What are the Agency’s Opinions and Advice?
Opinions are non-binding formal acts of the Agency, providing specialized expertise on railway issues to decision-makers, be it the European Commission, National Regulatory Bodies or Member States. The Agency Opinions do not represent the view of any other EU institution or body and are without prejudice to the decision-making processes foreseen by the applicable EU legislation.
Agency Advice also have a non-binding, consultative value, but they can only be issued to the European Commission, upon request. Such advice can cover any issue linked to the implementation of the Union legislation on railway interoperability and safety.
Who can request the Agency to issue an Opinion?
According to the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/796 (the Agency
Regulation - AR), the Agency may issue Opinions at the request of the
European Commission or of the National Regulatory Bodies in EU Member States.
The European Commission may request Opinions on:
- amendments to any act adopted on the basis of Directive (EU) 2016/797 or Directive (EU) 2016/798, especially where any alleged deficiency is signaled – art. 10(2) AR
- alternative means of compliance – art. 19(1)(d) AR
- non-application of TSIs - art. 19(1)(e) AR
- projects applying for EU funding (whether they comply or not with the relevant railway safety and interoperability legislation) – art. 42 AR
- innovative solutions or error corrections in respect to existing TSIs
National Regulatory Bodies may request the Agency to issue Opinions concerning in particular safety-related and interoperability-related aspects of matters drawn to their attention.
The Agency may also issue Opinions addressed to Member States if it considers that draft or existing national rules would negatively affect railway interoperability, the implementation of the railway legislation or would result in arbitrary discrimination or disguised restrictions on rail transport operations between Member States. Such Opinions (or their absence thereof) are without prejudice to the prerogatives of the European Commission under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
In which case can these organizations request an Opinion/Advice from the Agency?
A table summarizing the different types of Opinions/Advice the Agency can issue is available here.
How to request an opinion or advice from the Agency?
The European Commission or National Regulatory Bodies may send requests for opinions/advice to firstname.lastname@example.org
, using the template request form
. Before submitting such requests, please consult the relevant articles of the Agency Regulation.
How to have access to the Agency’s opinions?
Opinions are published on the Agency’s website in a version from which all commercially confidential material has been removed, together with the outcomes of their Impact Assessments.
Agency Advice to the European Commission are made available, upon request, following a case-by-case assessment based on Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The list of Opinions and Advice already published by the Agency can be consulted below.