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  • TTETransport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE)

Council agrees its position on the European Railway Agency

  • Photo:  © European Union, 2014

    © European Union, 2014

The Council today agreed a general approach regarding a proposal aimed at defining new tasks of the European Railway Agency to reflect its future stronger role in safety certification and vehicle authorisation.

The Greek Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Michalis Chrisochoidis, chaired the Council in which Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Michalis Papadopoulos also participated.

Following the conclusion of the Council, the Greek Minister stated: “Today the Council had a very productive discussion on a number of files. The excellent cooperation amongst the Ministers resulted in important decisions for the Railway sector, the positive results of which will be visible in the near future. We also had a fruitful exchange of views on Urban Mobility, in particular on added value measures at Union level that could improve the everyday life of the European citizens. Finally I had the opportunity to inform my colleagues on the progress made on various files during the Greek Presidency. We continue our systematic work taking advantage of the progress already achieved.”

On the purpose of the new rules included in the technical pillar of the 4th railway package, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Michalis Papadopoulos said:The completion of the package's technical pillar is expected to increase economies of scale for railway undertakings across the EU, reduce administrative costs and speed up procedures. It should also help to avoid any disguised discrimination in the issuing of safety certificates and vehicle authorisations.”

One of the key issues discussed by the ministers at the Council meeting was the proposal for the Shift2Rail. This regulation establishes a Joint Venture, based in Brussels, which, having 2024 as time horizon, will be the primary manager of research activities in the field of railways, with a total capital of € 1 billion (about 450 millions of EU funds and the rest of private funds).

The Minister stated about this initiative: “The proposal to include a Council Regulation establishing Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking in our priorities, reflects our strong interest in rail transport. Shift2Rail can serve as a tool for promoting rail transport research and advancing European rail transport system, as well as the industry and market development in this field.”

Another topic discussed during the Council of Ministers was the Commission’s communication on urban mobility. This is a proposal of integrated urban mobility plans to be co-financed by the EU using existing mechanisms. The Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Michalis Papadopoulos said about this issue: “In the "Europe 2020 Strategy" for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, a modernized and sustainable European transport system is of particular importance. The future development of the Union passes also through the examination of the urban dimension of transport.

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