Towards an integrated European railway system: 4th Railway package approved on the market side

According to the new rules, railway companies will be able to offer their services for domestic rail routes in a more innovative, integrated and attractive way for the EU citizens. In particular:

  • Competitive tendering for public service will become the rule as from 2023. Contracts open to all EU rail operators should gradually become the standard procedure for selecting service providers. Better focus on customer services and cost efficiency are expected
  • Each company can offer commercial services on the European markets for rail passenger transport, as from December 2020. Member states could still restrict the new operator's right of access to certain lines and an objective economic analysis by the national regulator is insured.

What is the 4th railway package?

The 4th railway package contains measures aiming at reforming the rail transport sector in four key areas: Infrastructure governance; Opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail; Interoperability and safety; Social dimension. The final objectives are to:

  • deliver a more efficient, competitive, and less fragmented European railway system with better connections between the EU and its neighboring countries;
  • increase rail's capacity, efficiency, and attractiveness for customers;
  • encourage modal shift from road and air;
  • complete the circle of market opening already achieved in the freight, international passenger and other transport markets.

These new rules have also the purpose to encourage the use of rail transport which is one of most sustainable means of transport that would help reducing emissions in the EU (as outlined in the Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper).

More info can be found:

On the European Parliament.

On the Polis summary note on the 4th railway package.

On this video.