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Infrastructure : EC initiates infringement procedure over failure to transpose directives of 4th Railway Package's Technical Pillar

European Commission initiated the infringement procedure against Romania over failure to transpose the two directives related to the Fourth Railway Package's Technical Pillar, namely the safety directive and the inter-operability directive, into the national legislation.

The Romanian authorities received a letter of formal notice from the Community Executive, which is the first stage of the procedure applied in case of violation of the community laws, the Ministry of Transport informs in a press release.

Romania, as an EU member state, was supposed to ensure the transposition into the national legislation of the (EU) Directive 2016/78 of the European Parliament and of the Council of May 11 2016 on railway safety (rehabilitation), under the Fourth Package's Technical Pillar, and to communicate to the European Commission the texts of the respective national provisions by June 16 2019, according to the provisions of art. 33 paragraph (1) of the directive, including the related documents (especially orders of the Minister of Transport), reads the explanatory attached to the law draft on railway safety. Otherwise, the European Commission was to initiate the infringement procedure.

The Ministry of Transport said in the press release that the relevant authorities make all the necessary efforts to have the directives transposed as soon as possible into the national legislation and specified that they asked for a prolongation of the deadline for the transposition of the provisions of the Fourth Railway Package's Technical Pillar until November 23 2019.

The representatives of the Ministry specified the delay in the transposition was caused by several factors, among which the fact that these directives cover a wide range of activities in the railway field involving several national institutions (like CFR SA, Romanian Railway Authority - AFER) and following the changes suffered by the Government and the Ministry of Transport the procedures of approval of the projects transposing the directive were resumed.

Romania, through AFER, and France and Greece, through their national safety authorities, signed on June 11 2019, in Bucharest, cooperation agreements with the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), according to the Directive on railway safety and the Regulation on ERA, two legislative initiatives related to the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package.

The European Union Agency for Railways (ERA or EUAR) is an European institution subordinated to the European Commission that promotes the creation of an European railway space without borders and contributes to the revitalization of the railway sector in Europe, through strengthening the essential advantages in terms of safety represented by this transportation system. ERA is mainly concerned with the railway safety field, inter-operability, as well as with the transposition of the European Union legislation, which is aimed at improving the competitive position of the railway sector. 

The role of this institution will be significantly strengthened by the new attributions conferred by the provisions of the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package.