The Technical Pillar is one of the package's three pillars and recasts safety and interoperability directives while offering new regulations relating to the European Railway Agency (ERA) by confirming the need to remove existing administrative and technical barriers.

The agreement marks another step towards ERA taking responsibility for issuing safety certificates and vehicle authorisations throughout the European Union, which the European Commission has said it hopes this will accelerate the process of certifying rolling stock, a consistent source of contention across the EU.

The European Railway Industry Association (Unife) welcomed the council's agreement describing today's announcement as an important milestone towards the adoption of the technical pillar which will enable multi-country vehicle authorisations and establish a single European market for railway equipment. Unife says that it hopes the Italian presidency of the EU will continue the work of the Greek presidency so the council can swiftly adopt a common position in the second half of 2014.

"We would like to use the occasion of this positive development to once again urge the European institutions to adopt the technical pillar of the Fourth Railway Package during the Italian presidency," says Mr Philippe Citröen, director general of Unife. "[Adopting] this legislation would lead to major cost savings for the industry as well as massive improvements to rail transport throughout the EU."