Berlin: The European Commission has submitted a reasoned opinion formally asking Germany to bring all its national railway safety rules into line with Directive 2004/49/EC, which European Union member states were required to transpose by December 2010.
If Germany does not ‘react satisfactorily’ within two months of the November 17 announcement, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The Commission’s concerns centre on rolling stock inspection requirements. The directive says that every vehicle should have an assigned entity in charge of maintenance, responsible for maintenance and safety. However, German national rules require inspection on a periodic basis, rather than leaving decisions to the entity in charge of maintenance. The Commission believes this could undermine the directive’s aim of establishing common principles for railway safety, and could create a situation whereby different national rules hamper the movement of rolling stock throughout the European Union.
The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate.
The Commission operates as a Cabinet Government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as “Commissioners”). There is one member per member state, but members are bound by their oath of office to represent the general interest of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament. The Council of the European Union then nominates the other 27 members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, and the 28 members as a single body are then subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The current Commission is the Juncker Commission, which took office in late 2014.
The term Commission is used either in the narrow sense of the 28-member College of Commissioners (or College) or to also include the administrative body of about 23,000 European civil servants who are split into departments called directorates-general and services. The procedural languages of the Commission are English, French and German. The Members of the Commission and their “cabinets” (immediate teams) are based in the Berlaymont building in Brussels.