IRG-Rail’s first 2019 Plenary Assembly took place in Oporto, on 27th of May, under the Chair of Mr. João Carvalho, President of the Portuguese Regulatory Body, AMT. Mr. Rui Moreira, Oporto’s City Council President, honoured the IRG-Rail members with an opening speech, giving a brief introduction to the history of the city of Oporto and highlighting the importance of economic regulation in the development of the European Market.
The Chair updated the Assembly regarding the continuing work with stakeholders, with whom further meetings will take place in June. Additionally, informed about the election of the new Co-chair for the Market Monitoring working group, Ms. Anh Lai, from the French regulatory body ARAFER, thus joining AMT’s Ms. Teresa Gonçalves in coordinating the working group.
IRG-Rails’ working groups and sub-groups reported on the progress made on the 2019 Working Programme planned activities. The Multimodality Task Force outlined the working developments of intermodal and multimodal case studies on the Transportation sector’s competition, from a travellers’ perspective. Additionally, a presentation on the recently approved and published 7th Annual Market Monitoring Report, containing contributions from 29 member states and information from the last five years, highlighted the particular emphasis made by the Market Monitoring Working Group on i) the competition for the passenger market and ii) the incumbents’ strategies to access rail passenger markets abroad.
The Emerging Legislative Proposals Working Group’s Report on the ”Update of Review of Regulatory Bodies competencies and remedies”, was approved by the Plenary Assembly. The report focuses on the overview of the Regulatory Bodies main competencies, including their attributions in terms of EU legislation and the commonly available remedies for Regulatory Bodies, in the pursuit of their mandate.
A very interesting tour de table about the ”Implementation of the 4th Railway Package (Market Pillar) and Economic Equilibrium Test enforcement” was promoted, with several contributions from the different countries.
The prestigious Infrastructures’ Secretary of State, Professor Jorge Delgado, closed the Plenary Assembly acknowledging the unique and most important role of IRG-Rail in creating a single, competitive, efficient and sustainable European railway market, through the harmonization and exchange of legal, economic and technical information and best practices among its Members, and highlighting the importance of the transport sector for the economy and its currently undergoing transformation. Transport operators, who will play a key role as actors in the mobility market will have to adjust their businesses to the emerging digital market in which the user dictates the rules. These changes are already underway, implying formidable challenges matched only by the opportunities that the digital transformation has brought about.