of 19 June 1995
on the licensing of railway
Official Journal L 143 , 27/06/1995 P. 0070 - 0074 (ES,
DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
- Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European
Community, and in particular Article 75 thereof,
- Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),
- Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social
- Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in
Article 189c of the Treaty (3),
- Whereas the single market shall comprise an area without
internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods,
persons, services and capital is ensured;
- Whereas the principle of the freedom to provide services
should be applied to the railway sector, taking into
account that sector's specific characteristics;
- Whereas Council Directive 91/440/EEC of 29 July 1991 on
the development of the Community's railways (4) provides
for certain access rights in international rail transport
for railway undertakings and international groupings of
- Whereas, in order to ensure that access rights to railway
infrastructure are applied throughout the Community on a
uniform and non-discriminatory basis, it is appropriate
to introduce a licence for railway undertakings providing
the services referred to in Article 10 of Directive
- Whereas it is appropriate to maintain the scope of
Directive 91/440/EEC, including the exceptions made in it
for regional, urban and suburban services and whereas it
should be specified that transport activities in the form
of shuttle services through the Channel Tunnel are also
excluded from the scope of that Directive;
- Whereas a licence issued by a Member State should
accordingly be recognized as valid throughout the
- Whereas Community conditions for access to or transit via
railway infrastructure will be regulated by other
provisions of Community law;
- Whereas, having regard to the principle of subsidiarity
and in order to ensure the requisite uniformity and
transparency, it is appropriate that the Community lay
down the broad principles of such a licensing system,
leaving to Member States the responsibility for the
granting and the administration of licences;
- Whereas, in order to ensure dependable and adequate
services, it is necessary to ensure that railway
undertakings meet at any time certain requirements in
relation to good repute, financial fitness and
- Whereas for the protection of customers and third parties
concerned it is important to ensure that railway
undertakings are sufficiently insured or have made
equivalent arrangements in respect of liability risks;
- Whereas the suspension and revocation of licences and the
granting of temporary licences should also be dealt with
in this context;
- Whereas a railway undertaking will also be required to
comply with national and Community rules on the provision
of railway services, applied in a non-discriminatory
manner, which are intended to ensure that it can carry on
its activity in complete safety on specific stretches of
- Whereas, in order to ensure the efficient operation of
international rail transport, it is necessary that
railway undertakings respect the agreements in force in
- Whereas, finally, the procedures for the granting,
maintenance and amendment of operating licences to
railway undertakings should reflect a general desire for
transparency and non-discrimination,
HAS ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:
Objective and Scope
- 1. This Directive concerns the criteria applicable to the
issue, renewal or amendment of licences by a Member State
intended for railway undertakings which are or will be
established in the Community when they provide the
services referred to in Article 10 of Directive
91/440/EEC under the conditions laid down in that
- 2. Railway undertakings the activities of which are
limited to the operation of urban, suburban or regional
services shall be excluded from the scope of this
- Railway undertakings and international groupings the
activity of which is limited to the provision of shuttle
services transporting road vehicles through the Channel
Tunnel shall also be excluded from the scope of this
- 3. A licence shall be valid throughout the territory of
For the purposes of this Directive:
- (a) 'railway undertaking` shall mean any private or
public undertaking the main business of which is to
provide rail transport services for goods and/or
passengers, with a requirement that the undertaking must
- (b) 'licence` shall mean an authorization issued by a
Member State to an undertaking, by which its capacity as
a railway undertaking is recognized. That capacity may be
limited to the provision of specific types of services;
- (c) 'licensing authority` shall mean the body charged by
a Member State with the issue of licences.
- (d) - 'urban and suburban services` shall mean transport
services operated to meet the transport needs of an urban
centre or conurbation, as well as the transport needs
between such centre or conurbation and surrounding areas;
- 'regional services' shall mean transport services operated
to meet the transport needs of a region.
Each Member State shall designate the body responsible for
issuing licences and for carrying out the obligations imposed by
- 1. A railway undertaking shall be entitled to apply for a
licence in the Member State in which it is established.
- 2. Member States shall not issue licences or extend their
validity where the requirements of this Directive are not
- 3. A railway undertaking which fulfils the requirements
imposed in this Directive shall be authorized to receive
- 4. No railway undertaking shall be permitted to provide
the rail transport services covered by this Directive
unless it has been granted the appropriate licence for
the services to be provided.
- However, such a licence shall not itself entitle the
holder to access to the railway infrastructure.
1. A railway undertaking must be able to demonstrate to the
licensing authorities of the Member State concerned before the
start of its activities that it will at any time be able to meet
the requirements relating to good repute, financial fitness,
professional competence and cover for its civil liability listed
in Articles 6 to 9.
2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, each applicant shall provide
all relevant information.
Member States shall define the conditions under which the
requirement of good repute is met to ensure that an applicant
railway undertaking or the persons in charge of its management:
has/have not been convicted of serious criminal offences,
including offences of a commercial nature,
has/have not been declared bankrupt,
has/have not been convicted of serious offences against
specific legislation applicable to transport,
has/have not been convicted of serious or repeated
failure to fulfil social- or labour-law obligations,
including obligations under occupational safety and
1. The requirements relating to financial fitness shall be met
when an applicant railway undertaking can demonstrate that it
will be able to meet its actual and potential obligations,
established under realistic assumptions, for a period of twelve
2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, each applicant shall give at
least the particulars listed in section I of the Annex.
1. The requirements relating to professional competence shall
be met when:
- (a) an applicant railway undertaking has or will have a
management organization which possesses the knowledge
and/or experience necessary to exercise safe and reliable
operational control and supervision of the type of
operations specified in the licence,
- (b) its personnel responsible for safety, in particular
drivers, are fully qualified for their field of activity
- (c) its personnel, rolling stock and organization can
ensure a high level of safety for the services to be
2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, each applicant shall give
at least the particulars listed in section II of the Annex.
3. Appropriate written proof of compliance with qualification
requirements shall be produced.
A railway undertaking shall be adequately insured or make
equivalent arrangements for cover, in accordance with national
and international law, of its liabilities in the event of
accidents, in particular in respect of passengers, luggage,
freight, mail and third parties.
Validity of the licence
1. A licence shall be valid as long as the railway undertaking
fulfils the obligations laid down in this Directive. A licensing
authority may, however, make provision for a regular review at
least every five years.
2. Specific provisions governing the suspension or revocation of
a licence may be incorporated in the licence itself.
- 1. If there is serious doubt that a railway undertaking
which it has licensed complies with the requirements of
this Directive, and in particular Article 5 thereof, the
licensing authority may, at any time, check whether that
railway undertaking does in fact comply with those
- Where a licensing authority is satisfied that a railway
undertaking can no longer meet the requirements of the
Directive, and in particular Article 5 thereof, it shall
suspend or revoke the licence.
- 2. Where the licensing authority of a Member State is
satisfied that there is serious doubt regarding
compliance with the requirements laid down in this
Directive on the part of a railway undertaking to which a
licence has been issued by the licensing authority of
another Member State, it shall inform the latter
authority without delay.
- 3. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, where a licence is
suspended or revoked on grounds of non-compliance with
the requirement for financial fitness, the licensing
authority may grant a temporary licence pending the
re-organization of the railway undertaking, provided that
safety is not jeopardized. A temporary licence shall not,
however, be valid for more than six months after its date
- 4. When a railway undertaking has ceased operations for
six months or has not started operations six months after
the grant of a licence, the licensing authority may
decide that the licence shall be submitted for approval
or be suspended.
- As regards the start of activities, the railway
undertaking may ask for a longer period to be fixed,
taking account of the specific nature of the services to
- 5. In the event of a change affecting the legal situation
of an undertaking and, in particular, in the event of a
merger or takeover, the licensing authority may decide
that the licence shall be resubmitted for approval. The
railway undertaking in question may continue operations,
unless the licensing authority decides that safety is
jeopardized; in that event, the grounds for such a
decision shall be given.
- 6. Where a railway undertaking intends significantly to
change or extend its activities, its licence shall be
resubmitted to the licensing authority for review.
- 7. A licensing authority shall not permit a railway
undertaking against which bankruptcy or similar
proceedings are commenced to retain its licence if that
authority is convinced that there is no realistic
prospect of satisfactory financial restructuring within a
reasonable period of time.
- 8. When a licensing authority suspends, revokes or amends
a licence, the Member State concerned shall immediately
inform the Commission accordingly. The Commission shall
inform the other Member States forthwith.
In addition to the requirements of this Directive, a railway
undertaking shall also comply with those provisions of national
law which are compatible with Community law and are applied in a
non-discriminatory manner, in particular:
specific technical and operational requirements for rail
safety requirements applying to staff, rolling stock and
the internal organization of the undertaking,
provisions on health, safety, social conditions and the
rights of workers and consumers.
Railway undertakings shall respect the agreements applicable
to international rail transport in force in the Member States in
which they operate.
Railway undertakings operating rail services shall be granted
a transitional period of twelve months as at the final date of
transposition referred to in Article 16 (2) in order to comply
with the provisions of this Directive. That transitional period
shall not cover any provision which might affect the safety of
- 1. The procedures for the granting of licences shall be
made public by the Member State concerned, which shall
inform the Commission thereof.
- 2. The licensing authority shall take a decision on an
application as soon as possible, but not more than three
months after all relevant information, notably the
particulars referred to in the Annex, has been submitted,
taking into account all the available information. The
decision shall be communicated to the applicant railway
undertaking. A refusal shall state the grounds therefore.
- 3. Member States shall take the measures necessary to
ensure that the licensing authority's decisions are
subject to judicial review.
- 1. The Commission shall, two years after the application
of this Directive, submit to the Council a report on such
application accompanied, if necessary, by proposals
concerning continued Community action, with particular
regard to the possibility of enlarging the scope of the
- 2. Member States shall adopt the laws, regulations and
administrative provisions necessary to comply with this
Directive within two years of the date of its entry into
force. They shall forthwith inform the Commission
- 3. When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall
contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied
by such reference at the time of their official
publication. The methods of making such a reference shall
be laid down by the Member States.
This Directive shall enter into force on the date of its
publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
This Directive is addressed to the Member States.
Done at Luxembourg, 19 June 1995.
For the Council
- (1) OJ No C 24, 28. 1. 1994, p. 2 and OJ No C 225, 13. 8.
1994, p. 9.
- (2) Opinion delivered on 14 September 1994 (OJ No C 393,
31. 12. 1994, p. 56).
- (3) Opinion of the European Parliament of 3 May 1994 (OJ
No C 205, 25. 7. 1994, p. 38), Council Common Position of
21 November 1994 (OJ No C 354 of 13. 12. 1994, p. 11) and
Decision of the European Parliament of 14 March 1995 (OJ
No C 89, 10. 4. 1995, p. 30).
- (4) OJ No L 237, 24. 8. 1991, p. 25.
I. Particulars referred to in Article 7
1. Financial fitness will be verified by means of an
undertaking's annual accounts or, in the case of applicant
undertakings unable to present annual accounts, a balance sheet.
Detailed particulars must be provided, in particular on the
- (a) available funds, including the bank balance, pledged
overdraft provisions and loans;
- (b) funds and assets available as security;
- (c) working capital;
- (d) relevant costs, including purchase costs of payments
to account for vehicles, land, buildings, installations
and rolling stock;
- (e) charges on an undertaking's assets.
2. In particular, an applicant is not financially fit if
considerable arrears of taxes or social security are owed as a
result of the undertaking's activity.
3. The authority may in particular require the submission of an
audit report and suitable documents from a bank, public savings
bank, accountant or auditor. These documents must include
information concerning the matters referred to in paragraph 1.
II. Particulars referred to in Article
1. Particulars of the nature and maintenance of rolling stock,
in particular as regards safety standards.
2. Particulars of the qualifications of personnel responsible for
safety and details of personnel training.