Single European Railway Area
Rapporteur: Debora Serracchiani (S&D; IT) Ordinary legislative procedure, second reading.
Ms Serracchiani presented the state of play of the negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the recast of the first railway package. She stressed the productivity of the formal and informal meetings, where many open points had been solved.
A number of issues are still under negotiation, such as certain aspects concerning the national Regulators and the creation of a future European regulatory body, access to rail-related services, exempting certain railway undertakings and infrastructure managers from the Directive’s scope or the definition of essential functions of the infrastructure manager. On other points – more stable financing of rail infrastructure, monitoring tasks of the Commission – progress has been achieved in the last round.
A number of Members took the floor, all supporting the Rapporteur in her work. For all groups strong national regulators were of crucial importance together with closer cooperation at the European level. For many, this should eventually lead to a European regulatory body.
On the issue of unbundling, there was wide support for maintaining a strong rendez-vous clause covering the separation of infrastructure management from transport operations as well as the opening of the domestic passenger market. The Commission should come forward with a legislative proposal to that effect before the end of 2012. There were diverging views as to how strongly greater transparency of financial flows should be pushed for in the on-going negotiations or whether this should be left to the next set of proposals.
The Commission stressed that the procedure should be concluded before the summer break so that the next proposals can properly reflect the outcome. It pointed to the difficult negotiations in the Council. It confirmed that it was already working on the next set of proposals in line with Parliament’s request.
As this is a second reading, deadlines for the different steps of the procedure are rather tight in order for the formal procedure in Parliament to be concluded at the July part-session.
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