The Impacts of the 2004 Enlargement in the Area of Transport

The Impacts of the 2004 Enlargement in the Area of Transport


E Evenhuis, RebelGroup Advisory, NL


The ten New Member States that joined the European Union in 2004 have been integrated into the internal transport market. We have assessed the nature and extent of the effects of the 2004-enlargement in the area of transport.


On 1 May 2004, ten New Member States joined the European Union. These New Member States (NMS) have since been integrated into the internal transport market, with some exceptions due to Transitional Periods. Three years later, the effects of the enlargement in the transport sector are becoming increasingly visible. We have assessed the nature and extent of the effects that have occurred as a consequence of the 2004-enlargement in the area of transport.

The emphasis of this study has been on effects that are related to changes in the regulatory environment in which the transport sector now functions, brought about by the transposition and implementation of the Transport chapter of the Acquis Communautaire. Much of this ?Transport Acquis? is aimed at opening up national markets, thus creating an internal transport market for the whole of the EU. EU legislation and policy also exist on safety, security and the environment; these domains are also covered.

For this study a qualitative and pragmatic approach was taken, based on case studies. First, we collected background documents and statistics to identify main trends and focal points for the study. We also held some interviews with Commission officials and parties who were intimately involved with the enlargement. This way we explored what are the most interesting developments since the accession. On the basis of this information, 14 suitable subjects for case studies were identified.

These case studies were on:
1. Railway sector reform in the Baltic States
2. Development of traffic safety, in particular in Hungary and Latvia
3. Development of the market for air carriers (Hungary, Latvia)
4. Strategic position of road transport and combined transport in Hungary
5. Alteration of public transport system in Hungary
6. Implementation of port state control in Poland
7. Integration of the Polish road transport into EU-market
8. Railway sector reform in Poland
9. Implementation of Road Inspectorate in Poland
10. Development of logistics industry in Czech Republic
11. Implementation of fleet state control in Malta and Cyprus
12. Freight Transport in the Danube Corridor
13. The development of railway finances and financing
14. Reduction of road transport emission levels due to fleet renewal

Additionally, two workshops were organised in the New Member States. On the basis of an analysis of the main trends, the impressions and suggestions we received from the interviews and workshops, and the more detailed information on particular developments and issues collected through the 14 case studies, we drew some preliminary conclusions on the impacts of the enlargement in the area of transport. These preliminary results were presented at a Seminar in Brussels on June 27 under the title ?Transport and Enlargement?, which was attended by people from the European Commission, national Ministries of Transport, Permanent Representatives of the different countries and various stakeholder organisations. The suggestions and comments we received were incorporated into the study.

A general finding was that even though the legal framework of the NMS is to a large extent aligned with the latest EU legislation, the establishment of effective institutional and organisational structures that ensure its application and enforcement was still often lacking. This process was exacerbated by the substantial growth of the Transport Acquis during the negotiation process and the pressure to report on completed transposition of the acquis that would result in a limited need of Transitional Periods. Too little time was devoted to the development of national transport strategies to inform the adoption European legislation. Also, communication between public bodies and the transport sector was lacking. Finally, enforcement is not up to standard for parts of the acquis. This means that the level playing field ? the main aim of European legislation ? is no more than a paper reality for certain issues.

For the different modes of transport the effects have been diverse. Road transport, air transport and to a more limited degree maritime transport have benefited greatly from the enlargement and theliberalisation brought about by the European legislative framework. Railway transport on the other hand is now in an extremely vulnerable position; enlargement has not been able to prevent this and may have even accelerated the decline. Many intermodal transport services, particularly rolling highways, have collapsed. Apparently, these services relied heavily on former institutional barriers in road transport (i.e. quota systems), and now cannot compete with road transport because of high railway access charges. Inland waterway transport continues to play only a very marginal role in the New Member States.


Association for European Transport