Four months after the publication of its legislative proposal by the European Commission, the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking is now getting closer and closer to reality. March and April were marked by the agreements successively reached at the Transport Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and, very recently, at the European Parliament in this regard.
It must be noted that the Commission’s legislative proposal was submitted to both the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee for opinion, but to the Council of the European Union for approval. The 14 March was therefore a key date as the Council – bringing together the Transport Ministers of the 28 Member States – unanimously adopted a favourable position on Shift2Rail. This agreement was reached thanks to the great support of the Greek Presidency of the EU.
A few days later, during the plenary session on 25 March, the European Economic and Social Committee Members unanimously adopted an Opinion in which they highlighted the crucial importance of Shift2Rail: “The EESC strongly backs the Shift2Rail initiative, which it sees as an important contribution to European industry in the strategic railway sector.”
On 15 April, during the last plenary session of the current European Parliament, an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament (95%) expressed their support to Shift2Rail by voting in favour of the Report previously adopted unanimously by the EP Committee on Industry and Research (ITRE Committee).
Now that both the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee gave their endorsement, all that remains for the Council of Member States is to formally confirm their agreement of March 14th in the coming weeks. That final and formal adoption by the Council will mark the end of the political process and will allow for the establishment of the Joint Undertaking.