„Latvijas dzelzceļš” VAS v Valsts dzelzceļa administrācija.

JurisdictionEuropean Union
CourtCourt of Justice (European Union)
ECLIECLI:EU:C:2021:610
Docket NumberC-60/20
Celex Number62020CJ0060

Provisional text

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Fifth Chamber)

15 July 2021 (*)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling – Rail transport – Directive 2012/34/EU – Single European railway area – Article 13(2) and (6) – Access to service facilities and to rail-related services – Regulation (EU) 2017/2177 – Reconversion of facilities – Powers of the regulatory body)

In Case C‑60/20,

REQUEST for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Administratīvā apgabaltiesa (Regional Administrative Court, Latvia), made by decision of 30 January 2020, received at the Court on 5 February 2020, in the proceedings

‘Latvijas Dzelzceļš’ VAS

v

Valsts dzelzceļa administrācija,

intervener:

‘Baltijas Ekspresis’ AS,

THE COURT (Fifth Chamber),

composed of E. Regan, President of the Chamber, M. Ilešič, E. Juhász (Rapporteur), C. Lycourgos and I. Jarukaitis, Judges,

Advocate General: M. Campos Sánchez-Bordona,

Registrar: A. Calot Escobar,

having regard to the written procedure,

after considering the observations submitted on behalf of:

– ‘Latvijas dzelzceļš’ VAS, by D. Driče, advokāte,

– Valsts dzelzceļa administrācija, by J. Zālītis and J. Zicāns,

– ‘Baltijas Ekspresis’ AS, by O. Jonāns, advokāts,

– the European Commission, initially by L. Ozola, C. Vrignon and W. Mölls, and subsequently by L. Ozola and C. Vrignon, acting as Agents,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 25 February 2021,

gives the following

Judgment

1 This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 13(2) and (6) of Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 establishing a single European railway area (OJ 2012 L 343, p. 32) and of Article 15(5) and (6) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2177 of 22 November 2017 on access to service facilities and rail-related services (OJ 2017 L 307, p. 1).

2 The request has been made in proceedings between ‘Latvijas Dzelzceļš’ VAS and the Valsts dzelzceļa administrācija (National Railway Authority, Latvia) (‘the Railway Authority’) concerning the latter’s decision imposing on Latvijas Dzelzceļš, in its capacity as manager of the public railway infrastructure in Latvia, an obligation to guarantee access for the railway undertaking ‘Baltijas Ekspresis’ AS to the depot in Ventspils (Latvia) as a ‘service facility’ within the meaning of the applicable rail transport legislation.

Legal context

EU law

Directive 2012/34

3 Article 3 of Directive 2012/34, entitled ‘Definitions’, provides:

‘For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions apply:

(11) “service facility” means the installation, including ground area, building and equipment, which has been specially arranged, as a whole or in part, to allow the supply of one or more services referred to in points 2 to 4 of Annex II;

(12) “operator of service facility” means any public or private entity responsible for managing one or more service facilities or supplying one or more services to railway undertakings referred to in points 2 to 4 of Annex II;

…’

4 Article 13 of that directive, entitled ‘Conditions of access to services’, provides as follows in paragraphs 2 and 6:

‘2. Operators of service facilities shall supply in a non-discriminatory manner to all railway undertakings access, including track access, to the facilities referred to in point 2 of Annex II, and to the services supplied in these facilities.

6. Where a service facility referred to in point 2 of Annex II has not been in use for at least two consecutive years and interest by railway undertakings for access to this facility has been expressed to the operator of that service facility on the basis of demonstrated needs, its owner shall publicise the operation of the facility as being for lease or rent as a rail service facility, as a whole or in part, unless the operator of that service facility demonstrates that an ongoing process of reconversion prevents its use by any railway undertaking.’

5 Article 27 of that directive, entitled ‘Network statement’, provides:

‘1. The infrastructure manager shall, after consultation with the interested parties, develop and publish a network statement which shall be obtainable against payment of a fee which shall not exceed the cost of publication of that statement. The network statement shall be published in at least two official languages of the [European] Union. The content of the network statement shall be made available free of charge in electronic format on the web portal of the infrastructure manager and accessible through a common web portal. That web portal shall be set up by the infrastructure managers in the framework of their cooperation in accordance with Articles 37 and 40.

2. The network statement shall set out the nature of the infrastructure which is available to railway undertakings, and contain information setting out the conditions for access to the relevant railway infrastructure. The network statement shall also contain information setting out the conditions for access to service facilities connected to the network of the infrastructure manager and for supply of services in these facilities or indicate a website where such information is made available free of charge in electronic format. The content of the network statement is laid down in Annex IV.

3. The network statement shall be kept up to date and amended as necessary.

4. The network statement shall be published no less than four months in advance of the deadline for requests for infrastructure capacity.’

6 Annex II to Directive 2012/34, containing the list of ‘services to be supplied to railway undertakings (referred to in Article 13)’, provides in paragraph 2:

‘Access, including track access, shall be given to the following services facilities, when they exist, and to the services supplied in these facilities:

(a) passenger stations, their buildings and other facilities, including travel information display and suitable location for ticketing services;

(b) freight terminals;

(c) marshalling yards and train formation facilities, including shunting facilities;

(d) storage sidings;

(e) maintenance facilities, with the exception of heavy maintenance facilities dedicated to high-speed trains or to other types of rolling stock requiring specific facilities;

(f) other technical facilities, including cleaning and washing facilities;

(g) maritime and inland port facilities which are linked to rail activities;

(h) relief facilities;

(i) refuelling facilities and supply of fuel in these facilities, charges for which shall be shown on the invoices separately.’

Implementing Regulation 2017/2177

7 Implementing Regulation 2017/2177 was adopted on the basis of Article 13(9) of Directive 2012/34.

8 Article 17 of that regulation, entitled ‘Entry into force’, provides:

‘This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

It shall apply from 1 June 2019.

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