The European Parliament has reached a provisional agreement over proposals to open up domestic rail routes across the continent to more competition from private operators.
EU member states have reached an informal deal on what is described as the ‘market’ pillar of the EU’s 4th railway package.
Specifically, the market pillar seeks to do three things. Firstly, it aims to reform the systems for awarding public service contracts to rail operators, requiring mandatory competitive tendering for rail contracts, with limited exceptions.
Secondly, it looks to open up closed domestic rail networks to more competition from the private sector and to ensure non-discriminatory access to networks for private operators by infrastructure owners.
Thirdly, it will repeal a regulation from 1969 concerning the “normalisation of accounts of railway undertakings”, which is considered to be inconsistent with the new approach.
The agreement, which is still subject to approval by the European Council, was made between the parliament and the Netherlands presidency.
The Dutch State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Sharon Dijksma, said: “Thanks to the cooperation and the flexibility of all parties involved, we have reached an ambitious provisional agreement. When this agreement is endorsed by the member states, it will improve the quality and efficiency of railway services in Europe.”