09 Dec 2020

New EU Strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility Gives Pivotal Role to Rail

On 9 December, the European Commission published the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which will transform the EU transport sector to fully support the objectives of the EU ‘’Green Deal’’ and of ‘’A Europe fit for the digital age’’. The European rail sector, represented by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), the Association of the European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM) and the Association of the European Rail Supply Industry (UNIFE), welcome the timely adoption of the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and support its full and swift implementation.

Mobility’s essential role for the EU’s economy, society and sustainable development is fully acknowledged in the new Strategy, which aims to shape a transport sector capable of tackling the climate emergency and seizing the opportunities of modern technology. The aspect of resilience in transport is also duly highlighted as the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the urgent need for systemic transformation of our economy, based on principles of sustainability, innovation and resilience. The Strategy grants a prominent role to rail in the transition towards zero-emission mobility and in the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050.

The key challenges for fostering decarbonisation and digitalisation in transport are well known and addressed in the Strategy through its set of flagship areas and accompanying milestones. They complement the 2011 Transport White Paper, whose ‘’modal shift’’ principle has been the cornerstone of European transport policy upon which the new Strategy stands. The rail sector now requests policy makers to fully implement the Strategy with no delay.

CER, EIM and UNIFE share the Commission’s ambition and objectives for mobility. As stated in our ‘’Joint Statement’’ this June, we reaffirm our readiness to work together with the EU Institutions and Member States, ensuring that the rail sector contributes to the recovery of the EU economy and the wellbeing of European citizens. The European Year of Rail is an excellent opportunity to highlight the full potential of rail transport and increase its share in EU transport in line with the milestones announced in the Strategy. Doubling rail freight and tripling high-speed rail traffic by 2050 compared to 2015 require the completion of the comprehensive TEN-T Network, accompanied with a framework to enable smart and seamless mobility. Finally, in order to achieve a fair and just transition to sustainable mobility full internalisation of external costs by 2050 is key.

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman “The milestones proposed by the Strategy will enable European railways to continuously evolve their role to be the driving force behind the next-generation mobility that is resilient, smart and sustainable.”

EIM Executive Director Monika Heiming “We welcome the very ambitious White Paper Transport of the EU Commission. It comes in support of a more sustainable transport mix with a strong focus on rail services. The new mobility masterplan takes a 360° view on all transport modes with rail and rail infrastructure at the heart of them.”

UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën ‘’Rail must become the backbone of a clean, safe, integrated and digital mobility system in the EU. The rail supply industry will commit to ensure the new Strategy enables this vision. Research & Innovation, through Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking’s successor programme – particularly regarding next generation rolling stock and ERTMS – will make rail stronger and better fit to tame global crisis such as the current pandemic’’.

For more information:  
Laura Henry

CER Communications Manager


M: +32 (0) 491 16 21 73

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) brings together railway undertakings, their national associations as well as infrastructure managers and vehicle leasing companies. The membership is made up of long-established bodies, new entrants and both private and public enterprises, representing 71% of the rail network length, 76% of the rail freight business and about 92% of rail passenger operations in EU, EFTA and EU accession countries. CER represents the interests of its members towards EU policy makers and transport stakeholders, advocating rail as the backbone of a competitive and sustainable transport system in Europe. For more information, visit or follow @CER_railways on Twitter.
Guus de Bruijn

EU Legal and Policy Expert


T: +32 (0)2 234 37 73

EIM, the association of European Rail Infrastructure Managers, was established in 2002 to promote the interests and views of the independent Infrastructure Managers in Europe, following the liberalisation of the railway market. It also provides technical expertise to the appropriate European bodies such as the European Union Agency for Railways. EIM’s primary goal is promoting growth of rail traffic and the development of an open, sustainable, efficient and customer orientated rail network in Europe. To find out more about EIM, visit or follow @EIMRail on Twitter.
Andrei Ciufu

UNIFE Head of Communications


T: +32 (0)2 626 12 64

UNIFE represents the European Rail Supply Industry in Brussels since 1992. The association gathers more than 100 of Europe’s leading large and medium-sized rail supply companies active in the design, manufacture, maintenance, and refurbishment of rail transport systems, subsystems and related equipment. UNIFE also brings together 12 national rail industry associations of European countries. For more information, visit or follow @unife on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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