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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2002 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(98) 701 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(1999) 509 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2000) 709 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1752 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1408 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1207 - 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 European Commission felt that Poland had made good progress in adopting the transport acquis. Provided that it moved swiftly and decisively on the operation of its domestic road haulage market, the transport sector should not pose major problems as regards adoption of the internal market acquis. Conversely, special attention should be given to providing the means needed to lay the foundations for a future trans-European network that has been extended to include the acceding countries, and to improving and strengthening administrative structures.

The November 1998 Report confirmed that assessment, while stressing the need to make further efforts, more particularly in approximating the laws on the free movement of goods.

The October 1999 Report found that the progress made in this sector had been variable. Good progress had been in road transport but further efforts were required in other sectors. However, the effective implementation of the acquis in road transport (access to the market, road safety, taxation) required attention. Additional efforts were required for the modernisation of the transport infrastructure.

The November 2000 Report noted that some progress was recorded in the field of transport, due in particular to the adoption of new regulations.

The November 2001 Report stated that progress has been achieved in most areas of the acquis. However, Poland still needed to adopt basic legislation concerning air transport, develop appropriate administrative structures and approve secondary legislation for all modes of transport.

The October 2002 Report notes that Poland has continued to align its legislation with the acquis and made good progress in the air, road and maritime transport sectors. However, Poland needs to implement the fiscal and social/technical acquis in the road sector, further liberalise rail transport and continue to improve maritime safety.

The 2003 Report points out that Poland is essentially meeting the commitments and requirements arising from the accession negotiations in the areas of trans-European transport networks and road, inland waterway, rail and air transport. However, Poland needs to reinforce its administrative capacities for the management of projects concerning the trans-European transport networks and to ensure implementation of flag State control so as to reduce the detention rate of Polish-flagged vessels.


Community transport policy consists of initiatives in three fundamental areas.

The Europe Agreement provides for harmonisation of Hungarian legislation with Community law, co-operation 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 and legislative harmonisation.


Notwithstanding the preparatory work, much remains to be done in order to adopt and implement the necessary regulations and develop the appropriate administrative structures. Poland must therefore intensify its efforts in the process of the transposition of the acquis. The administrative capacities will need considerable reinforcement so that the acquis may be implemented effectively, particularly in the field of maritime transport.

As regards horizontal issues, one positive element has been the adoption of the law on economic activity which introduces equal operating conditions for domestic and foreign entities, except in the areas of air transport and railways.

In the field of transport infrastructure, the main investment efforts have been concentrated in the development of the four transport corridors on Polish territory. Poland has approved the final report on Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA) of October 1999, which should form the basis for extending the trans-European networks to Poland.

In the field of road transport, three regulations on roadworthiness tests, two regulations on driving licences and the registration and marking of vehicles, and finally a regulation on the procedure of drawing up of data on the public roads network were adopted. In April 2000, the multilateral INTERBUS programme was initialled by Poland. Its implementation will result in partial alignment with the road passenger transport acquis. Alignment with the social acquis has been completed, whereas in the technical field some further work is needed, in particular regarding technical inspections at roadsides. Introduction of a uniform charging system for the use of road infrastructure is still pending.

In 2001, Poland adopted the Law on Road Transport, which aligns legislation with the EC acquis on market access and provides for the necessary administrative structures to be put in place.

In 2002, the following laws entered into force: Law on road transport, Law on road traffic, Law on local taxes and charges and the Act on working time and rest periods for drivers.

The task of admission to the profession is to be entrusted to the Road Transport Institute. As regards administrative capacity, implementation of the Law on road transport paved the way for the creation of the Road Transport Inspectorate, which will be essential to enforce EC standards in the field of social legislation and technical requirements. Poland has been granted a transitional arrangement until December 2010 in order to maintain maximum weight values for road vehicles lower than those laid down in the acquis.

With regard to trans-European transport networks, the most important development in 2001 was the adoption of the programme of adjustment of Poland's road network to European Union standards. The programme sets 2015 as the date by which roads in Poland will be adapted for vehicles up to 115 tonnes. In 2002, the Polish Government adopted a new national infrastructure development plan, in accordance with the trans-European network objectives, to upgrade and build motorways, expressways and other main roads from 2002 until 2005. However, the Polish authorities must take some key decisions as regards the allocation of resources for co-financing the works.

With regard to railway transport, the institutional changes in the Polish State Railways (PKP) have led to the establishment of independent entities. The law on commercialisation, restructuring and privatisation of PKP adopted in September 2000 and is aimed at carrying out reforms adjusting PKP to market conditions and the acquis requirements and at speeding up privatisation. This law creates the framework for setting up independent companies for infrastructure management, rail passenger transport and rail freight transport. However, Poland should increase its efforts in order to achieve conformity with the railway acquis ahead of accession.

A new Law on railway transport entered into force in January 2001, transposing various elements of the acquis on the development of the Community's railways, as well as on licensing. This Law paves the way for the creation of the Railways Transport Office, responsible for transport regulation and engineering, supervision of railways and traffic safety. However, particular attention should be drawn to the implementation of the interoperability directives. The system of safety advisors for dangerous goods transport should be strengthened in this sector. Poland has been granted a transitional arrangement on full access to the trans-European rail freight network until the end of December 2006.

In the field of air transport, the privatisation of the Polish flag carrier, LOT Polish Airlines, has started successfully, but substantial efforts are still required to complete the process of restructuring LOT. Budgetary and structural adaptations are also necessary in the field of air safety and Poland has yet to join the European Common Aviation Area.

In 2002, an Aviation Law was adopted. However, the financial situation of the Polish national carrier deteriorated following the attacks of 11 September.

In the field of maritime transport, Poland must improve maritime safety and reinforce its administrative capacities. In spite of recent improvements in the safety performance of the Polish fleet, the safety record of Polish flagged vessels still does not meet the average record of the EU fleets. The Law on Maritime Safety entered into force in January 2001. The Law provides a legal basis for ship inspection and relevant activities of maritime administrations, port state control and a minimum level of training of seafarers. In 2002, Poland had three Maritime Offices, under which operate the inspectorates which carry out flag State control and port State control, and the Inspectorate of Maritime Environmental Protection.

Adoption of implementing legislation needs to be completed, in particular in relation to the acquis adopted under the "Erika" packages, and with regard to the latest amendments to the acquis on passenger ships, fishing vessels and marine equipment.

Last updated: 02.03.2004