EU transport commissioner calls Lithuanian Railways reorganization 'a step forward'
EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc says that Lithuania's decision to reorganize Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) by transferring its passenger and freight transportation and infrastructure management operations to three subsidiary companies is an important decision, but time will show if the chosen model is sufficient.
"I've just learned that you successfully stepped into decoupling of Lithuanian Railways, which means that from now infrastructure will be separately managed from the services. This is one of the key elements of the 4th railway package (...) This is an incredible step forward, I'm happy that we don't need to start any infringement procedures with Lithuania on that. I think that I will use you as motivator for others that are still lagging behind," Bulc said during a public discussion in Vilnius on Monday.
"And I think that you've also addressed through that a very important issue. It's related also to the Commission's fine, related to this particular subject," the commissioner said, referring to a fine imposed on Lietuvos Geležinkeliai by the European Commission for dismantling a railway track to Renge, in Latvia.
"Right now I cannot say if this is sufficient or not. We'll see if this is enough," she added.
Under the EU's 4th railway package, the bloc's member states are free to choose their railway transport sector management models. Lithuania has until late December to transpose the directive's provisions regarding the impartiality, independence and financial transparency of the infrastructure manager into national legislation.
Bulc said that she does not plan to propose a 5th railway package.
"I promise not to propose the 5th railway package and I'm sticking with that," she said in Vilnius.
The government on Monday gave the green light for Lietuvos Geležinkeliai to establish three subsidiary companies to take over its passenger and freight transportation and infrastructure management operations. Lietuvos Geležinkeliai would own and manage all three companies.