EU rail sector: Graz Declaration could mark beginning of new era

The rail sector associations CER, EIM, ERFA, UIP, UIRR and UNIFE welcome the Graz Declaration, pushing for environment-friendly transportation in Europe. The rail sector stands ready to intensify its collaborative efforts in acting as a backbone of a sustainable mobility in Europe, they wrote in a joint statement.

Last week, the Graz Declaration promoting a ‘green deal’ for Europe was adopted under the Austrian Presidency at the Informal Meeting of Transport and Environment Ministers. The Ministers agreed to develop actions that complete the TEN-T rail core network, increase the efficiency and attractiveness of rail transport by removing all the barriers to interoperability, and strengthening the digitalisation and automation in the sector.

Role of rail

Rail has a central role to play in providing environment and climate-friendly transport and helping Europe meet its sustainability challenges, and remains the best solution for promoting safe, clean and green mobility, the organisations pointed out.

“The European rail sector is committed to delivering a modern rail system that responds to customer needs, providing both quality and cost-effective rail services. Under pressure from fast-paced technological developments and environmental efforts in the other transport modes, the rail sector is determined to maintain rail transport at the forefront of the green agenda and to continuously build on our strong safety record.”

Support needed

They continued: “Support is needed at all levels – local, regional, national and European, in order to maximise rail’s full potential to the benefit of citizens, society and the economy. The success of the EU low emission policy, getting more goods off road and onto rail, depends on strategic investments in rail and multi-modal infrastructure, a level playing field for all modes of transport, the removal of national barriers to the Single European Railway Area and efforts to enhance rail’s performance, by promoting digitalisation and use of standardised data and interfaces to address cost and quality issues.

CER, EIM, ERFA, UIP, UIRR and UNIFE share the view that the Graz Declaration can mark the beginning of a new era of clean, safe and affordable mobility for the benefit of Europe’s citizens, the environment, and society at large, and reiterate the importance of keeping rail at the heart of national and EU policies for a decarbonised and clean transportation of the future.

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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