SNCB train at Mechelen station

Rail market opening and Belgium: time for a discussion

SNCB train at Mechelen station in Belgium

While in Belgium SNCB is scheduled to receive a renewed concession for the next 10 years, the course from the European Commission in Brussels is instead to bring about more market opening on the railways, including for passenger transport. But what are the pros and cons of allowing competition, and to what extent do European rules offer room for national governments to stick to direct awards?

These questions will be the focus of one of the knowledge sessions at RailTech Belgium on 7 June in Brussels, which are free to attend. In this panel discussion, three diverse speakers will participate and share their views on market opening in passenger rail.

Kees Smilde of Belgian passenger organisation Treintrambus rejects the competition model on the Belgian railways, why this position and what could having competing operators on the railways mean for passengers?

Katharina de Keyser of ALLRAIL sees advantages in an opened market for train operators. What are the possible benefits and what might the Belgian train offer look like with competition for SNCB?

Viola Sütő, a lawyer specialising in railway law of LegalRail, provides the discussion with expertise in (European) regulation. Several court cases are pending against the direct award to the national carrier in neighbouring country the Netherlands. What room is there for national governments to deviate from the European course, which steers towards more competition on the rails?

The panel discussion will take place as one of RailTech Belgium’s knowledge sessions on 7 June, from 16:15 to 16:45. There will be plenty of room for questions or reactions from the audience. Register now to visit the RailTech Belgium exhibition and knowledge sessions and order your free ticket here.

Author: Esther Geerts


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