After a busy first quarter in 2011 and a summer break UNIFE is looking forward to a successful new term following the very significant Joint Technology Initiative. Presidents and CEO’s of the largest European rail suppliers companies joined forces on 1 July by signing a Declaration of Intent to launch a Joint Technology Initiative and created an important new step in railway research. A lot of work now has to be done by the industry with the support of UNIFE to prepare the final version of our proposal which will be presented to the Commission.
Not only did we achieve a significant step with the Joint Technology Initiative but the new platform for debate, Rail Forum Europe proved to be successful, too. In a debate on 5 July at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, MEP’s and rail stakeholders agreed that a single European market for railway rolling stock needs to be achieved as quickly as possible.
Following the publication the Transport White Paper by the Commission in March, UNIFE published a position paper on the Cohesion Policy Review calling for a Cohesion Policy that delivers a sustainable transport system in Europe in the next programming period (2014-2020) on 25 August. In this we are asking the Commission to implement important measures in line with the objectives of the EU White Paper on Transport to increase the success for rail transport in Europe.
Moving from the Cohesion Policy to another significant matter: the growing success of ERTMS on the world stage received a clear sign of political support from the EU Institutions as the European Commission opened a TEN-T funding call foreseeing a total expenditure of 180 million Euros, 100 million of which will be dedicated to ERTMS.
This news coincides with a personnel change at UNISIG: we are happy to announce the appointment of Michel Van Liefferinge as the new UNISIG General Manager with effect from 1 January 2012. Michel will follow in the footsteps of UNISIG’s long-standing General Manager David Gillan, who after having battled passionately for so many years for the harmonisation of railway systems in Europe will go into a much deserved retirement.
As for the European rail research and development, after having successfully launched the EU-funded SUSTRAIL project on 14 and 15 June in Milan we are happy to announce a contribution to a new era in increased competitiveness of the rail freight sector.
Another Project Seminar will be held in Madrid on 14 September. This seminar titled “Vibrations - Annoyance, Acceptance and Assuming the challenge to find solutions” will provide the public with a broad overview of the collaborative research project.
With so many important issues in the pipeline, I am very much looking forward to a great third quarter of 2011 here at UNIFE!
With kind regards,