UNIFE e-newsletter - Summer Newsletter 2011 - 2/09/2011


Inside this issue


Rail Forum Europe's members call for a single European market for railway rolling stock at their second meeting

MEPs and rail stakeholders gathered on 5 July at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to debate on the issue of railway vehicleauthorisation in the EU and agreed that the objective of a single European market for railway rolling stock needs to be achieved as quickly as possible. Marcel Verslype, Executive Director of the European Railway Agency (ERA), and Janis Vitins, Marketing and Product Planning Director of Bombardier’s locomotive business, were invited to share their expertise and propose solutions.

Janis Vitins presented the remaining barriers to interoperability and explained that the complexity of national processes still in force creates considerable cost inefficiencies and delays in delivery. He presented technical solutions proposed by the rail industry to overcome this complexity, such as vehicle platforms and ERTMS. He also called for policy action so as to enforce cross-acceptance of national rules, ultimately eliminate them to the benefit of European rules, better coordinate the action of National Safety Authorities and reinforce the role of ERA.

Marcel Verslypeacknowledged the long way to go until the achievement of a single European market for rolling stock and that, although it is not ERA’s role to enforce interoperability and safety regulation, they are providing an increasing amount of support to the Commission in this area. He furthermore reported on the progress achieved by the Agency in terms of transparency (publication) of national rules, cross acceptance and completion of EU rules and regulations. He underlined that “a key hurdle to a single European vehicle market is the inconsistent or incomplete implementation of the interoperability and safety directives by the Member States”. On a positive note, he explained that “authorisation costs should decrease dramatically in the next few years, as a fully harmonised EU regulatory system should be enforced by 2020 and infrastructure should be fully compliant by 2050 the latest”.

Michael Cramer, Member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe’s Vice-President, said “the current inadequate implementation of EU interoperability and safety regulation in the Member States is a breach of European law”.

Several stakeholders called for a more independent European Railway Agency and for the reinforcement of its powers. Marcel Verslype did not wish to take position but did exclude the possibility of an extension of the powers of the Agency. He assured that “the priority now is implementation of EU regulation”.

Brian Simpson,Chairman of the EP’s Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe President, added that “to ensure interoperability, it is essential to invest in rail infrastructure so as to make it compliant with interoperability rules. We must fight for this despite the financial constraints in the Member States.”




UNIFE represents the European Rail Industry in Brussels since 1992. The Association gathers 69 leading large and medium-sized rail supply companies active in the design, manufacture, maintenance and refurbishment of rail transport systems, subsystems and related equipment in Europe. A further one thousand suppliers of railway equipment partake in UNIFE activities through 15 national rail industry associations. UNIFE members have an 80% market share in Europe and supply more than 50% of the worldwide production of rail equipment and services. UNIFE represents its membersí interests at the level of both European and international institutions. On the technical side, UNIFE works on the setting of interoperability standards and coordinates EU-funded research projects that aim at the technical harmonisation of railway systems. The association is one of the supporting bodies of the European Railway Agency.

UNIFE. Promote rail market growth for sustainable mobility.

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Max Obenaus
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