Rail transport: Commission refers the Netherlands to the Court of Justice for failing to comply with EU legislation

In two reasoned opinions, sent respectively in October 2015 (concerning the Railway Safety Directive) and September 2014 (regarding the Railway Interoperability Directive), the Commission requested the Netherlands to transpose the two directives in question into Dutch law. Given that no legislative steps have been taken so far, the Commission has now decided to refer the Netherlands to the EU Court of Justice.

The first referral relates to directive 2004/49/EC (“Railway Safety Directive”) that requires Member States to establish an independent safety authority and an accident investigation body. Furthermore, Member States are to define common principles for the management, regulation and supervision of railway safety. The Dutch legislation does not comply with this directive on two accounts. Firstly, it does not set out the decision-making principles of the safety authority and, secondly, it fails to require the respect of a four-month deadline for the issue of decisions on safety certificates or safety authorizations.

The second referral covers directive 2008/57/EC, that lays down the conditions for achieving rail interoperability in Europe, and guaranteeing the compatibility of infrastructure, rolling stock, signaling and other rail subsystems across the EU network. To date, the Netherlands has, however, failed to transpose into national law the rules on the authorization to place rolling stock into service.

If the Court rules in favor of the Commission, the Netherlands will then have to take all the necessary measures to comply with the judgment.