Rail transport. The Commission refers Austria to the Court of Justice

In July 2019, the European Commission referred Austria to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with Directive 2007/59/EC on the certification of train drivers.

The infringement procedure was opened in November 2015, and in April 2017 the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Austria identifying a number of shortcomings in the implementation of the Directive, relating, in particular, to the competent authority and to the content and frequency of the medical checks necessary for the driving licences to remain valid.

Based on the rules on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains, the competent authority to grant the related license is the safety authority referred to in Directive 2004/49/EC. Therefore, this task should have been exercised by the Transport, Innovation and Technology Ministry of Austria and not by the public railway corporation Schieneninfrastruktur-Dienstleistungsgesellschaft mbH (SCHIG mbH).

According to the Commission, it is for the Austrian authorities to take all necessary measures to remedy this situation. Should this not happen, the Commission may ask the Court to impose penalties.

Marco Stillo