CER calls for extra EU investment to help rail

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) is demanding that European policymakers increase central funding in the coming years to meet the rail – including freight – sector’s needs.

CER wants the budget for the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport to be increased in the post 2020 multi-annual financial framework (MFF) in order to contribute to what it calls the ‘huge financial needs’ of European transport.

CEF is the funding instrument used to realise European transport infrastructure policy. It aims to support investments in building new transport infrastructure in Europe or rehabilitating and upgrading the existing one. The resources allocated to rail transport in the next MFF will, says the CER, play a key role in ensuring that the transport system as a whole efficiently supports the union’s economic growth.

Competitive

To remain competitive and continue meeting the expectations of its customers, the CER says the rail sector requires significant investments in the following priorities:

  • enhancements to the existing rail network with a focus on projects that have an EU added value and which support the TEN-T policy objectives
  • building new infrastructure, in particular the construction of cross-border sections and missing links, multimodal connecting points, and the removal of bottlenecks
  • projects supporting the transformation of operations, in particular ERTMS, leading to important performance and productivity gains
  • providing a significantly larger and adequate budget for Shift2Rail2 to be established as an evolution of the successful Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking
  • projects supporting rail freight services, the reduction of transport noise and seamless mobility and accessibility for all users, including persons of reduced mobility.

Digitalise

Considerable financial resources will be required to complete the TEN-T rail network as well as to modernise and digitalise rail infrastructure in Europe for the benefit of Europe’s citizens. The European Commission estimates that 750 billion Euros is needed to realise the core network from 2016 to 2030.

Libor Lochman, Executive Director of the CER, said: “Rail has a positive impact on the EU’s economy and contributes to EU policy objectives by being the greenest and safest mode of transport. At the same time, the rail sector has enormous investment needs to continue modernising and digitalising Europe’s rail infrastructure and to keep investing in cross-border rail projects with high EU added-value. This will lead to benefits for Europe’s economy, environment and its citizens.”

Objectives

The CER last week hosted a roundtable discussion, in cooperation with the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, on the future of transport financing within the context of the of the next MFF. Speakers included European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and Bulgaria’s Deputy Transport Minister, Velik Zanchev.

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for RailFreight.com - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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