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UNIFE Advocates for Climate-Centric Rail Solutions in the EU's Future Strategy

UNIFE Advocates for Climate-Centric Rail Solutions in the EU's Future Strategy
photo: Peter Shaw / Flickr/Railway tracks
16 / 03 / 2024

The European Rail Supply Industry has unveiled an ambitious, positive agenda to EU policymakers and voters, which puts climate solutions, skills, innovation, better regulation, and gender equity at the heart of a strategy that will turbo-charge European rail and create jobs as a net-zero industry.

UNIFE has released On the Move to a Net-Zero EU, a document that outlines the European Rail Supply Industry’s priorities for the 2024-2029 EU legislative cycle, as part of the industry’s #VoteForRail campaign.

As part of the campaign, UNIFE will ask European voters to consider political platforms at the 2024 European elections that invest in rail solutions, tackle climate change and digitalization challenges, support European technologies, promote upskilling, or address the gender gap in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

UNIFE, among its key policy demands for the next legislative cycle, underscores and identifies the private and public funding requirements that are central to ensuring the rail sector achieves net zero and becomes the backbone of Europe’s future prosperity. This includes providing calculations to policymakers to help meet already established completion dates for existing rail projects and environmental transitions. For example, €47 billion per year will be necessary for the full completion of the TEN-T Core rail network by 2030. Such rail investments could create tens of thousands of net-zero jobs throughout European rail supply chains.

UNIFE’s ambitious and positive agenda asks EU policymakers ahead of the European elections in June to consider the following priorities as part of the next mandate:

  • Prioritizing net-zero industry in the 5-year programme of the European Commission and boosting rail supply competitiveness and manufacturing, while reducing the administrative burden for companies
  • Aligning European transport trends with the objectives of the European Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and intensifying public policies to trigger a modal shift for passenger and freight transport
  • Pursuing and increasing financial support to rail as part of strategic investments to meet climate challenges, with a true level-playing field on the EU procurement market
  • Achieving a true European single market for railway systems and the smooth deployment of rail solutions, simplifying the European rail technical and regulatory framework with a swifter and less costly vehicle authorization

  • Acknowledging the specificities of the rail sector to fully reap the benefits of digitalization and cybersecurity opportunities and to maintain the competitiveness of the European Rail Supply Industry
  • Achieving open and fair international markets, especially in public procurement, as well as a coherent EU strategy in third-country project financing to support the European Rail Supply Industry
  • Increasing and facilitating the support to European rail research and innovation, with competitiveness of the European Rail Supply Industry as its core objective
  • Increasing support at all levels (European, national, regional) to raise the attractiveness of rail supply jobs and the availability of talent, including targeting more women to join the rail sector

UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën stated: “Rail only accounts for 0.4% of Europe’s total transport greenhouse gas emissions, which means the rail supply industry is perfectly placed to be a backbone of Europe’s future prosperity as a net-zero industry. There is no climate neutrality without a strong European Rail Supply Industry. And for us to be strong, we need better regulation, and a focus on upskilling and training the next gender-balanced generation of workers, who can help deliver a key piece of Europe’s green transition. Voters and many within public life want vision and practical solutions. With our positive plan, we provide detailed policy suggestions, as Europe is challenged with questions about its climate transition, skills, strategic autonomy, and the ability to innovate.”

Source: UNIFE Press Releases