Commissioner for Transport, Mr Jacques Barrot, exposed the working program of the Commission for 2005 to the Transport Commission of EU Parliament on February 1st.
On local public transport side, he stressed the aim to adopt the new regulation on action by Member States concerning public service requirements and the award of public service contracts in passenger transport,in order to avoid situations of uncertainty. The Commission is about to release a new proposal, more simple than the previous ones. This new text increases the ability given to public authorities to choose between open competition or in house provision of services, stresses the importance of contracting when a public authority grants financial compensations or exclusive rights and sets time limits for these contracts.
This regulation should be discussed by the Council of the European Union in June, if a political agreement is reached. One should note that this regulation no more applies to waterways services and to long distance rail services, addressed in the third railway package.
For rail services, Mr Barrot stressed the importance of the package approach, to keep an integrated vision of the regulation and encouraged the Parliament to go studying the current proposals.