AIMING HIGH – CER AND UNIFE WELCOME TRAN VOTE ON THE REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2011 WHITE PAPER ON TRANSPORT
The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the European Rail Industry Association (UNIFE) welcome all the efforts made by the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) of the European Parliament, under the lead of Wim van de Camp MEP, on its own-initiative report ‘Implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport: taking stock and the way forward towards sustainable mobility’, which was adopted today.
The European rail sector broadly supports the European Parliament’s approach aiming at speeding-up the implementation of the initiatives listed in the 2011 Transport White Paper. CER and UNIFE share the view of the TRAN Committee as it reiterates the importance of maintaining the targets set in the 2011 White Paper on Transport. Moreover, the report correctly underscores that the Commission should propose concrete measures and initiatives to increase and streamline the efforts to meet them. CER and UNIFE very much support this approach and welcome the references made by the Parliament to achieving a swift adoption of the Fourth Railway Package and the implementation of the SHIFT˛RAIL Joint Undertaking. This would bring efficiency gains while also boosting the attractiveness of rail transport solutions in order to achieve modal shift targets for both freight and passenger transport.
Furthermore, CER and UNIFE are pleased with the TRAN Committee’s approach on prioritising the financing of rail projects under the TEN-T and CEF initiatives. In this respect, European policymakers should ensure that Member States provide solid and sufficient funding for rail infrastructure with simplified rules.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “CER agrees with the vast majority of the issues brought forward by the TRAN Committee; it should however be noted that CER does not agree with the call to ensure that all EU public service contracts are awarded via public tender. This is not in line with the position expressed by the same European Parliament with the adopted first-reading text of the revision of Regulation 1370/2007 on passenger transport services, voted by the plenary in February 2014. Regarding the issue of rail noise, CER agrees that public funding should be targeted at retrofitting noisy rail freight wagons. However, the call for a ban on noisy freight wagons by 2020 represents a huge threat to the very existence of many freight companies, which would then be hammered on the one side by the lack of public funding for retrofitting, and on the other by the Europe-wide ban. Such a ban would even be discriminatory against railways since no similar actions are envisaged for road.”
UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën commented: “We are glad that the European Parliament took into due consideration the top priorities of the European rail industry. Implementation should be the key-word for our sector in the near future and in this respect I can only support the European Parliament’s plea for immediate action on the Fourth Railway Package, on Shift2Rail and on the removal of barriers that prevent the European rail industry from bidding for public contracts in non-EU countries”.
The TRAN Committee report will be voted in plenary on 7 September. Its content should then feed into the European Commission’s stocktaking report, due to be finalised at the beginning of 2016.