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Press release

Non-compliance with EU rules on railway safety

Press release from EFA MEP Ana Miranda (Galicia)

Galician MEP Ana Miranda has insisted that the opening of infringement procedures against the Spanish state for non-compliance with EU rules on rail safety, announced last Thursday by the European Commission, should have political consequences for former Spanish ministers José Blanco and Ana Pastor.

During a press conference with the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport, Karima Delli, MEP Ana Miranda said:

"The terrible negligence committed by former PSOE and PP Ministers of Public Works by inaugurating the Alvia train line between Ourense and Santiago, by not carrying out complete risk assessments and by not complying with EU law should have political consequences".

Ana Miranda added:

"It is clear that besides technical responsibilities derived from the disconnection of the security system, there are also political consequences and consequences derived from the non-performance of integrated risk control activities. Those most responsible for the tragedy should not go unpunished."

Reopening of the case

Ana Miranda stated that the decision taken by the European Commission should be serious enough for the investigating judge in Spain to reopen the case. In this sense, she believes that the reopening of the case against the train driver, Francisco José Garzón, and against the then Head of Safety Andrés Cortabitarte at ADIF, the Spanish Administrator of Railway Infrastructures, is “clearly insufficient”.

Miranda continued:

"After the European Commission’s decision, the most logical step would be to reopen the case in Spain, and for the judge to reopen the trial against the remaining people with technical and political responsibilities."

The MEP also spoke of the "terrible consequences" of not carrying out the integrated risk control after the modification of the train line. According to the Galician MEP "getting to the bottom of this is the best homage we can pay to the victims, people who have been suffering and fighting since 2013. They deserve all our support and work".

Ana Miranda will now seek a meeting with the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, and table a parliamentary question to the European Commission about specific safety weaknesses upon which the Commission's infringement procedure against the Spanish state is based. In addition, this question will include a petition for the Spanish state to carry out an independent investigation on the Alvia accident of 2013.

In this sense, the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport, Karima Delli, pointed out that she will address the Commission and the Spanish state to urge them to carry out an independent investigation of the accident.

Delli commented:

"We will be vigilant as this procedure opens and we will request an independent investigation. I hope justice will be done and that Europe will protect the victims.

"Any breaches of EU law are very serious, these are rules that we must respect because they are fundamental tools to protect the safety of passengers".

She also highlighted the fact that the Commission opens an infringement procedure "only when a breach is very serious", and that "this is a case that affected us all".