CEOs of the Visegrád V4 railway administrations signed the Memorandum of Understanding
Hlohovec, 21 June – On 20 and 21June 2013, top representatives of the Visegrád V4 railway administrations met in the Hraniční zámeček hotel in Hlohovec for a two-day meeting during which they discussed mostly possibilities of mutual cooperation in the field of passenger transport liberalisation, financing its modernisation and developing and increasing competitiveness of the European railways. On the second day of their meeting shortly after 12.00 AM a festive signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by CEOs of the Visegrád V4 railway administrations took place. The main objective of this document on cooperation is increasing competitiveness of the European railways. Mr, Christian Kern, CEO of ÖBB-Holding AG , took part in this meeting as a guest if honour.
One of the main topics of the meeting was a pack draft of legislative measures leading to creating a single European railway area – the so-called Fourth Railway Package. The draft deals especially with the structure of railway undertakings and further liberalisation of the domestic passenger transport market. The Director General of Czech Railways, joint stock company Petr Žaluda said on this occasion: ”It is necessary to create equal conditions in Europe for railway business activities. I agree with equal access of all carriers to the rail infrastructure in EU member states but only if just, transparent and non-discriminatory rules can be guaranteed. The Fourth Railway Package as submitted by the European Commission does not guarantee unambiguously such conditions. We will strive for changes in European law to guarantee effective functioning and development to Czech national carriers.“
During the meeting a discussion also took place on projects leading to interconnection of rail systems in Western Central and Eastern Europe with a stress on implementing parameters of interoperability. Such a discussion led to an unambiguous need to cooperate in dealing with tasks especially within the framework of international railway organisations. Representatives of European railway administrations also agreed on possibilities of cooperation while fulfilling tasks concerning creating an effective connected Europe facility (CEF) and a network for competitive freight transport in accordance with the Regulation of the European Commission and the Parliament No 913/2010. This Regulation defines routes of the so-called freight corridors.
”I am not satisfied with routes of the main freight corridors as defined by the European Regulation at all,“ said Mr. Jiřé Kolář, Director General of the Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration at the meeting and he added: ”If Europe really intends to create a unified network of railways for effective freight transport on the railway, corridors coming from the East and South-East cannot end in Prague without a further connection to Germany and North Sea ports.“
The Railway Infrastructure Administration, state organisation strives intensely to deal with the situation together with the Ministry of Transport. The RIA deals specifically with the following corridors:
- Corridor 5: Gdynia – Katowice – Ostrava/Žilina – Bratislava/Wien – Klagenfurt – Udine – Venezia/Trieste; Bologna/Ravenna/Graz – Maribor – Lubljana – Koper/Terst
- Corridor 7: Praha – Wien/Bratislava – Budapest – Bucharest – Konstanta/Vidin – Sofia – Thessaloniki – Athens
- Corridor 9: Praha – Horní Lideč – Žilina – Košice – Čierna nad Tisou (– Slovak/Ukrainian border).
If an extension of Corridor 7 to Hamburg and Rostock and its connection with Corridor 8 (to Rotterdam and Antwerp) is still missing today it is possible to push this intent ahead into a revision of the Regulation because an absence of such an important connection could mean in the future that transport carriers would simply circumvent our country,“ said Jiří Kolář.
In order for the European rail network to keep competing with road transport, national carriers from the V4 group member countries especially must support and effectively coordinate common initiatives in the field of commerce and operation with an unambiguous objective to acquire new passengers and multiply transport volumes especially on long distances. The CEOs of the V4 Visegrád railway administrations are also very much aware of the need to cooperate while proposing legal documents of the European Union concerning railway issues. Another necessary step is the implementation of these regulations into national legal documents as well as into internal railway internal railway instructions.
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