Rail sector applauds the European Parliament’s opinion on the future of European transport
Tuesday, 06 July 2010
The European rail sector strongly supports the opinion issued by the European Parliament on 6 July to decarbonise transport through all available means – including the internalisation of the external costs for all modes of transport, and the doubling of rail passenger transport by 2020.
The European Parliament’s own-initiative report on a sustainable future for transport coordinated by rapporteur Mathieu Grosch (EPP, Belgium) was adopted today at the plenary session in Strasbourg. The report emphasised that it is vital to take into account targets set in the 2001 White Paper when preparing for the Commission’s upcoming new White Paper on the future of transport, which will lay down guidelines for European transport policy in the next 10 years.
In line with the views of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), the European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM) and the European Rail Industry (UNIFE), the report maintains that the goal of European transport policy should be efficient comodality, which envisages an optimal reallocation of resources between different transport modes. However, CER, EIM and UNIFE maintain that a shift towards more sustainable transport modes such as rail needs to be actively pursued if the European transport system is to significantly reduce its emissions.
The European Parliament’s report further argues that the economic crisis must serve as an opportunity and investments should support the transport sector – in particular, the environment-friendly and sustainable modes of transport should receive financial assistance. However, the rail sector regrets the adoption of an amendment deleting the reference to the creation of a transport fund. The fund would have allowed targeted and more efficient support of transport projects. The replacement of the fund by a “facility to coordinate the use of different transport sources of transport funding” is far less ambitious. However on another issue, the rail sector associations were pleased to note that MEPs support regulated market opening in the rail sector.
Johannes Ludewig, CER Executive Director commented: “MEPs have recognised that decarbonising transport is one of the main challenges of future EU transport policy. The rail sector can play an important role in tackling these challenges and we now call on the European Commission to ensure that this is adequately reflected in the White Paper on the future of transport.”
Dan Wolff, EIM Head of Policy, added that “The disruption of flight traffic caused by the volcanic ash showed how much rail is an essential part of the current and future transport system. This Parliamentary report should pave the way to legal measures that will allow railways to unleash their full potential and to back growth plans with necessary funding on a permanent basis. The internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport is a crucial step in this perspective”.
Michael Clausecker, UNIFE Director General, “This report reflects the challenges that lie at the heart of European transport policy today. To facilitate a more prominent role for rail, ambitious goals for the transport sector are indispensable, and not least the effective implementation of policy measures included in the White Paper will be key for success.”
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