Railway legislation: to be amended or completely revised?

 

The railway operator and NRIC continue to incur losses and accumulate debts, as pointed out in the monitoring report of the European Commission as of May 2006.  This clearly shows that the restructuring process has not reached its ultimate goal – the rehabilitation of the sector – as pointed out by Prof. Iordan Mirchev, Chairman of the Parliamentary transport commission, during the regular meeting of the commission on 13th July, when he presented his concept on a new Railway Act. The presentation was attended by the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev, representatives of the Executive Agency “Railway Administration”, BDZ EAD, NRIC, scientific circles, branch and trade union organisations, large customers and forwarders.

 

As was outlined by Iordan Mirchev, our national railway legislation has hitherto given more weight to the legal requirements in the context of EU accession, while less attention was given to issues like service quality, development, market positions and financial stability. According to him, there are a number of omissions in the current, “revised” draft-Act, which was validated by the Council of Ministers at one of their latest meetings. For this reason the professor appealed for a new Railway Act.

 

In his turn, Minister Mutafchiev stated that “In spite of any critical remarks, I would like to recall the fact that Bulgaria was among the first European countries to undertake a large-scale structural reform without the sufficient administrative capacity, financial or technical preparation. Protecting their national considerations and interests, they did not conform unquestioningly to certain schemes which Brussels tried to impose”.


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