The biggest high-level policy event on TEN-T of the year was held in Riga, Latvia, on 22-23 June. Co-organised by the European Commission and the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU, it brought together more than 1000 participants, including EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, Transport Ministers of the EU Member States, Members of the European Parliament, CEOs and key stakeholders. The discussions on the future of the European transport infrastructure policy were particularly focused on the implementation and financing of the Core Network Corridors.
UNIFE had a prominent stand in the exhibition of the conference which showcased the diverse activities of the Association. Commissionner Bulc, who was welcomed on the UNIFE stand by Philippe Citroën, had the opportunity to try out the ETCS live simulator, which was kindly provided by Siemens. The simulator, which allows participants to test drive a train equipped with ETCS, was one of the big hits of the exhibition.
The TEN-T Days demonstrated once again that ERTMS is at the heart of the European Commission’s strategy for Transport in Europe. The deployment of ERTMS remains a key priority, as reflected in the Work Plan of Karel Vinck, the European ERTMS Coordinator.
In a session chaired by Sian Prout (Head of Unit, Single European Railway Area, DG MOVE), attendees were provided with an update of the latest developments concerning ERTMS, in the framework of the ERTMS Breakthrough Programme. This programme, launched at the beginning of 2015 by Karel Vinck (European ERTMS Coordinator) with the support of the European Commission, details the necessary objectives to be reached by the end of 2016 to speed up the deployment of ERTMS in Europe. The session offered a snapshot of the ongoing ERTMS-related activities, with most notably the revision of the ERTMS deployment plan (in close cooperation with the EU Member states), studies on new ways of financing ERTMS projects but also exchanges on the stability and long-term evolution of the ERTMS specifications.
A few days before the approval of the European Fund for Strategic Infrastructure (EFSI) by the European Parliament, the new guarantee fund figured prominently in the discussions on financing of the Europe’s infrastructure needs. It exemplifies the European Commission’s emphasis on innovative funding solutions for projects along the TEN-T core transport network.
Many of the debates during TEN-T Days focused on the Work Plans prepared by each one of the 11 European Coordinators for the TEN-T. These Work Plans summarise the current state of infrastructure along each of the 9 core corridors, as well as for ERTMS and Motorways of the Sea, and set out the challenges and critical issues for future infrastructure development.
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