ERFA believes that a single operational language, English, for international traffic is a necessary step towards an integrated Single European Railway Area, and should be part of the revision of the train drivers’ directive (Directive 2007/59/EC).
As highlighted by the European Court of Auditors in its report “Rail freight transport in the EU: still not on the right track”, language requirements for train drivers is an administrative constraint, which hampers the competitiveness of the rail sector. The Recommendation 3b of the Court states:
“The Commission and the Member States should also assess the possibility of progressively simplifying language requirements for locomotive drivers to make medium- and long-distance rail freight traffic in the EU easier and more competitive.”
The potential revision of the train drivers’ directive is an opportunity for the European Commission to launch the process of harmonizing and simplifying language requirements through a progressive deployment of one single operational language for international traffic. The aim is to make rail operations more efficient and competitive.