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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2006 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(98) 705 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(1999) 504 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2000) 704 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1747 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1403 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC (2003) 1201 - Not published in the Official Journal]Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


In its Opinion of July 1997, the Commission expressed the view that Estonia had made significant progress in adopting the Community transport acquis. Provided that efforts were made in road haulage (weights and dimensions, access to the sector), the maritime sector (safety) and, to a lesser extent, air transport, and provided that financial procedures were clarified in the rail sector, transport should not pose any major difficulties with regard to the adoption of the internal market acquis. However, steps should be taken to ensure that the necessary means were provided to lay the basis for extending the future trans-European transport network to include the acceding countries. The Commission also urged Estonia to strengthen its administrative structures, including supervisory bodies.

The November 1998 Report confirmed that considerable progress had been made in implementing the transport acquis. The adoption of a specific transport infrastructure and financing strategy to be financed by the national budget was still necessary, however. Further progress also had to be made to increase safety standards in ships.

The October 1999 Report confirmed the earlier assessments. The Commission noted that despite progress in implementing the acquis, further and more effective measures would need to be adopted, especially with regard to the fiscal harmonisation of road transport and in maritime safety.

The November 2000 Report stressed that, overall, Estonia had made satisfactory progress in adopting legislation transposing the transport acquis, although efforts to strengthen administrative capacity in this field had to be continued. The transport development plan for 1999-2006, approved in March 1999, was still being implemented in accordance with the planned timetable.

The November 2001 Report confirmed that Estonia had continued alignment with the acquis in this field and made good progress with regard to road transport, strengthening administrative capacity and maritime safety. However, attention needed to be paid to the new railway acquis and the rules on maritime safety.

The October 2002 Report confirmed that Estonia's legislation was being aligned with the acquis. Estonia had continued to make progress, particularly in the fields of air and sea transport, and had stepped up its administrative capacity in the rail and air sectors.

The October 2003 Report indicated that Estonia was essentially meeting the commitments and requirements arising from the accession negotiations on trans-European transport networks, road transport, inland waterway and rail transport, and was expected to be in a position to implement the acquis by the time of accession.


Community transport policy consists of initiatives in three fundamental areas.

The Europe Agreement provides for harmonisation of Estonian legislation with Community law, cooperation aimed at restructuring and modernising transport, improvement of access to the transport market, facilitation of transit and achievement of operating standards comparable to those in the Community. The White Paper focuses on measures for the accomplishment of internal market conditions in the transport sector, including such aspects as competition, legislative harmonisation and standards.


As regards horizontal issues, Estonia has approved the final report on Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA) of October 1999 that should form a basis for extending the trans-European networks in Estonia.

As regards road transport, provisions regarding public service obligations to be met by public transport, state aids to public transport and the conditions of access to the transport services market for enterprises have been adopted. In addition, rules on state aids as well as an accounting system for infrastructure for railway, road and inland waterway transport have been issued.

The new Road Transport Act, adopted in June 2000, regulates national and international transport of goods and non-professional passenger transport and also provides the basis for a number of items of secondary legislation including fiscal issues and the international transport licences system. In addition, it introduces the concept of combined transport to Estonia for the first time. Furthermore, comprehensive rules on implementing acts on market access for road haulage and passenger transport operators as well as roadworthiness checks for motor vehicles have been adopted.

The Law on public transport entered into force in 2001 with regard to the harmonisation of legislation on state aids and public service obligations. Laws on road transport and taxing heavy goods vehicles have been adopted. Regarding administrative capacity, Estonia has made some effort to train personnel.

Estonia has not yet initialled the multilateral INTERBUS agreement on occasional bus and coach services.

In 2003, alignment with the fiscal and social acquis was completed, except for checks on driving time and rest periods. In the technical field, legal alignment is largely complete, except for some implementing legislation. Further alignment is needed with regard to technical road-side inspection, transportable pressure equipment and speed-limitation devices.

With regard to trans-European transport networks, Estonia has prepared a transport corridor development plan for 2001-2005 as a basis for the co-financing of road projects. An initial project to rehabilitate the Via Baltica got under way in 2002.

In the field of railway transport, the elaboration of secondary legislation has continued in order to guarantee safe traffic (several regulations have been adopted regarding the engine drivers licence system) and equal conditions for railway entrepreneurs for access to the railways infrastructure. The national railway register has been established. New regulatory provisions have been adopted on rules for access to railway infrastructure and the rules on the incomes and expenditures of railway undertakings. The process of privatising the Estonian railways was completed in 2001. Work has continued on opening up the railway market, and several new licences have been granted to freight and passenger transport operators. In light of the imminent reorganisation of the Railway Administration, procedures and task allocation should be reviewed and further training given to staff. The independence of the allocation and charging functions still needs to be ensured, particularly with regard to the privatised integrated railways.

In the air transport sector the Estonian national development plan for aviation for 2000-2006 has been adopted. It covers alignment with the acquis and the impact on the sector of EU accession. On the basis of the Aviation Act, regulations establishing the rules for issuing and cancelling licences and certification of air carriers and air navigation services, the conditions of issuing certificates for building, manufacturing and operating aircraft, the airworthiness requirements, the environmental requirements for jet aircraft and the rules for using Estonian airspace and air traffic management have also been issued.

Negotiations between the European Community and Estonia on the multilateral agreement to establish a European Common Aviation Area were concluded at the end of 1999 and a bilateral protocol signed. The new structure and statutes of the national civil aviation administration have been adopted. Negotiations to join Eurocontrol are ongoing. Although the guidelines for a permanent body investigating accidents and incidents have been adopted, the actual body has not yet been established.

The final objective is to conclude the legislative process to set up the independent regulator.

Full membership of the Joint Aviation Authorities has still to be achieved, and particular efforts should be made to become a full member before accession.

In the maritime transport sector, the Maritime Safety Act has been amended. This new law constitutes a framework for establishing the rules and conditions for issuing, terminating or calculating operating licences for entrepreneurs providing services connected with construction, manufacturing, repairing, testing and inspection of ships. Furthermore, amendments to the Merchant Shipping Code Act adopted in April 2000 allows ships flying the flag of an EU Member State to carry out shipping services between Estonian ports on a reciprocal basis. In addition, on the basis of the Ports Act, a regulation regarding ships waste has been adopted, further aligning legislation with the acquis in this area. However, Estonia needs to continue the reinforcement of its administration and the implementation of the relevant safety requirements in order to bring its fleet up to the Community standards and in particular must ensure that there is a sufficient number of trained inspectors to apply the acquis.

In 2001, the Government approved the Estonian shipping policy for the period 2000-2004, promoting the development of the entire maritime transport economy. Estonia has also been added to the International Maritime Organisation's "white list", indicating approval for the training of Estonian seafarers.

In December 2001 Estonia acceded to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic. However, it needs to step up maritime safety and continue its efforts to lower the detention rate of inspected ships. In 2003, there were strong indications that the situation was deteriorating, in that the number of Estonian-flagged vessels being detained was rising sharply.

Last updated: 14.01.2004