, the first step, takenwith Directive 91/440/EEC, was to separate the accounts forinfrastructure management from those relating to the provi-sion of rail services. This makes the cost of using the railwaysmore transparent, thus creating the conditions for fair and1.8. An important factor in the further development of therailways is their position in relation to road transport, their objective charging for infrastructure use. In other words, theuser will be called on to pay the actual cost of transport, somain competitor. Liberalisation has enabled road transport(like air transport) to become more competitive, making those that railways can operate on healthier terms for society as awhole. In practice, countries have found different ways of markets distinctly flexible. The rail sector should likewise
 
C 57/42 EN 29.2.2000Official Journal of the European Communitiesseparating accounts. Some Member States (France, the UK, 3.
Proposals
Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Portugal and the Netherlands)have set up two different bodies, one responsiblefor infrastruc-ture and the other for transport, while others have one‘integrated’ body. Under this arrangement, the same legalperson is responsible for infrastructure and transport, and3.1.
Amendment of Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of 
accounts are separated either by assigning the two functions
the Community’s railways
to two different departments (as in Austria, Germany, Italy,Spain and Belgium) or simply by publishing separate accounts(as in Luxembourg, Greece and Ireland). It should be notedthat when separate accounts are drawn up by a single3.1.1. The basic idea behind the proposed amendment isbody only the profit and loss accounts are separated; thethe full and obligatory separation of the body managing theCommission, however, proposes requiring separate balanceinfrastructure from any railway undertaking. The provision of sheets to be drawn up as well. The Commission also proposestransport services thus becomes a purely commercial activity that separate accounts be kept for passenger transport (whereand follows market rules, except in the case of transportthe Member States can impose public service obligations) andservices that have a public service function. Member States andfreight transport (which has a more commercial character).regions always play a central role: laying down norms andmonitoring observance of the rules. They manage the infra-structure and hence control its development, the necessary investment, future planning, the observance of safety require-ments and the smooth operation of the rail market generally.3.1.2. It is also proposed to separate passenger transportfrom freight transport, at least for accounting purposes. Thisseparation is important, as it enables different criteria to be2.3. Railways are therefore beginning to take a commercialapplied to each case, i.e. freight transport will have a clearerapproach, something which was previously lacking in theirand stronger commercial slant, while passenger transport willmethod of operation. Another important step in this directionin some areas be strongly competitive and in others fulfil ais ensuring free access to the infrastructure. The basic termspublic service function. This separation would give the finan-for such access are specified in Directive 95/18/EC, which layscial aspect of the different types of transport the necessary down the conditions for railway undertakingsaccess totransparency.the market. Lastly, Directive 95/19/EC lays down the basicprinciples which are to apply uniformly to all undertakings inthe sector, not only in relation to pricing, but also in relationto the allocation of capacity, which is often limited or else3.1.3. The development of national railway infrastructuressaturated. The COR asks the Council and the Europeanand the corresponding national markets is thus governed notParliament to assess the impact of implementing the Directivesonly by economic cost/benefit factors but also by moreon sustainable development in Europe’s regions, especially duegeneral considerations to do with national and social interests,to the payment of infrastructure user charges, deterioration of economic cohesion and regional development. These factorsregional public services, domination of trans-European freight,should be taken into account in applying any measures.which will take priority over all other users, possible closureof rail links to certain less-developed regions, and concentra-tion of economic activities in what are now the wealthiestregions.3.1.4. Some Community countries with special geographi-cal or geopolitical features should be treated differently whenit comes to the development of their rail transport markets.Each region of the Community should be examined in thelight of its particular circumstances, without this jeopardisingor having a negative effect on Community plans to reform therail transport market.2.4. The European Commission’s philosophy is that, inorder to reorganise the railways and increase their share of the3.2.
Proposal amending Directive 95/18/EC on the licensing of 
passenger and freight market, the aim should in practice be
railway undertakings
one of close cooperation with all railways, especially in theinternational freight sector, the international passenger sectorand the national freight sector. The European Commission’sproposals for new Directives (amending 91/440/EEC, amen- 3.2.1. Under the proposed Directive, railway undertakingsproviding the services referred to in Article 10 of the existingding 95/18/EC and replacing 95/19/EC) are moves in thisdirection. Directive 91/440/EEC are obliged to obtain a licence from the

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