• 26-FEB-2014

  • SOURCE: S&D Group at European Parliament

New European Railway Network: MEPs to Enhance Safety and Workers' Rights

The European railway will soon be improved with better interoperability, enhanced safety, more transparent information for users and clearer labour rights for workers following the vote today on the fourth railway package by the European Parliament.

Socialists and Democrats welcome the new legislation as a good balance for a highly needed updating of EU-wide rules and technical standards.

S&D spokesperson on transport, MEP Saïd El Khadraoui, said:

"Interoperability will create a true European railway network. By December 2019 interoperable ticketing and information systems have to be set up, which shall give passengers access to all data needed to plan a journey, reserve and buy their tickets, regardless the operator or combination of operators they use.

"Our main priorities have been achieved. We Socialists and Democrats wanted to make sure that market opening will not undermine the protection of public service obligations (PSO).

"Another important goal we achieved is to protect workers' rights. Railway companies will have to respect collective agreements in force in the member states they wish to operate in as a condition to obtain and keep their operating licence.

MEP Inés Ayala, S&D shadow rapporteur for the technical reports of the legislation, said:

"The new interoperability directive will reduce the production costs for rail rolling stock and establish a one-stop shop for market authorisations with the aim of reducing the existing 26 national procedures to one single passport.

"We need to maintain the good safety record of railways in the EU, while at the same time reducing the 11,000 existing national rules that block the growth of a true single railway area. In fact we have guaranteed even higher safety standards.

"Also, following the example of the aviation sector, national agencies will have to present emergency and rescue plans as well as a system for providing care for victims following an accident."

Available content includes an edited package.