Rail safety and interoperability. The Commission urges Germany and Poland to fully transpose and apply the European rules

On 26 January 2023, the Commission called on Germany and Poland to implement correctly the rail interoperability and safety rules of Directive (EU) 2016/797 and Directive (EU) 2016/798, whose transposition deadline, extendable for one year, was set for June 2019.

Both directives are part of the so-called “Fourth Railway Package”, a set of six European laws that aim to complete the single market for rail services (Single European Railway Area) through two pillars, that is i) the market one, which will complete the process of gradual opening started with the 1st railway package by setting the right for railway undertakings established in one Member State to operate all types of passenger services everywhere in the Union, and ii) the technical one, designed to boost the competitiveness of the railway sector by significantly reducing costs and administrative burden for railway undertakings wishing to operate across Europe. More particularly, the two directives created faster and cheaper ways to have railway stock certified for use in several Member States, removing unneeded national technical and operational barriers to facilitate cross-border rail traffic. 

While Poland has yet to notify the Commission of full transposition of the Directives into national law, Germany has not applied all the requirements to all of its regional networks. Therefore, the Commission sent letters of formal notice to Germany, which now has two months to reply. Following the letters of formal notice sent in November 2020, instead, the Commission sent Poland reasoned opinions, to which the latter now has two months as well to reply and take the necessary measures.

Marco Stillo