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Chapter 9 - Transport Policy
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December 2004

Background

In the transport sector the candidate countries face the challenge of taking over and implementing a very substantial body of transport law, which represents about 10% of the total EU acquis. The acquis in Chapter 9, "Transport policy", is based on Articles 70-80 of the EC Treaty. The transport acquis consists mainly of secondary legislation, i.e. several hundredRegulations, Directives and Decisions. Implementing the acquis does not only require the adoption of legislation, but also an adequate level of administrative capacity.

The road transport-related acquis covers a vast area of social, technical, fiscal, safety and environmental requirements. The railway acquis has recently been subject of substantial amendments and the liberalization of this sector will call for an even further opening of national railway markets to competing railway undertakings from other Member States. In aviation, issues of market access, safety and infrastructure organisation have to be addressed. In maritime transport the enforcement of the maritime safety acquis forms one of the biggest challenges.

Across all sectors there is an economic need to promote, develop and upgrade the transport infrastructure in the candidate countries, with the aid of financial assistance from the EU. Upon accession the main infrastructures of the candidate countries will form part of the enlarged Trans-European transport network.

As most candidate countries have nearly completed the process of legislative adaptation, the main issue to be addressed under this chapter will be one of monitoring, ensuring in particular that the administrative capacity in Candidate Countries is adequate.

Horizontal issues

I. Road transport

Road transport market integration is one of the most sensitive issues in the context of the accession negotiations under the transport chapter.

The EU proposes to grant access to the intra EU road haulage market, provided that Candidate Countries effectively implement the acquis in the road transport field, and, where relevant, accept the EU position on their requests for transitional periods. Thereby all Candidate Countries would upon accession be granted access to the market in the carriage of goods by road within the EU to or from the territory of a Member State or passing across the territory of one or more Member States (covered by Regulation (EEC) 881/92).

However, there are specific sensitivities over the issue of immediate national cabotage market opening upon accession. In order to achieve a smooth integration, and in light of the experience of the EU, the EU has therefore proposed a transitional arrangement entailing that access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States (covered by Regulation (EEC) 3118/93) should, in certain cases, be phased in gradually.

The proposal is to reciprocally restrict the access to the national transport markets between current and new Member States for an initial period of two years for those Candidate Countries which have requested no or only limited transitional periods in the area of road transport and for an initial period of three years for those Candidate Countries which have requested more substantial transitional periods, causing additional disruptions, in the area of road transport.

In addition, Member States may notify to the Commission a prolongation of this initial transitional period for a maximum period of two years. In certain cases this period might be prolonged by a further year. Furthermore, Member States which have not prolonged the transitional period may apply safeguards up to the end of the fifth year.

In the road transport sector, some requests for limited transitional periods have been accepted in the case of Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Malta and Cyprus.

II. Other transport sectors

In the maritime sector no candidate country has requested a transitional period. The importance of legal harmonisation and the strengthening of administrative structures in the maritime sector, especially with a view to improving the safety performance of the fleets of Candidate Countries is underlined in the Common Positions.

In the rail sector, except for Hungary and Poland, all countries for whom the EU has proposed provisional closure of the transport chapter are in a position to implement the recently substantially revised railway acquis as of accession. For Hungary and Poland a limited transitional period for market access has been accepted.

In the aviation sector, Lithuania and Hungary have been granted limited transitional periods in order to phase out the operation of noisy aircraft by third countries.

State of play

The transport chapter has been opened with all countries. It was finally closed with Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in December 2002. The chapter has been provisionally closed in June 2003 with Bulgaria and in December 2003 with Romania and definitely closed in December 2004 with both countries.

Compliance with the acquis

The latest assessment of each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2004 Regular Reports and in the Comprehensive Monitoring Reports, available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/archives/key_documents/reports_2004_en.htm.

Country by country

Bulgaria

  • Chapter opened: June 2001
  • Status: closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in June 2003)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually (as described above)
    • financial standing criterion for transport operators carrying out domestic transport services (until 31 December 2010)
    • gradual increase of axle-load limits on national road network (until 31 December 2013)

Cyprus (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in May 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements
    • Retrofitting of certain vehicles used in domestic transport with tachographs ( until 31 December 2005 ).

Czech Republic (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 1999.
  • Status: Closed December 2002
  • Transitional arrangements
    • access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually ( as described above ).

Estonia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 1999.
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in March 2002)
  • Transitional arrangements
    • access of non-residents hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually ( as described above ).

Hungary (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in December 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements
    • gradual increase of axle-load limits on national road network ( until 31 December 2008 );
    • access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually ( as described above );
    • access to Hungarian rail market to be phased in gradually ( until 31 December 2006 );
    • phasing out the operation of noisy aircraft from third countries ( until 31 December 2004 ).

Latvia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in December 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • retrofitting of certain vehicles used in domestic transport with tachographs ( until 31 December 2005 );
    • financial standing criterion for transport operators carrying out domestic transport services ( until 31 December 2006 );
    • access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually ( as described above ).

Lithuania (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in December 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • retrofitting of certain vehicles used in domestic transport with tachographs ( until 31 December 2005 );
    • financial standing criterion for transport operators carrying out domestic transport services ( until 31 December 2006 );
    • access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually ( as described above );
    • phasing out the operation of noisy aircraft from third countries ( until 31 December 2004 ).

Malta (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: in March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in October 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • gradual increase of vehicle taxes for certain vehicles ( until 31 December 2005 );
    • phasing in of road worthiness tests for certain vehicles used in domestic transport ( until 31 December 2004 );
    • retrofitting of certain vehicles used in domestic transport with speed limitation devices ( until 31 December 2005 ).

Poland (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2002)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • gradual increase of axle-load limits on national road network ( until 31 December 2010 );
    • access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually ( as described above );
    • access to Polish rail market to be phased in gradually ( until 31 December 2006 ).

Romania

  • Chapter opened: June 2001
  • Status: closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in December 2003)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • access of non-resident hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually (as described above)
    • gradual increase of vehicle taxes for certain vehicles used in domestic transport (until 31 December 2010)
    • gradual increase of axle-load limits on national secondary road network (until 31 December 2013)

Slovakia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in April 2002)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • access of non-residents hauliers to the national road transport market of other Member States to be phased in gradually ( as described above ).

Slovenia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in December 2001)
- updated: 17/12/2004
 
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