News Release – Rail Forum Europe’s launch event focused on switching climate change onto the right track

Strasbourg, 10 May 2011 MEPs gathered tonight to officially launch Rail Forum Europe, the newly founded parliamentary forum dedicated to rail transport. In the context of the recent adoption of the Transport White Paper, Siim Kallas and Keir Fitch, his Deputy Head of Cabinet, were invited as a guest speakers to discuss the contribution of rail transport to climate change mitigation.

 

For its very first dinner-debate, Rail Forum Europe took a successful first-step into forging a dialogue between MEPs and the rail sector’s relevant stakeholders.  From the industry side, Alstom was invited to present what the rail sector has already achieved in terms of GHG emissions reduction and presented future solutions to make rail transport even cleaner.

 

Brian Simpson, Chairman of the Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe President, was clear to mention that.“railways are one of most environmentally-friendly forms of transport and have a critical role to play if we are to deliver a safe, sustainable and effective public transport network” and added ”I believe railways have the potential to be at the cutting-edge of transport technology and to be a leading element in our efforts to control climate change”.

 

Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Transport, congratulated Brian Simpson and the MEPs involved in the creation of the Forum and reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to tackle transport GHG emissions as a matter of urgency and put forward his vision on the role rail has to play: ”Modern and efficient railways are an important part of the solution to drastically reducing our dependence on oil”.

 

Keir Fitch, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Kallas, advocated in his keynote address that “There will be no decarbonisation of transport without a modal shift to rail transport”. On the issue of a potential shift of EU regional funds from rail to road transport, he firmly stated that the response of the Commission “must be no”.

 

Michael Cramer, Member of the Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe Vice-President, said “the Commission White Paper failed to tackle the taxation framework, a pre-condition to modal shift”.

 

Tony Berkeley, Chairman of Rail Freight Group, said “If the EU wants to achieve the modal shift targets set out in the White Paper, investment in rail infrastructure is a matter of priority”. Keir Fitch added that “an end must be put to the infrastructure monopolies that should be reorganised by corridors to improve capacity management and reduce costs, thus making rail an attractive solution”.

 

Rail Forum Europe will hold its second event on 5 July 2011 in Strasbourg. At this occasion, the MEPs will address the issue of building a single European market for railway rolling stock.

 

 

For more information on Rail Forum Europe, please contact info@rail-forum.eu  or visit www.rail-forum.eu.

The presentation made by Marc Châtelard, Senior Vice-President Product and Strategy, Alstom Transport, can be found by clicking here.

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About Rail Forum Europe

Founded by 15 Members of the European Parliament from across the parliamentary committees, Rail Forum Europe is an international non-profit making association that aims at bringing together EU decision-makers and the rail sector to achieve a better understanding of rail-related issues.

 

Rail Forum Europe is governed solely by a Managing Board of MEPs, the President of which is Mr Brian Simpson (Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism).

 

Rail Forum Europe. The MEPs’ platform dedicated to rail transport.

Categories Latest News | Tags: | Posted on May 12, 2011

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