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Parliamentary question - P-004671/2021(ASW)Parliamentary question
P-004671/2021(ASW)

    Answer given by Ms Vălean on behalf of the European Commission

    The applicable EU legislation[1] stipulates that, apart from exceptional and strictly defined cases, public service contracts (PSC) for rail passenger transport by rail, including regional services, have to be awarded on a competitive basis.

    As a transition arrangement and except where prohibited by national law, until 24 December 2023 competent authorities can still directly award a PSC for rail services. Competent authorities for the award of such PSC have to specify public service obligations (PSO), according to the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007[2].

    Member States and their competent authorities can take certain measures in the case of a change of operator as regards staff protection in line with EC law, national law or collective agreement such as, for instance, require a transfer of staff, require public service operators to comply with certain quality and social standards, or establish social and qualitative award criteria[3].

    Regional competent authorities can directly award a PSC to an internal operator, i.e. a public transport operator that they effectively control[4]. They could also directly award a PSC whose size does not exceed certain limits[5] and under other specific conditions where such contract would result in an improvement in the quality of services and/or cost-efficiency[6].

    The EU provides co-funding[7] for investment projects in transport under certain conditions. However, such EU funding cannot cover the provision of transport services.

    Last updated: 1 December 2021
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