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The fourth Railway Package was proposed in 2013 and forms part of a series of regulatory initiatives to create a more efficient and connected European rail sector. The six proposed legislative initiatives that the package is composed of will be the most important items on the European Commission’s agenda in the area of railways regulation. Several elements of the package have not yet reached a consensus by all parties and negotiations are ongoing.

The elements of the 4th Railway package are at the centre of the debate organised at the Florence School of Regulation: the 6th Florence Rail Forum had addressed the issue of overcoming barriers to standardisation and interoperability and the 8th Florence Rail Forum looked at the financing component of the fourth Railway Package. The 9th Florence Rail Forum will continue the discussion on the future shape of the European Rail sector and will  pay special attention to the issue of market opening in rail passenger transport.

Indeed, one of the key elements of the 4th Railway Package is the opening of competition in the respective national passenger markets. It is foreseen that  all national passenger routes shall be fully open to competition by December 2019. As far as commercial lines are concerned the main challenge is to  guarantee fair and open access to the network in particular in countries where these are part of vertically integrated railway undertakings. As far as Public Service Obligations are concerned the package foresees an amendment of Regulation 1370/2007, including a common approach to awarding public service contracts. The Commission foresees a differentiation between smaller scale contracts which may be directly awarded to an operator and larger contracts which will have to be opened for competitive tendering. To facilitate this, an important role will have to be played by the national regulatory authorities. The fourth Railway Package suggests to extend their role and to strengthen their power, as they  would have to define and justify the Public Service Obligations and make their reimbursement to the operator(s) transparent.

Following the usual format of the Florence School of Regulation, this Forum will offer the possibility to discuss relevant issues at stake in the field or rail transport in Europe. Senior stakeholders from regulators, politics, operators, network managers, authorities and associations will be challenged by prominent academics taking stock of topics relevant to rail regulation and policies. Elisabetta Garofalo (DG MOVE – Unit Single European Rail Area) will open the Forum and discuss the current status of the negotiation of the 4th Railway Package. Stakeholders’ representatives as well as prominent academics will discuss and answer the following questions:

  1. The Fourth Railway Package under negotiation – where do we stand?
  2. Liberalisation of national passenger markets – which way forward for competitive lines and PSO?
  3. Tendering of PSOs: what are the remaining challenges?
  4. Which role for national regulators and competent transport authorities?

For more information and early registration please contact FSR.transport@eui.eu


Villa La Fonte
Via delle Fontanelle, 18
San Domenico di Fiesole, Firenze 50014

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Nadia Bert


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