- Competition on domestic rail networks delayed to 2017
MEPs called for international passenger services to be opened up to competition by 1 January 2010, but failed to obtain the necessary majority to approve the opening of domestic passenger services.
By rejecting this proposal, Parliament aligned itself with the Council's common position, driven by countries such as France, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, who were preoccupied with protecting state-owned rail operators.
The report by Georg Jarzembowski, backed in the Parliament's Transport Committee in December 2006, had called for liberalisation of national rail services by 2017, with the possibility of a five-year derogation for the 12 newer member states on domestic rail.
- Minimum rights for all railway passengers
The Parliament stood up to EU member states in Council by approving a proposal to introduce EU-wide minimum rights for all rail passengers, whether they are travelling on international or domestic lines.
The Council had hoped to restrict these rights to international travellers, which represent just 5% of all rail passengers, but the issue will now have to be resolved through a 'conciliation procedure' with Parliament.
Largely inspired by EU rules on air-transport passenger rights, the rules specify that all railway operators must make trains, stations and platforms accessible to persons with reduced mobility; provide designated areas for baby carriages, bicycles and sports equipment; provide liability in the event of death or injury; and establish a system of compensation for delays and cancellations.
- A European licence for train drivers
Parliament approved a report on the certification of train drivers and other crew members. The Council had requested that only train drivers be covered by the directive, but MEPs said that other crew members performing safety-related tasks should also meet minimum requirements relating to medical fitness, basic education and general professional skills.