From 25 to 27 April, UNIFE participated in the TEN-T Days organised by the European Commission in Ljubljana, Slovenia, bringing together 4 European Commissioners and key decision makers from the European institutions, 1 Prime-Minister, 26 Ministers, and over 2000 participants from all transport modes.
The UNIFE ERTMS stand boasted an ETCS simulator provided by Siemens Mobility, attracting great interest among the decision-makers and participants. European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, after testing the simulator, emphasized the importance of ERTMS for interoperability of the European rail system. Several Members of the European Parliament and high-level officials from the European Commission and Member States also used the opportunity to get practical insights into how ERTMS works.
UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën also took part in a panel discussion during a special session on ERTMS and emphasised on the fact that “EU grants should remain the main funding mechanism for ERTMS deployment, to be allocated only to ERTMS projects compliant with EU technical and legal framework”. He also referred to other salient points put forward in the UNIFE Position Paper on CEF funding for ERTMS deployment in the post-2020 MFF (available here). The Position Paper presents how to optimise EU funding for ERTMS deployment.
Positive feedback on ERTMS came from the European Commission: Elisabeth Werner, Director at DG MOVE, stressed “the need to emphasise that ERTMS deployment is bringing a concrete EU added value when debating on the next MFF”. Karel Vinck, European Coordinator for ERTMS, pointed out that “ERTMS interoperability may ensure 2% GDP growth in Europe” while Carlo de Grandis, Policy Officer at DG MOVE, positively welcomed “the latest ERTMS National Implementation Plans (NIPS) showing a high level of compliance with European Deployment Plan targets and an on-going class B system decommissioning process”.
Members of the European Parliament attending the conference conveyed some supportive messages on ERTMS as well: Karima Delli insisted “on the importance of innovation in the transport sector recalling that to implement the 9 TEN-T Core Network Corridors and an interoperable rail system, thanks to ERTMS, a strong proposal for post-2020 EU Budget is essential”. Inés Ayala Sender mentioned that “to accelerate ERTMS deployment, Member States who are implementing and going faster should be allowed higher EU co-financing rates”.
Carlo Borghini, Executive Director at Shift2Rail reminded that “Shift2Rail has already committed half a billion euros in R&I and at the heart of S2R programme is IP2 on Advanced Traffic Management and Control System which will help make ERTMS a reality”.