The European Commission (EC) has sent a reasoned opinion to nine Member States formally requesting them to fully implement the railway safety directive. Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom have so far failed to bring their national legislation into line with this directive although obliged to do so by 24 December 2010. The Commission has set a two-month deadline to remedy the situation, a press release informs. Should these Member States fail to do so, the Commission may refer the cases to the Court of Justice.
Directive 2008/110/EC improves the level of safety of the European rail transport system. It provides a legal basis for a common framework for the maintenance of rolling stock: before a rail vehicle is allowed to be put into service, the body responsible for its maintenance (known as the “entity in charge of maintenance” or ECM) must be identified. For freight wagons, the ECM must be certified according to a system developed by the European Railway Agency and adopted by the Commission on 10 May 2011.
An essential provision of the directive is that the certificate granted to an ECM is valid throughout the European Union. This provision recognises equivalence between the ECMs and intends to increase both the level of safety and the interoperability of railways throughout the EU.
Directive 2008/110/EC has not yet been transposed, or has been transposed only partially, by nine Member States: Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden and United Kingdom.
Failure to implement the directive impacts on the level of safety, posing a potential risk to users of railways. This affects not only those countries that have not implemented Directive 2008/110/EC but the whole European single railway area as well.