The second railway package, that aims to accelerate the opening to competition of the rail freight markets in Europe (see EMTA News nÂ° 13) was still being debated by the Conciliation Committee between the Council of Ministers of Transport and the European Parliament as this issue of EMTA News went to press.
The Ministers and the Parliament still have differing views on key aspects of the package, such as the date of the opening to competition of the domestic rail freight markets (2006 for the Parliament vs 2008 for the Council of Ministers, supported by the Commission), and the possibility to include rail passenger transport in the scope of the package.
Under the rules governing conciliation, the Committee has eight weeks to reach agreement, i.e. until 24 March, after which date the draft legislation becomes void.
In this context, the European Commission has prepared a third railway package, that contains draft regulations on a European certification for train drivers and on passenger rights in international transport, and a proposal about the opening-up of international passenger rail markets by 2010.
This new regulatory package will now be discussed by the Council of Ministers of Transport and the European Parliament.