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Workshop Paper / Transport

7th Florence Rail Forum Summary – Current Challenges of Rail Regulation in Europe: The European Regulators' View

Author(s): FINGER Matthias, BERT Nadia, KUPFER David

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The present document summarises the content of the presentations delivered during the 7th Florence Rail Forum as well as the ensuing discussions. This report is divided in two sections: a synthesis of the debates and the summaries of the presentations.

Presentations were delivered by representatives of different types of stakeholders, who reacted to the introductory questions pertaining to current challenges for rail regulation in Europe put forward by Prof. Finger. Special attention was dedicated to the ongoing implementation of the Recast (2012) and the current discussion on the 4th Railway Package. Regulators, operators, industry representatives, as well as knowledgeable academics engaged in the discussion with Mr Keir Fitch, Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas, and Mr Thomas Kaufmann, Principal Lawyer of the Rail Unit of the DG MOVE. 

The discussion was based on the following initial questions:

  • Does the European Commission perceive any difference in terms of national regulatory «philosophies» when implementing the various rail Directives and Packages?
  • Is there a “Nordic way” of regulating railways? How does the interaction among different actors get influenced by the different national regulatory «philosophies»?   
  • Is there a “Latin way” of regulating railways? Would it be possible to find some commonalities among the Southern European regulatory «philosophies»?   
  • With regard to the implementation of the 1st Railway Package/Recast, up to which level can an operator extend its range of activity? Do we need a European Regulator?

The 7th Florence Rail Forum aimed at crystallising the different national regulatory rail «philosophies» and detecting possible analogies in the approach of the regulators when implementing the European directives. Furthermore, the point of view of the Commission was presented and the question whether a stronger European Regulator is needed was discussed. As a result, the Forum highlighted that national regulatory cultures and contexts are strongly influencing the work of the rail regulators. Therefore, only limited analogies can be found and partial inconsistencies emerge. On the other hand, almost all national regulators disagree on the proposal of a stronger European Regulator. They rather call for better coordination and “regulatory interoperability”.