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EU decisions on the issue of transport

During a Conciliation meeting held on 16 March the European Parliament and the European Commission reached an agreement on issues concerning the Second railway package. Under the agreement rail freight markets (incl. cabotage) are to be completely opened up as of 2007. Agreement was also reached on new regulations for railway safety and interoperability as well as the establishment of a European Railway Agency.
On March 11 the EP required that infrastructure projects developed as part of the Trans-European Transport Network be subject to a strategic environmental assessment. Projects which are "likely to have undesired social, economic or environmental consequences" are to withdrawn from the priority list of projects to be developed. NGOs welcomed the decision and called on the Council of Transport Ministers to follow the EP in this matter.
Sources and information: http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p (en), www3.europarl.eu.int/omk/omnsapir.so (en)