Which conditions for a successful and full liberalization of the rail sector?

Law & Economics workshop organised by Concurrences review in partnership with Fréget Tasso de Panafieu and Copenhagen Economics.

Charlotte Tasso de Panafieu

Charlotte moderated the discussion.

Liberalization has a number of benefits. It fosters new services, it offers better quality, and it produces the proper amount of national subsidies. From a legal standpoint, our experience in other industries (particularly in the energy and telecom sectors) shows that the key to liberalization lies in the vertical separation of activities, and in the existence of a regulatory framework that ensures access in a transparent and non-discriminatory fashion.

From an economic standpoint, however, access rules should not discourage investment. This is particularly true in a capital-intensive industry such as the railway industry. Incumbents should not feel that new comers are free-riders.

Elisabetta Garofalo

Liberalization of the railways started in the 1990s. The process has proven to be time and energy consuming. There have been two crucial milestones in this process: the 2007 rail freight liberalization, and the 2010 international passengers liberalization.

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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