INTERNATIONAL: On April 28 the International Union of Railways announced that a Provisional Administrator had been appointed to manage the organisation, pending the calling of an Extraordinary General Meeting. Ms Béatrice Dunogué-Gaffié has been appointed by the Paris-based Court of First Instance following a request from UIC's Chief Executive Luc Aliadière.

UIC says that 'a number of internal difficulties and tensions' have arisen following the adoption of new statutes in 2007 designed to 'reinforce the role of UIC as a worldwide railway organisation'. The reforms introduced a series of regional assemblies as well as a 21-member executive board and the General Assembly, the Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive 'responsible for the world dimension'. However, the organisation now admits that there have been difficulties 'regarding decision-making authority within the organisation', particularly with regard to the respective competences of the different bodies.

According to the official statement, 'the difficulties experienced with the implementation of this new governance structure have led to outside assistance being sought, in order to focus on the areas of operational malfunction within the organisation, to identify the sources of tension and to propose the measures or adjustments which will allow the UIC to function efficiently.' The Administrator has been asked to bring proposals to the next UIC General Assembly, 'under the conditions of transparency and rigour called for by its members'.

There are also suggestions of financial irregularities, as 'following the retirement of the Secretary General who was responsible for an extensive field of management activities relating to UIC and its subsidiaries, the Chief Executive has requested that a series of external audits, financial, legal and social audits be carried out'. These audits will serve 'to provide all the necessary clarifications and identify the governance changes required to enable UIC to fulfil all its remits successfully'.