Rail liberalisation debated in Europe

This cheesy video aside, the EU Commission is doing good work to liberalise the European rail industry.

At the beginning of this year, they announced long-awaited proposals for the 4th Railway Package. Despite the unimaginative name, the proposals could lead to dramatic changes in the industry, such as removing factors hampering competition and preclude the restructuring of the railway sector and improvements of rail service quality and efficiency.

zile-railways-hearing-266x400[1]They’ve been supported in this by Robert Zile, the ECR spokesman in the European Parliament Transport and Tourism committee. He says:

It is absolutely clear that without creating real competition in the railway sector, the EU rail transport market will slowly decline. According to statistics, the modal share of passenger rail in intra-EU transport has on average remained more or less constant since 2000, at around 6%, whereas the modal share of rail freight has decreased from 11.5% to 10.2%. At the same time, for example, domestic rail market liberalization could produce more than €40 billion of financial benefits for citizens and companies involved by 2035.

The Windsor Link Railway would be part of this liberalisation. Allowing private companies to provide new rail infrastructure would allow for more innovation leading to lower costs and better services. This is already supported by EU law. For example, clause 87.1 of the Treaty prohibits state aid if it distorts competition and trade between member states. It is good to see this issue is gaining a higher priority within the Commission.