Germany in the dock over rail inter-operability

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The European Commission is to refer Germany to the European Court of Justice for failure to implement common rules on achieving inter-operability of European railways.

The commission argues that failure to implement the directive meant that goods and people would be prevented from moving around the EU more easily.

The deadline for implementation was 19 July 2010 . In accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, the Commission will ask the court to impose a daily penalty payment on Germany until the adoption of national measures.

Directive 2008/57/EC aims to establish the conditions for achieving interoperability within the European rail transport system. These conditions concern the design, construction, placing in service, upgrading, renewal, operation and maintenance of parts of the railway system. They also include the professional qualifications and health and safety conditions of the staff contributing to its operation and maintenance. The directive also defines the content of the technical specifications for interoperability and the procedures for adopting, reviewing and publishing them.

The Commission had already requested Germany on 20 September 2010 and on 16 June 2011 to take action to ensure compliance with the directive. As a response, Germany indicated that such measures would probably only enter into force in May 2012.

The Commission concluded that Germany has not taken the measures relating to the Directive which it was required to implement and, in any event, has failed to notify the Commission of any such measures.

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