EU transport policy aims to set the legal framework for infrastructure managers and Member States to provide rail infrastructure at the best value for money. Maintaining the infrastructure in terms of quality, reliability, flexibility and customer orientation are crucial for the competitiveness of the rail system as a whole. However, there is still concern about the sustainable financing of existing rail infrastructure, the quality of infrastructure service and how to get infrastructure managers to perform better.
The Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on "Multi-annual contracts for rail infrastructure quality" COM(2008)54 adopted on 6 February 2008 recommends measures to Member States and infrastructure managers to combine financial equilibrium with an appropriate level of rail infrastructure services.
The Directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area provides new rules on multi-annual contracts.