Press release - Working Paper 221

Implementation of EU legislation on rail liberalisation in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands

This Working Paper provides a detailed and easy-to read overview of the railway liberalisation in Belgium and the three neighbouring countries. The European Union's liberalisation Directives are often complex and are implemented in very specific ways in the different Member States. The analysis goes into some detail about the Commission's underlying motives and economic theories for letting network industries, which had previously been regarded as natural monopolies, convert into competitive enterprises with the separation of infrastructure from operations. The study takes subsequently a look at the impact of the European rail liberalisation Directives in Belgium and its neighbouring countries - France, Germany and the Netherlands. This shows that there are considerable variations in the way in which the Directives are applied. It is reflected in the way in which the separation of the infrastructure and the transport services within the railway companies was carried out, and in the degree of opening of the market in freight and passenger transport.