The European Commission (EC) has given the final warning to member states on their failure to properly implement the ‘first railway package’, aimed at opening up the rail freight market to competition.

The EC says that even after issuing a formal notice in 2008, many of its 21 member states have modified national rules to comply with the EU directives but the majority still do not fully comply with the relevant directives.

The EC has now sent ‘reasoned opinions’ to members directing them to proceed with railway reforms.

Major issues include the lack of independence of the infrastructure manager in relation to railway operators, insufficient implementation of the provisions of the directive on track access charging and the failure to set up an independent regulatory body with the necessary powers to remedy competition problems in the railway sector.

The members have been given two months to solve the relevant issues before the EC initiates legal proceedings.