The liberalisation of the European Railway Market - Did the railway packages have a statistical significant effect on rail freight in the EU Member States?

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The European railway market is since 25 years subject to a constant transformationprocess. The EU’s railway packages, bundles of railway specific legislation, initiatereforms in a sector that was characterised by decade long national fragmentation and ashrinking modal share. National railways used to be run by vertical integratedgovernmental authorities, which were unable to adjust to changes in the market and newdevelopments like the unprecedented rise of the individual motor car after World WarTwo. Liberalisation (market opening) and privatisation (franchising private competitors)were the key strategies to overhaul the massive and ponderous state-owned as well as statecontrolledrailway sector in order to curb waste of public subsidies and worsening trainservice. The main objective is the creation of a single European railway market with a highdegree of interoperability and competition, similarly to the Single European Sky initiativein the civil aviation.So far three railway packages (2001, 2004 and 2007) have been adopted by the EuropeanParliament and the Council. A fourth one is since 2013 in the making, whereby thetechnical pillar is closer to an agreement than the highly contested market pillar especiallyfor high-speed long-distance passenger service. The rail freight sector was alreadyliberalised and enjoys free market access for all competitors since 2007.The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of the railway packages in particular on therail freight transport in the EU Member States. How much influence has the EU legislationin a specific policy area, here transport (impact assessment). In order to answer theresearch question a sequential multiple regression was chosen. This method allows addinggradually suitable independent variables and dummies in a fixed order to determine theirimpact on the dependent variable rail freight.The results were humble; the biggest impact on the depended variable had rail passengerswith a high statistical significance. A negative impact had EU membership with lowsignificance. All three railway packages had only a marginal impact without significance.Several problems and limitations were faced during the operationalisation and partlyexplain the poor output.

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