Amsterdam hosts penultimate Single European Railway Area conference
The European Union Agency for Railways’ (ERA) penultimate conference on the Single European Railway Area project has again shone a spotlight on the European Union’s 4th Railway Package, which aims to improve the competitiveness of the passenger and freight rail sector and quality of services.
Mark Frequin, Director General of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment made the opening speech at the event in Amsterdam, examining the 4th Railway Package’s impact on member states, including lessons learned from the ‘Dutch experience’.
Kier Fitch, Head of Railway Safety and Interoperability at the European Commission’s DG Move arm, looked at an enhanced future role for the agency, including monitoring of national safety authorities, and system authorities for both the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and telematics. Presentations were also made by Josef Doppelbauer of ERA, and Pier Eringa, CEO of Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail.
The event was the latest in a series of regional SERA conferences, organised by ERA and the European Commission, aimed at giving rail stakeholders an opportunity to air their views and voice any concerns about the process behind the 4th Railway Package. The technical pillar of the package, which consists of proposals to amend the interoperability and safety, as well as the regulation of ERA, was officially adopted by the European Parliament in December.
Budapest, Helsinki, Valetta and Berlin have all hosted recent conferences, while a final SERA convention takes place today in Brussels. The implementing acts which lay the foundation for the package are then due to be voted on by the EU member states in July.