The European Commission has requested Estonia, Greece and Hungary to bring their national rules in line with Directive 2004/49/EC on railway safety. In both Greece and Estonia, this concerns in particular the independence and status of the investigating body. Additionally, in Estonia safety certification and the reporting of accidents and incidents to the investigating body are affected. In Hungary, the Commission’s request in particular concerns the independence of the national safety authority, the right of the national safety authority to request the technical assistance of infrastructure managers and railway undertakings or other qualified bodies, and the obligation of the national safety authority to report accidents and incidents to the investigating body.
The directive aims at developing a common European approach to railway safety, in particular at establishing safety requirements on the rail system, including safe management of infrastructure and traffic operation, roles and responsibilities of railway undertakings and infrastructure managers and their interaction, common safety regulatory framework, regulation, management, supervision of safety and independent investigation of accidents. The legislation should have been in place since 30 April 2006. It is important that EU legislation on railway safety is applied so that all EU rail networks demonstrate consistent high safety levels.
The Commission opened infringement proceedings against Estonia in May 2014, against Greece in April 2013 and against Hungary in February 2014. Reasoned opinions (the second stage in EU infringement proceedings) are now being sent. The three countries have two months to reply to the Commission. If Estonia, Greece and Hungary fail to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice.