CZ/SK verze

EU-Spain Rail Standoff: Legal Battleground Over Infrastructure Directives

EU-Spain Rail Standoff: Legal Battleground Over Infrastructure Directives
photo: Adif/EU-Spain Rail Standoff: Legal Battleground Over Infrastructure Directives
24 / 10 / 2023

Spain's efforts to align with European railway directives are now on a collision course with the European Commission. Central to the dispute is the country's alleged failure to fully embrace the Directive 2012/34/EU, which seeks to establish a unified railway landscape across Europe. While Spain has made legal strides, most notably concerning infrastructure charges, the absence of concrete action and a defined timeline has raised the EC's alarm. Specifically, there's apprehension about the current system's potential longevity, with indications suggesting it might persist for two more years, restricting railway undertakings from contesting track access charges.

The Spanish government's hand in the appointment and oversight of board members for public RUs and IMs has been flagged as a potential breach of the directive's spirit. Such interventions could compromise the independence of these entities from the state, as they challenge the directive's principle of ensuring equal footing between public and private stakeholders in the rail sector.

Historically, this isn't Spain's first brush with the EC over this directive. Beginning with a formal notice in 2018, followed by Spain's intermittent assurances of compliance, and culminating in the EC's legal stance, the unfolding scenario marks a significant moment in the dialogue between EU institutions and member states on the railway sector's direction. The European rail market's open integration hinges on the full and undiluted implementation of such directives, a fact that this ongoing dispute brings sharply into focus.