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The EU will declare 2021 the year of railways

The EU will declare 2021 the year of railways
photo: Archives/The Europian Year of Rail
16 / 11 / 2020

The negotiators of the European Parliament and the European Council reached a consensus. The year 2021 will be declared the year of the railway! Thus, various events and initiatives in support of the railway should take place throughout the year under the auspices of the EU. These activities should engage people to make more use of trains to travel. The actions should also lead to an increase in the share of goods and materials transported by rail.

The Year of Railways should ensure that the ideas set out in the objectives of the Green deal Agreement are met. Railways will be presented as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transportation, which is also able to provide a number of services even in times of crisis as was confirmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, many industries were paralyzed, but the railways continued to carry on the goods. The Year of Railways should also raise awareness of the cross-border European dimension of rail transport and increase its contribution to the EU economy, industry and society.

The European Commission is likely to submit two feasibility studies. The first would aim to create a European brand to promote goods transported by rail. The second study will look at creating a rail transport index similar to the one that already exists for air transport. The Commission must inform the European Parliament of its plans by March 2021.

"Railways are the answer to many critical mobility issues, such as climate neutrality, energy efficiency, crisis resilience and safety. The European Year of Railways aims to support the sector and encourage more tourists, businesses and manufacturers to choose a train, "said Andreas Scheuer, German Federal Minister for Transport, President of the Council.

An interim agreement on the year of the railways was reached on 12th of November and is subject to approval by the European Council. The agreement will be submitted to the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) this week for approval.

A quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the transport sector. This ratio is constantly growing. In 2050, climate neutrality is to be achieved. Therefore, transport emissions must be reduced by 90 %. Rail transport plays an absolutely crucial role in this, as it produces many times less CO2 than other means of transport. In order to reach the Green Deal, 75 % of traffic must be shifted to rail.