IRG-Rail - Independent Regulators' Group - Rail
IRG-Rail - founded by independent regulatory bodies
In 2010, together with the regulatory bodies from the UK, the Netherlands and Austria, the Bundesnetzagentur started an initiative for increased cooperation between independent regulatory bodies in the rail sector. The first formal step establishing the Independent Regulators’ Group – Rail (IRG-Rail) was the signing of a memorandum of understanding on 9 June 2011 in The Hague by representatives of 15 rail regulatory authorities.
Basically, there is an annual change of the IRG-Rail chairmanship: In 2020, Serge Drugmand, CEO of Belgium's regulatory body acts as the IRG-Rail Chair, whereas the 2020 Vice-Chair, Maria-Theresia Röhsler, Managing Director of the Austrian regulatory body, will become the IRG-Rail Chair in 2021.
Strengthening of the internal market for rail
The IRG-Rail constitutes a forum for the exchange of experience between regulators and ensures consistent rail regulation in Europe. Close cooperation among the national rail regulatory bodies is an important prerequisite for a competitive internal market. Initial areas of interest for the IRG-Rail were practical issues in connection with the new Rail Freight Regulation and associated aspects of economic balance and market observation.
Since its foundation the IRG-Rail has adopted numerous position papers, which shows that the group has successfully reached its goal of speaking with one voice regarding important regulatory issues. Based on its Work Programme, four expert working groups and two subgroups develop reports on current railway matters, such as on progress of corridors, on various regulatory aspects of the Fourth Railway Package or on market segment definition and criteria for assessment of mark-ups.
Close cooperation and competent working groups
The IRG-Rail is represented by its Chair and its Vice-Chair. Based on the group's Communication Strategy, an Advisory Steering Committee was founded which consists of the Chair, the Vice Chair and the Chair of the previous year. Also other IRG-Rail members can participate. Tasks of the Advisory Committee are, among others, the moniting of the EU agenda, the identification of future relevant tasks for the IRG-Rail or the role as a central contact point.
Four expert working groups and two subgroups work on the relevant issues:
Access (chaired by the Bundesnetzagentur)
- Subgroup Access to Service Facilities (co-chaired by the Bundesnetzagentur)
- Emerging Legislative Proposals in the Railway Sector (co-chaired by the Bundesnetzagentur)
- Market Monitoring
- Subgroup Charges for Service
Currently the IRG-Rail comprises the national rail regulatory bodies from 31 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, North Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.