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Policy choice and strategies; The Commission’s recasting of the first railway package

Helene Dyrhauge
University of Roskilde
Helene Dyrhauge
University of Roskilde
Open Panel

Abstract

The European Commission often use framework directives as policy instruments because they enable the Commission to harmonise rules at EU level whilst simultaneously leaving room for Member States to incorporate adjustments when implementing directives. Despite this level of flexibility which are often incorporated into framework Directives to ensure that Member States in the Council adopt the proposal there is a constant implementation deficit. This begs the question of when the Commission redraft and up date existing legislation to what extent is the Commission’s choice of policy instruments constrained by the original legislation? One interesting example is the EU railway market opening process where most Member States failed to implement the First Railway Package and subsequently the Commission started infringement procedures. Simultaneously the Commission has redrafted the First Railway Package this has lead to a proposal for a Directive to create a Single European Railway area. This paper compares the policy instruments in the First Railway Package and the new proposal to analyse to what extent the new proposal addresses the failings in the original legislation and to what extent the Commission’s choice of policy instruments have changed. By comparing these two policies the paper aims to identify how the Commission’s strategy and policy choice has changed over 10 years of railway market opening, during which time Member States and the industry have not fully adjusted from state monopolies to market conditions. Through this empirical analysis the paper aims to shed light on the political and technical factors that shape the Commission’s policy choice.