The EU’s fourth railway package: a new stop in a long regulatory journey

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Series Details No.76, April 2015
Publication Date 01/04/2015
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The Royal Institute for International Relations is an independent think-tank based in Brussels. Its interdisciplinary research is conducted in a spirit of total academic freedom. Drawing on the expertise of its own research fellows, as well as that of external specialists, both Belgian and foreign, it provides analysis and policy options that are meant to be as operational as possible.Since the beginning of the twentieth century, railway transport across Europe has been fragmented in a number of national, vertically integrated and self-regulated systems, each of which has its own structure and infrastructure. The railway sector presents very diverse policy and regulatory aspects in each country; the diversification between the various systems has been huge.

Railway policy has thus long been one of the slowest areas of European integration. The opening of the markets remains fraught with various difficulties, so in 2013 the European Commission proposed a fourth legislative package, which has already provoked a lot of resistance.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Fourth railway package: Market pillar
ESO: Background information: Rail passenger rights in the European Union
ESO: Background information: The fourth railway package: Another step towards a Single European Railway Area

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