The main purpose of OTIF’s General Assembly, which was held in Bern, Switzerland, on 9 and 10 September, and in which Jean-Pierre Lehman took part as UIC representative, was to resolve ongoing legal and practical issues involving the European Commission and OTIF regarding
• Uniform Rules concerning the Contract of Use of Infrastructure in International Rail Traffic (Appendix E of COTIF);
• Uniform Rules concerning the Validation of Technical Standards and the Adoption of Uniform Technical Prescriptions applicable to Railway Material intended to be used in International Traffic (Appendix F of COTIF);
• Uniform Rules concerning the Technical Admission of Railway Material used in International Traffic (Appendix G of COTIF).
The report by the Secretary General on the outcome of discussions on this subject since the eighth General Assembly (in particular with the European Commission) gave a clear summary of the measures that had been or remained to be taken in order to avoid the negative effects of the coexistence of different types of member state (member states that have ratified COTIF 1999, members states that have ratified COTIF but have stated that they will not implement Appendices E,F and G, and member states that have not ratified COTIF).
The Secretary General’s report, which was based on the work of the Revision Committee, was adopted by the OTIF General Assembly.
The establishment of the European Community’s adherence to COTIF (approval of the agreement in accordance with Article 38 of COTIF 1999) would have been another highlight of the General Assembly. Unfortunately the internal decision-making processes of the European Community had not reached a conclusion at the time of the assembly, therefore the adherence could not be made official. Consequently, an extraordinary GA will be required to close this important legal chapter.
UIC wishes to congratulate Mr Stefan Schimming, who was reappointed as Secretary General until 2012, and hopes that this new mandate will see a strengthening of the links between the two organisations.