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The Warsaw Voice » Other » November 18, 2009
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Have Law, Will Travel
November 18, 2009   
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Marcin Krakowiak, a partner in the Domański Zakrzewski Palinka Sp. k. law firm, talks to Beata Gołębiewska-Chęciak.

The European Union's regulations on public passenger transport services are about to change. How will that affect Poland's public transportation system?
Regulation (EC) No. 1370/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council will take effect Dec. 3, 2009 to harmonize the rules governing public passenger transportation services by rail and road. From the point of view of the Polish system, the most important changes are those that concern the financing of passenger transportation services and the way operators are selected. After the Regulation enters into force, the central government and local governments, communities in particular, will have more freedom than so far in skipping bidding procedures while choosing in-house operators. At the same time, profits generated by such operators will be limited and contracts on services they sign with public offices will be more transparent. That will reduce the likelihood of disturbances in the functioning of the market and restrict in-house operators' privileged position with regard to private ones.

Polish legislators are planning a new law on public passenger transportation with provisions to transpose the EU Regulation.

What do you think about the quality of Polish transposition?
Work is under way on a bill on public passenger transportation, but the final form of these provisions is not known yet. Please note that, in its current version, the bill addresses a number of issues differently than intended by EU lawmakers in the Regulation. For example, to a greater extent than the Regulation, the bill permits bus and tramway transportation services to be commissioned without a bidding procedure. Unless the discrepancies between the bill and the Regulation are removed, quite possibly the bill will be deemed partly or entirely contrary to the Regulation and then the negative consequences will primarily affect operators.

Does this mean the bill is not needed?
I believe it is necessary. The legislator should, however, focus on changes in the Polish legal system, for example by clarifying relations between public authorities and in-house operators. Changes should be made to the Law on Public Finances, the Law on Public Procurement, the Law on Rail Transportation, and the Law on Licenses on Construction Work and Services. All that is necessary to make sure the system is consistent with Regulation 1370/2007. On the other hand, it would be unnecessary-in fact, unacceptable, in my opinion-to pass a separate law just to copy the provisions of the EU Regulation and in an altered form at that.
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