Proposal for a DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL empowering France to negotiate an agreement supplementing its existing bilateral Treaty with the United Kingdom concerning the construction and operation by private concessionaires of a Channel Fixed Link
1. The Commission’s proposal for a Decision would empower France to negotiate and ratify an agreement with the UK, as a third country, regarding the application of EU railway safety and interoperability rules to the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link (hereafter “the Channel Tunnel”), and in particular the continued role of the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) as the recognised ‘national safety authority’ for the entirety of the Channel Tunnel, within the meaning of EU law. This proposal stipulates requirements with which such an agreement must comply and stipulates that the agreement will be subject to Commission authorisation.
2. The proposal envisages an additional agreement made under the Treaty of Canterbury , the Treaty which governs the operation of the Channel Tunnel. The IGC was set up under the Treaty of Canterbury to supervise the construction and operation of the Channel Tunnel on behalf of the UK and French governments, and its functions are laid down in Article 10 of the Treaty. The IGC is currently the recognised joint UK-French ‘national safety authority’ for the Channel Tunnel under EU legislation, and has the necessary regulatory powers to put in place a “unified safety regime” in the Channel Tunnel. It is also responsible for the related area of Channel Tunnel infrastructure and vehicle authorisations under the rail interoperability regime.