I have received hundreds of emails from concerned constituents regarding the EU Commission’s Railway Package proposal. Here’s the reply that I have been sending out to every email.
It is right for you to raise these concerns about the Fourth Railway Package and I will be voting against the package in the plenary session taking place in December 2016.
Even though the UK will be leaving the EU, I am aware that the proposals in the package may still affect our railways for years to come. I am particularly concerned that the Fourth Railway Package will make the competitive award of public service contracts for rail services mandatory, by amending Regulation (EC) Number 1370/2007, and also allow general access to run domestic passenger services through the amendment of Directive 2012/34/EU.
At present, the regulations enable democratically elected governments in EU Member States to choose whether to directly award public service contracts, including to a national operator, or to organise a process of competitive tendering. The Fourth Railway Package will remove this choice from Member States, and restrict the options available to any in-coming government.
The EU Commission also states that the proposals will ensure that: “institutional separation between infrastructure managers and railway undertakings (without ownership relations between the two types of entity) would become the applicable rule by default.”
The East Coast Main Line, under Directly Operated Railways, demonstrated that publicly owned and operated railways in the UK can deliver better services while receiving much lower subsidies than private operators and returning significantly more to the taxpayer, to be reinvested in the service. Such options will be closed to future elected governments if the Fourth Railway Package proposals are implemented.
Because I will be voting against the Fourth Railway Package, I will help ensure that future governments will have the freedom to implement alternative models for their railways in line with the interests of passengers, taxpayers and their citizens.
If you have any other questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.