The fourth railway package: Another step towards a Single European Railway Area

In-Depth Analysis 14-03-2016

The fourth railway package comprises six legislative proposals to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of rail across the European Union, put forward by the European Commission in 2013. It aims to remove the remaining institutional, legal and technical obstacles, and create a truly integrated European Railway Area. Although the legislative process on technical issues did not present many difficulties, negotiations on the liberalisation of rail markets and governance structures (known as the market pillar) continue and prove more complex. Trilogue discussions began after the adoption of a general approach by the Council in October 2015, and should conclude in 2016. Once adopted, the fourth railway package is expected to give a new impetus to rail services across the EU, and will contribute to meeting the objectives of the Commission's 2011 White Paper on Transport.