European railway area: Greece, Luxembourg and Romania have not transposed Directive 2012/34/EU

The European Commission has decided to refer Greece, Luxembourg and Romania to the Court of Justice for failing to transpose into their national legislations Directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area (the “Directive”); appropriate measures to comply with the Directive should have been taken by 16 July 2015. Since Greece, Luxembourg and Romania did not comply with the Directive – and still do not – the Commission firstly sent them a letter of formal notice in July 2015, then a reasoned opinion in February 2016, following which no action to implement the Directive was taken by any interested State.

The Directive aims at strengthening the role of national rail regulatory bodies, in particular as regards their competence for rail facilities, such as terminals and stations. It requires Member States to base their relations with infrastructure managers on multi-annual contracts, which set out mutual obligations regarding the structure of payment and the infrastructure service quality to be provided to railway undertakings. This Directive also contains financial transparency requirements for railway undertakings and infrastructure managers.

Under Article 260, paragraph 3, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Commission will request the Court of Justice to impose a daily penalty payment on Greece, Luxembourg and Romania until the Directive is fully transposed into national legislation.

Pietro Michea