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Council reaches political agreement on technical pillar of 4th railway package

Meeting on 5 and 6 June in Luxembourg, the Council discussed and approved a variety of transport and telecommunications issues, including political agreements on technical elements of the 4th railway package and on lorry sizes

4th railway package

Ministers reached political agreement on 3 pieces of legislation that make up the 'technical pillar' of the 4th railway package. This technical pillar includes draft directives on the interoperability and the safety of European railways and a draft regulation on the European Railway Agency.

Completion of the technical pillar would increase economies of scale for railway undertakings across the EU, reduce administrative costs and speed up procedures. It should also help to avoid any discrimination in the issuing of safety certificates and vehicle authorisations.

The proposals need to be approved by both the European Parliament and the Council.

Lorry sizes

The Council reached political agreement on updated rules for the maximum weights and dimensions of heavy-goods vehicles, buses and coaches. The proposed new directive aims to update current rules to improve the aerodynamics, fuel efficiency and road safety of vehicles.

In particular, changes under the proposal would allow rear flaps to be attached to the vehicle and the front of the vehicle to more aerodynamically designed. The new lorry cab design would improve drivers’ field of vision and the safety of both drivers and other road users. Use of the proposed new deflecting shape and crumple zone would also greatly reduce the impact of frontal collisions.

The Council's agreed text also promotes the use of clean fuels by allowing a 1 tonne weight increase for alternative fuel vehicles.

Other topics on the agenda

On 5 June, the Council looked at a number of other transport issues, including:

  • the state of play on a proposed regulation on new rules for market access to port services and the financial transparency of ports
  • progress made on the proposed updated to the EU air passenger rights rules
  • the mid-term review of the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018 and outlook to 2020

On 6 June, the Council focussed on telecommunications issues. In particular, ministers discussed:

  • progress on the draft network and information security directive, which aims to ensure a high level of cyber security across the EU
  • the state of play on the proposal to amend the EU telecommunications regulatory framework, known as the 'telecoms package'

There was also a presentation of the Council's work programme under the incoming Italian Presidency.

Video highlights

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