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Legislation

Title: Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)
Sectors of Transport: Transport, External relations, Transport, Rail transport, Sectoral agreements, Agreements — Transport
Weblinks: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/AUTO/?uri=CELEX:22013A0223(01) , https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/AUTO/?uri=CELEX:22011X0713(01) , https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/AUTO/?uri=CELEX:32013D0103 , https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/AUTO/?uri=CELEX:02005L0035-20091116
Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)

Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)

 

SUMMARY OF:

Decision 2013/103/EU signing and conclusion of the agreement on the EU’s accession to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), as amended by the 1999 Vilnius Protocol

Agreement on the EU’s accession to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), as amended by the 1999 Vilnius Protocol

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE AGREEMENT AND THE DECISION?

The decision concludes on behalf of the EU the agreement to accede to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), as amended by the 1999 Vilnius Protocol.

The decision gives the EU exclusive competence to legislate on various rail transport matters which are covered by COTIF.

KEY POINTS

The Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) was established on 1 May 1985 following the 1980 Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF 1980). COTIF 1980 was subsequently amended by the Vilnius Protocol of 3 June 1999 (now COTIF 1999).

The Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) is OTIF’s basic text. It governs the running of the organisation, as well as its objectives, attributions, relations with its member countries and its activities in general.

The aim of OTIF is to promote, improve and facilitate international rail traffic, in particular by:

  • establishing and developing systems of uniform law in regard to:
    • the international carriage of passengers and goods in international rail traffic;
    • the use of wagons as means of transport in international rail traffic;
    • the use of infrastructure in international rail traffic;
    • the carriage of dangerous goods in international rail traffic;
  • contributing to removing certain obstacles to the crossing of frontiers in international rail traffic;
  • contributing to interoperability and technical harmonisation in the rail sector;
  • establishing a uniform procedure for the technical admission of railway material intended for use in international traffic;
  • monitoring the application of all the rules and recommendations established by OTIF.

In line with Article 3(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU has exclusive competence to legislate on various rail transport matters which are covered by COTIF. The accession of the EU to COTIF is therefore essential to enable the EU to exercise its competence in international rail relations where this internal competence has been established. For this reason, EU countries meeting in the Council agree an EU position prior to the EU’s participation in COTIF meetings. EU accession to COTIF also safeguards legal security for other OTIF members entering into rail relations with EU countries, since the latter may no longer enjoy rights or assume obligations individually with respect to non-EU countries on matters where the EU as a whole is competent.

EU accession to COTIF facilitates the development of a uniform legal system applicable to the international carriage of passengers and freight by rail across the countries which are members of OTIF. Accession is not only a legal obligation for the EU; it is also in the interest of the promotion of rail transport worldwide.

OTIF headquarters are based in Bern, Switzerland and the running of the organisation is ensured by:

OTIF currently has 49 member countries from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North Africa, and 1 associate member country (Jordan).

DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE

The agreement entered into force on 1 July 2011 and the EU acceded to this convention, as a regional economic integration organisation.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Council Decision 2013/103/EU of 16 June 2011 on the signing and conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail on the Accession of the European Union to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) of 9 May 1980, as amended by the Vilnius Protocol of 3 June 1999 (OJ L 51, 23.2.2013, pp. 1-7)

Agreement between the European Union and the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail on the Accession of the European Union to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) of 9 May 1980, as amended by the Vilnius Protocol of 3 June 1999 (OJ L 51, 23.2.2013, pp. 8-10)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Council Decision (EU) 2018/768 of 22 May 2018 establishing the position to be adopted, on behalf of the European Union, at the 55th session of the Committee of Experts for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail as regards certain amendments to Appendix C to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (OJ L 129, 25.5.2018, pp. 77-79)

Council Decision (EU) 2018/319 of 27 February 2018 establishing the position to be adopted on behalf of the European Union at the 26th session of the Revision Committee of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail as regards certain amendments to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail and to the Appendices thereto (OJ L 62, 5.3.2018, pp. 10-17)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part One — Principles — Title I — Categories and areas of Union competence — Article 3 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 51)

Council Decision (EU) 2016/833 of 17 May 2016 establishing the position to be adopted, on behalf of the European Union, at the 54th session of the Committee of Experts for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods set up by the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) as regards certain amendments to Appendix C to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (OJ L 140, 27.5.2016, pp. 12-14)

Position (EU) No 13/2015 of the Council at first reading with a view to the adoption of a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC Adopted by the Council on 18 September 2015 (OJ C 360, 30.10.2015, pp. 1-36)

Council Decision (EU) 2015/1734 of 18 September 2015 establishing the position to be adopted on behalf of the European Union at the 12th General Assembly of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) as regards certain amendments to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) and to its Appendices (OJ L 252, 29.9.2015, pp. 43-48)

Information relating to the entry into force of the Agreement between the European Union and the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail on the Accession of the European Union to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) of 9 May 1980, as amended by the Vilnius Protocol of 3 June 1999 (OJ L 183, 13.7.2011, p. 1)

last update 19.12.2018

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