As rail regulator, the Regulatory Body for Railway Transport and for Brussels Airport Operations was founded by Royal Decree on 25 October 2004. The competence regarding economic regulation of the national airport was added by Royal Decree on 1 February 2006.
By royal decree on 4 December 2012 the legal statute of the Regulatory Body was modified. Since then, the Regulatory Body is no longer a part of the Federal Public Service for Mobility and Transport, and only the Minister is responsible for disciplinary matters regarding the management of the Regulatory Body.
In the light of the recast of the first European Railway package, a further statutory evolution of the Regulatory Body is foreseen in the near future.
The Regulatory Body has an anticipated staff of 12 members of which 10 have already taken up office.
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Mission and Vision
The Regulatory Body for Railway Transport and for Brussels Airport operations is the ‘economic regulatory authority’ for the railway sector and the ‘supervising authority’ for the Brussels-National airport.
Generally speaking, the Regulatory Body has the following missions:
- To supervise the market: The Regulatory Body is the economic watchdog of the markets of rail transport in Belgium and of Brussels National Airport. This means observing if the processes on these markets are operating in a correct way and if the market is developing harmoniously. The Regulatory Body also examines if the fees for using the infrastructure are applied in a correct way (rail) or correctly calculated (airport).
- To protect the interests of the users and the general public interest: The Regulatory Body also protect the interests of the users that want to access to the rail or airport infrastructure. This access should be given in a non-discriminatory way.
- To advise: Finally, the Regulatory Body also has the task of advising the government, among other things in the process of developing future regulation on economic regulation in the rail and airport sector.
In executing its tasks, the Regulatory Body applies the following vision:
- The Regulatory Body aims to be an important stakeholder in the field, playing its role in complete independency and autonomy, being as transparent as possible.
- The Regulatory Body should also be a person of confidence to all interested parties from the concerned sectors.
- Therefore, it is important that the staff members of the Regulatory Body have enough professional expertise and impeccable integrity, in order to be able to correctly consider the interests in all the actions they take. In addition, the law has established that staff members of the Regulatory Service cannot have (contracted or other) activities on behalf of companies which are active in the regulated sectors.
Regulation in general
For a number of years, the European Union has been pursuing a policy of liberalisation to create more market activity. The purpose of this is to have lower prices and better quality for the (end) users.
The market does not always function as it should. This is, among other things, caused by:
- the presence of a natural monopoly in the sector;
- the presence of a legal monopoly in the sector;
- the presence of a dominant market actor (so-called ‘incumbent’).
Regulation of the market
Regulation is a tool to adjust the market. The goal is to prevent or to compensate for the detrimental effects of a lack of competition of efficiency. In some cases the market chooses for a model of auto-regulation but most of the time it is the government that is imposing and exercising a form of regulation. In that case, regulation can be seen as the use of legislation and rules with the aim to control certain players. This can be obtained by imposing certain obligations or by supervising and enforcing the obligations through audits, supervisory missions, monitoring of the market and even through sanctions.
Regulation in the transport sector
The sectors of rail transport and airports are typical examples of network industries showing a monopolistic nature.
As former state monopolist (‘incumbent’), the NMBS is a railway undertaking that is still a dominant market actor. Also, since a few years the NMBS is the operator of several service facilities, including all Belgian railway stations, for which specific rules regarding economic regulation are applicable.
Organization chart & List of staff members
Mr. Bart Daneels (N)
Tel. 02-277 45 31
Ms. Katrijn Peeters (N)
Tel. 02-277 30 45
Mr. Rodolphe Duterme (F)
Tel. 02-277 30 41
Ms. Gretel Panneels (N)
Tel. 02-277 45 24