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Council agrees on railway safety and debates improved EU rules on air passenger rights

The Transport, Telecommunication and Energy Council met on 10 October to discuss several key transport issues including rail safety and EU rules on air passenger rights.

The Council agreed its general approach on new railway safety rules. The revised directive, a recast of the 2004 railway safety directive and part of the '4th railway package', proposes centralised safety certification for EU rail operators. The Council have instead proposed a dual system of certification with a single safety certificate. Final adoption of the revised proposal will require the approval of both the Council and the European Parliament.

Ministers also discussed a proposed update to EU rules on air passenger rights. The aim is to clarify current rules for delayed or cancelled flights and improve the handling of complaints and enforcement of passenger rights. Discussions focussed on:

  • new provisions on missed connections and their consequences for passengers and air carriers/tour organisers
  • how compensation for long delays should be regulated 


Air passenger rights in the EU

Introduced in 2005, EU air passenger rights legislation gives important rights both to air passengers travelling from EU airports and those arriving at EU airports on flights operated by an EU airline. These include:

  • the right to reimbursement or re-routing if your flight gets cancelled or you're denied boarding
  • the right to reimbursement if your flight is delayed by 5 hours or more
  • the right to assistance and, under certain circumstances, compensation in the event of long delay, cancellation or denied boarding
  • the right to travel in the same conditions as other citizens if you have a disability or reduced mobility


Other topics on the agenda

In addition to the railway safety directive, ministers also agreed their 'general approach' (a political agreement at Council level) for:

  • a regulation ensuring that security accreditation for EU satellite systems is carried out independently within the European GNSS Agency
  • a regulation on financing the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) for 2014-2020

Finally, the Council agreed to extend the mandate of the SESAR Joint Undertaking to 2024. The Joint Undertaking, which is a public-private partnership between the Commission, Eurocontrol and private industry, helps execute and manage the SESAR project to modernise Europe's air traffic management systems.

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