The first rail package, adopted in December 2000, will open up 50,000 km of the trans-European rail freight network to international goods services in March 2003, and the entire network in 2008.
Following the suggestions contained in its White Paper on transport of December 2001, the European Commission unveiled on 23rd January the main proposals of a new rail package, which aims to speed up the process of creation of an integrated railway area in Europe.
Five key measures were announced :
– developing a common approach to rail safety through the progressive integration of the national safety systems,
– improving interoperability,
– creating a European Railway Agency whose mission would be to develop common solutions on safety and interoperability,
– extending and speeding up the opening of the entire rail freight market (international and national) as of 2006,
– joining the Inter-governmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF), which drafts regulations on technical standards applicable to freight transport by rail