Please find below the press release issued by UNIFE, the Association of the European Rail Industry, in cooperation with the European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM) and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), following the publication of the Transport White Paper.
The White Paper will shape the future of EU transport and rail policies, and refers several time to the need to fasten ERTMS deployment within Europe. More information can be found on the dedicated section of the UNIFE website.
28/03/2011 – Rail sector welcomes Commission’s vision for the future of transport and calls for effective implementation
The European Rail Industry (UNIFE), the European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM) and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcome the publication today of the long anticipated Transport White Paper setting out the EU transport policy for the next ten years including perspectives up to 2050. The European rail sector fully supports the vision of a competitive and resource-efficient transport system outlined in the document, in particular the targets for the decarbonisation of the transport sector and the establishment of a single European transport area. However, the associations warn that the focus must now be on how to implement the proposed measures if this vision is to become a reality in the next decade.
CER, EIM and UNIFE welcome in particular the strong references to rail taking a greater share in traffic for both freight and passenger transport, as well as the specific targets set by the Commission: notably, 30% of road freight over 300km should shift to rail or waterways by 2030, and 50% by 2050. The associations support proposals to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from transport by at least 60% by 2050 compared to their 1990 levels. The European rail sector also applauds the Commission’s aspiration for a structural change to reduce oil dependency in the sector, as well as moving towards the implementation of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, a policy commitment that CER, EIM and UNIFE have long been advocating.
The rail sector is also pleased to see a strong commitment to creating a true internal market for rail services. A more consistent and coherent approach to multimodal freight corridors, the completion of a fully functional TEN-T network, and the creation of a European high-speed rail network are key measures to achieve an open, efficient and customer-orientated European rail network. The rail associations also welcome the intention to reinforce the role of the European Railway Agency.
However, CER, EIM and UNIFE warn against the possible risk of over-reliance on technological improvement to meet the sector’s new GHG reduction targets. The recent ‘EU Transport GHG: Routes to 2050?’ study, undertaken by the consultants CE Delft for the Commission, concluded that relying on technical improvements is not sufficient to reach the levels of reductions needed. It is clear that there must be sufficient effort put into implementing the necessary economic tools that will also be needed if the sector is to meet its targets both for 2030 and 2050.The objectives of the White Paper now need to be translated into legislation and concrete measures. The effective and timely implementation of these measures will be the key to successfully realising this ambitious vision for the transport system of the future. The rail sector is determined to play its part and will support the European Commission through this crucial implementation phase.
Johannes Ludewig, CER Executive Director commented: “The Commission’s Transport White Paper is definitely going into the right direction. It sets ambitious goals, not only to drastically reduce GHG emissions but also to strengthen the role of rail in passenger and freight traffic. We now call upon European decision makers to introduce the right measures and instruments in order to achieve these goals.”
Hendrik Abma, EIM’s Executive Director, said: “EIM supports the Commission’s vision towards the harmonisation of the existing European corridors, such as TEN-T and freight corridors. Therefore, European Rail Infrastructure Managers are committed to cooperate with the Commission to promote an efficient and customer oriented approach to rail corridors. However, innovative framework conditions and instruments are also needed to ensure a sound and sustainable financing of rail infrastructure.”
Michael Clausecker, UNIFE Director-General, said: “We applaud the ambitious goal setting in this White Paper and believe that rail transport will play a central role in the creation of a Single European Transport Area. It is the right political signal at the right time and reinforces the European rail industry’s long-standing commitment to deliver energy efficient, reliable, and high-performing rail systems to the European market.”