News Release – Rail Forum Europe calls for coordinated investments in rolling stock and infrastructure

Brussels, 13 September 2012 – Coordinated investments in infrastructure and rolling stock at EU and national level are needed in order re-launch the role of the rail sector in Europe. This was the main message from the Rail Forum Europe dinner-debate held on 11 September at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on “Putting rolling stock and infrastructure financing on the right track”. About 60 participants from the European Institutions and rail stakeholders participated in the event, sponsored by PKP-PLK (Polish State Railways).

Opening the debate, Danuta Hübner MEP, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development and Rail Forum Europe Member, highlighted the importance of investing in rail in order to meet the objectives of the Transport White Paper. In this respect, “it is a shame that a disproportionate amount of EU money is spent on road projects, especially in Central and Eastern Europe” she said. In order to reverse this trend, the EP’s Committee on Regional Development supports not only infrastructure, but also rolling stock investments.  “In order to develop a truly interoperable European rail system, we must seek the highest possible level of complementarity and coordination between the EU, Members States and regions” she concluded.

Matthias Ruete, Director General of DG MOVE, agreed with Ms. Hübner that coordination and complementarity are top priorities for a “European federal infrastructure policy”. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), recently proposed by the European Commission, gives high priority to rail projects and therefore deserves full support from the railway stakeholders. He concluded by inviting the European railway community to “become members of the transport party and become members of the CEF party”.

Aleksander Wolowiec, Member of the Management Board of PKP-PLK provided an overview of the situation of the Polish railway sector. In particular, investments would be needed to improve the conditions of infrastructure and renew the rolling stock fleet. “The Polish railways’ improvement programme includes modernisation and revitalisation of lines, construction of new lines including high-speed, purchase and modernisation of rolling stock and modernisation of stations”. For this to happen, there are a number of funding opportunities from the new cohesion policy in the financial perspective 2014-2020. However, “PKP does not support transferring € 10 billion from the cohesion fund to CEF, as rules for funds allocation in cohesion fund are better than those in CEF” he said.

Paulo Mendes-Jorge, Managerial Adviser in Railways at the European Investment Bank, described the EIB transport lending policy over the past five years. EIB lending for mainline and urban rail projects represented roughly half of EIB transport lending in 2007-2011. “The EIB is enthusiastic about rail financing, as long as projects are economically and environmentally sustainable” he said.

Michael Cramer, Member of the EP’s Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe Board Member highlighted the need to address the current paradoxical situation in the EU where “countries with a lot of European money have no projects and countries with a lot of big projects have no money”.

Philippe Citroën, Director General of UNIFE, thanked the Commission for the decision taken in some EU countries not to allow shifting of funds from rail to road projects. Moreover, he expressed his support for the CEF proposed by the Commission and advocated the creation of rail investment agencies to facilitate the absorption of EU funds in Eastern European countries.

Brian Simpson, Chairman of the EP’s Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe President, concluded the debate by pointing out that “coordinated investments are essential, thus Member States should have a more positive approach towards investments in cross border sections and start meeting promises made in the past to deliver a fully sustainable European added value transportation network”.

+++ ENDS +++

To download the press release in pdf, please click here.

The presentations/speeches given by Aleksander Wolowiec and Paulo Mendes-Jorge are available on Rail Forum Europe’s website: www.rail-forum.eu.

 

 

Rail Forum Europe AISBL

Avenue Louise 221,

B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 642 23 25

info@rail-forum.eu

www.rail-forum.eu

 

Acting Executive Secretary

Leonardo Dongiovanni

 Managing Board

Brian Simpson MEP (President), Gesine Meissner MEP (Vice-President), Michael Cramer MEP (Vice-President), Ines Ayala-Sender MEP, Georges Bach MEP, Jan Březina MEP, Antonio Cancian MEP, Philippe De Backer MEP, Saïd El Khadraoui MEP, Ismail Ertug MEP, Malcolm Harbour MEP, Edit Herczog MEP, Danuta Hübner MEP, Jo Leinen MEP, Dominique Riquet MEP, Andreas Schwab MEP, Debora Serracchiani MEP, Evžen Tošenovský MEP

 About Rail Forum Europe

Founded by 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

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

Categories Latest News | Tags: | Posted on September 13, 2012

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