EUROPE: Meeting in Berlin on August 31, Germany’s Federal Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer and his French counterpart Dominique Bussereau agreed to establish a high-level railway group bringing together representatives from both countries. Building on existing agreements, the new group will aim to foster co-operation in order to remove bureaucratic obstacles, accelerate processes and reduce costs, according to an official statement.

The ministers stressed the importance of constructive relations between national operators DB and SNCF, as well as closer co-operation between infrastructure managers DB Netz and RFF, and national industry associations VDB and FIF. A working dinner following the meeting was attended by DB Chief Executive Dr Rüdiger Grube and SNCF President Guillaume Pepy.

Future initiatives will include work to facilitate cross-acceptance of new rolling stock approved to operate on either network. The ministers also intend to respond constructively to the European Commission’s forthcoming proposals on reforming the First Railway Package, with the aim of creating a consistent level of regulation across Europe.