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Second railway package of 2004

On 23 January 2002, the European Commission proposed a new set of measures (known as the "second railway package") aimed at revitalising the railways through the rapid construction of an integrated European railway area. The actions presented are based on the guidelines of the transport White Paper and are aimed at improved safety , interoperability and opening up of the rail freight market. The Commission had also proposed establishing a European Railway Agency responsible for providing technical support for the safety and interoperability work.

The second railway package of 2004 has accelerated the liberalization of rail freight services by fully opening the rail freight market to competition as from 1 January 2007. In addition, the package created the European Railway Agency situated in Valenciennes (France), introduced common procedures for accident investigation and established Safety Authorities in each Member State.

European Railway Agency

The European Railway Agency is a driving force in the policy for modernising the European railway sector. Mutually incompatible technical and security regulations in the twenty-five Member States (Malta and Cyprus do not have railways) are a major handicap to the development of the railway sector. The Agency will work to gradually align technical regulations and establish common safety objectives which all Europe's railways must achieve.